The vegie bar

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It was  late, we had a late night shopping trip at Ikea, and we wandered around looking for a vegan pizza place that no longer exists.  So we opted for a trip to The Vegie Bar.

The Vegie bar has several vegan options, we decided on a Vegan Pizza, Vegan Nachos, and a Vegan “Chicken” wrap.  The food was hot and fresh and delicious.

We even tried some interesting juices-freshly squeezed.  I had the pick 6 option, so I chose Apple, Carrot, Parsley, Spinach,and Mint, A had a juice made from Apple, Watermelon and cranberry.  Mine tasted very green, but was good none the less.

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Restaurant Review: Holy Moley Cafe

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Since being Vegan, we are finding it difficult to find places to eat out, and as much as I like cooking, some days I just want someone else to cook and do the dishes.  What we have discovered is cafes and restaurants that are off the beaten path, but we have yet to be disappointed.  Holy Moley Cafe is no exception.

The cafe is clean, and brightly coloured with a wonderfully friendly staff, they know just about everyone’s name that comes in and their typical order.  They have been open for just over three years and have a steady flow of customer traffic.  They have many vegan options to suit a variety of tastes.

While I waited for my husband to arrive for lunch, we had a nice conversation about Australian Football, the North Carolina Wolly Worm festival and American soda–which they also stock.  I had a lovely Dr. Pepper, which was a nice treat.

We enjoyed reasonably priced vegan fare, and the Peanut butter joy milkshake was so good I could drink my weight in it.

 

late night dinner foraging at the grocery store

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Times like these when I have a late appointment in the city, and I worked until 7pm, and I am trying to find something to eat are hard.  I knew there wouldn’t be any restaurant close to where I was headed that would actually have anything I can eat, but sometimes the grocery store is just as bad.  I really wanted a take away food item I could pop in the microwave and have my own personal meal before the meeting started at 8:15.  I ended up with chocolate soy milk on a trial size box of cereal with a side of some veggie chips, I am surprised how much prepackaged food contains the faint little animal ingredients I am trying to avoid.  I think I need a company to come to Australia and make my grocery store foraging dreams come true.

Maple Walnut Pancakes

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I have been craving breakfast/brunch type foods, tonight was no exception.  When I got home I thought I would just cook up some of the blueberry pancakes my dear sister in law had made, but there was only enough mix for one pancake.  I knew that wasn’t going to do for hubby and I, but we were out of blueberries, so I wasn’t sure what my next course of action was.

I thought about making Perfect Pancakes from “Vegan Brunch” so I started out, only I wanted them Maple-y-er.  So I swapped out the Maple Syrup for a tablespoon of sugar and two teaspoons of Maple extract.  Everything else was pretty standard, I also added nutmeg and cloves.  I opened up the cabinet and found chopped walnuts–this was getting better and better. I just sprinkled the nuts in after i first put the batter in, then a few more on top just for kicks!  One day when Bananas are more reasonable than $10/kg here I will buy some and slice them up with this.

Huevos rancheros

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Anybody else ever get a craving for this? I do on a regular basis, back when I lived in the states there was a gem of a diner a few blocks from my house, and even though I can’t handle crowded restaurants I braved the Saturday brunch crowd just for the warm spicy gooey black beans and salsa on top of fluffy eggs.

I admitted in an earlier post my fear of tofu, the other night I made some tofu bacon, and it was really salty–disappointingly so, I just never imagined one little piece of tofu could soak up all that marinade. So I abandoned that, even though I had a whole slab of un marinated tofu shaved into bacon thin strips, so i just slammed it in the freezer and decided I would deal with it later.  For some reason it kept calling to me from the freezer so I decided to shut it up once and for all!

First I thought I need a good base, so I grated potatoes and sweet potatoes and put those in the oven to get all hashbrown-y, I may have unintentionally added animal product when grating the potatoes as my fingers tips are missing bits of skin–oops, at least I was the only animal harmed, and not enough to actually bleed or prevent me from typing right now.  oh and I actually put the black beans on first, since I was lazy and didn’t soak them, you could use canned black beans and it would shorten your time immensely.  So the potatoes went into the oven with some Olive oil and some kind of salty seasoning mix I had in my cabinet.

Then onto the tofu.  It was still frozen, so i tried to just break off pieces, but that only worked a little, I took the knife too it and just hacked off little chunks, threw them frozen into a non stick pan on the stove with a wee bit of olive oil.  Put a lid on it.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I grabbed some fresh herbs from my garden; sage, thyme, parsley, about a handful and chopped that up, mixed it with a spoonful of minced garlic from the jar in the fridge, a dash of liquid smoke and about 5 shakes of soy sauce, a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, onion powder, some veggie stock.  I wanted it to be liquidy but I didnt want the mishap of the tofu bacon so i added water to stretch it.  The tofu was just about un-frozen, and the skillet was getting kinda sizzle-y.  so i poured the concoction and recovered the tofu to let it simmer in it for a few minutes.

The beans were just about done, I always wait til the end to season my beans, if you put salt in too soon, it inhibits their ability to be soft.  So i added a couple tablespoons of molasses, some liquid smoke, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano from the garden.  I like my beans pretty sweet, so i added a little brown sugar ( I think maybe a little too much, but they were tangy sweet against the salty tofu in the end) just before they were done I threw in some frozen corn, for added vegetable content and to cover the fact that traditionally Huevos Rancheros is served with corn tortillas, mind you it’s also served with eggs, but this is my kitchen and I will do as I please!

Topped it off with some store bought salsa, maybe this year I will make my own, since my herbs are doing so nicely and my peppers have started to sprout and this week the tomatoes get potted, but for now, store bought is ok. Finished just in time for the hubby to get home from Uni, famished as usual, he enjoyed his in wrap form.

Hi I’m Vegan and I am misunderstood…

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My first experience with Veganism was a cupcake recipe my sister-in-law sent me in the mail.  My dad’s comment was “normal cupcakes don’t have meat?”  He obviously had no clue what being vegan meant.

When I tell people that we are vegan, I get this weird puzzled look, like “where do you get your protein from when you only eat Salad?”  I figure that’s a clear sign that most omnivores have never thought more of the vegetable than frozen peas or a salad.  Maybe that’s a big assumption, but I know that is exactly how I thought.

I think another obstacle is weird ingredients, honestly, tofu still scares me a lot.  We have all had a bad tofu experience.  Nutritional Yeast looks like fish food to me, and I didn’t even know where to begin to find it.  Now it’s just a common everyday food item.  Soy milk is not a milk substitute, its a non dairy beverage that can be used in recipe’s but I still wouldn’t dip my cookie into it.

Of course I am familiar with some odd ingredient, previous to being vegan, I had tasted insects and even contemplated where I would source my insects for my cooking.  So when I brought my chocolate coffee coconut cupcakes to a women’s weekend with my church the first question I was asked was “Are their bugs in it?”  I was trying to avoid the Vegan word because I think sometimes people get weirded out by it (see above).  I assured them that no animals were harmed in making them, but since they didn’t think insects counted and I was just being sneaky, they persisted in asking.  I finally said they are vegan, no butter, no egg, no milk.  Of course then they thought they were tofu with chocolate frosting, so needless to say I got to take several of them home to enjoy myself.

As much as food is about enjoyment, I think there is a place for putting aside our “appetites”.  Practicing an area of self control, something vegans are familiar with everyday.  I miss a gooey melty cheese, but I don’t miss supporting a cruel commercial milk production.  I miss being able to stop and grab a snack from 7-11 but I don’t miss all the unhealthy junk I would have consumed.  I am not saying I am enlightened or perfect and how saintly I am that I am giving up eating animals and animal products, I am saying life is about more than appetite,  it’s about more than thinking of our own desires and what we want and serving ourselves.

Originally I didn’t know where the journey of Veganism would go for us.  We started a three week trial to be healthier, and since then the creativity of food has opened up to me, and ingredients I wouldn’t have tried are now on the menu.  We are thinking about a global society, how our choices affect animals, and other human beings and the world we live in.  We aren’t passing judgement on others, and if our choice makes you feel bad, maybe you should explore why you feel this way instead of blaming us.  Everybody needs to make the choice on how they will live their life.  I am saddened by how blind I was to the effect of my choices, for so long I didn’t want to think about the connection between a slab of beef on Styrofoam in plastic wrap and a confined cow and a large commercial farm that feeds who knows what to these cows and then dumps the waste of the whole process into our environment.  I haven’t done a lot of research and that’s what bothers me, it doesn’t take too much digging to find there is more to the story than what the dairy industry, what the meat industry have been feeding us literally and figuratively.

When I was 16 I went into the hospital with severe abdominal pain, after much testing and missing heaps of school, it turns out it was gall bladder disease, and my gall bladder was full of stones, the doctors said, “It’s hereditary, your mom had her gall bladder removed…”  I didn’t know any better, I was 16, I ate salad for a month while I awaited surgery, and my health improved, by the time of surgery I wondered if I even needed surgery at all, but I was trusting the doctors.  I often wonder if we had eaten a diet rich in plants and plant products instead of meat and animal products if things would have been different.  My mom is recovering from Breast Cancer, her mom died of complications from Cancer, I want to stop the cycle.  Dad’s side isn’t much better, heart attacks and bowel ailments, my dad the guy that thinks a meal isn’t a meal unless there is some kind of animal on the plate.  There has got to be something to this.  As we talk of starting a family, I want the best health for me and my husband and our children, I want them to have a fighting chance.