About Me

I am a wife, work at home Mom, homeschooler to my 5 year old son, diaper-changer to my twins who will be 1 in October, Domestic Diva, Artist, & Chinese Medicine Practitioner ... who just happens to be Vegan ! I will be using the blog as much as I have time for as an outlet to vent, exclaim victory, and share family stories of events involving food. It's tough being Vegan in a Non-Vegan world ... even more tough living in Houston, Texas. Join me in sharing ideas, tips, recipes, etc. to make our lives a bit easier !

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two Words ... Vegan Marshmallows

Long before the thought even entered my mind that it was about time I make the transition from Vegetarian to Vegan marshmallows were off limits due to the gelatin used to make them.

There was a short period of time in my early college days when I went on a "marshmallow bender" and ate as many as I could ... the giant puffy kind ... that swell in your stomach and make you beg for mercy once they have stewed there for a while waiting to be digested ! Ah, the ignorance of youth.

This also reminds me of a couple years later -- after transferring from my Community College to a University. On a pit-fire excursion for ceramics class I was tempted by marshmallows dancing on twigs in the crackling fire ... that charred exterior with the molten insides that I remembered from childhood dangling there and calling my name. As I had the PETA fact sheets playing through in my head I also had my (rather charming) professor taunting me ... "just ONE marshmallow? How long has it been since you've had a marshmallow? Oh, wouldn't it be awesome after all this time!" Be it the crush I had on him, the lateness of the hour, or just simply being human I ate the bruleed morsel and felt a moment of ecstasy ... followed by a rush of regret. Yes, I am still talking about food here and yes it was "just a freakin' marshmallow" I didn't 'fell' a deer or anything but to me it was just as bad. All of that work supporting my 'cause' for what? I quickly let myself off the hook for the event -- I was human after all. My only veggie friend at the time came to the pit armed with veggie dogs and mangled coat hangers so that we too could participate. Good times!

All of this rambling brings me to present day when such a thing exists as a VEGAN MARSHMALLOW sans gelatin. They must be refrigerated, are a bit pricey, and the cost of shipping is rather cost-prohibitive but alas they exist. This elusive Vegan mallow can be difficult to get your hands on ... to my knowledge there are 2 brands only - one air puffed version & one gourmet/homemade style. The later was found on a recent trip to Whole Foods Market in the refrigerator case between goat's milk yogurt and a kefir drink so it's amazing that I even stopped to look at the little squares of goodness because at first glance (given their location) I thought they were a farmer's cheese or paneer of some sort. There was no price tag to be found but I knew they would be around $6 and justified the purchase as my "treat" for the week. Now, trying to explain to a 5 year old boy who has never tasted a marshmallow before that he can only have ONE is a whole other story for another blog entry. :)

Sweet & Sara (R) makes the luscious homemade/gourmet style Vanilla Marshmallow I speak of . Though I have not had the opportunity to try the air puffed variety they are made by Chicago Soydairy and are called Dandies Vegan Marshmallows. I found them online while drooling over the junk-food offerings at Food Fight! Vegan Grocery.

I am excited to make some Vegan S'mores with my oldest son later today!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fun With Food !

No, my life is not ALL about food but I am a self-proclaimed "foodie" so it's a pretty significant portion of my daily routine. :) I have been having lots of fun with food since my last entry ... I should have taken better mental notes though because some of it is escaping me at the moment. I will start with this morning and work my way back ... or try to anyway. ;)

A recent thumbing-through of old PETA materials brought a few dark horse products to light for me ... things at the regular old mega mart that I wouldn't normally look twice at ... pizza crust in a tube being one of them.

1.) This morning I pulled out the Pillsbury Original Pizza Crust, unrolled it , pressed it out a bit, and brushed it with melted Earth Balance. Then I sprinkled on a mixture of cinnamon + sugar that I keep on hand for toast, rolled it up, sliced it into rounds, and placed it on my Silpat lined baking sheet. :) After about 25 minutes at 350 degrees I had my very own cinnamon rolls ! Yes, they were simple and less nutritious than other breakfast foods but they were nostalgic ... memories of making cinnamon rolls from scratch with my Grandma Gobin flooded my mind. Other than the time and labor involved in the original these were also not laden with lard. :)

2.) Recently we used the Pillsbury Thin Pizza Crust for making pizza as a family. My FAVORITE pizza sauce (hands down) is Muir Glen ! I hate to even admit it but until we discovered theirs my favorite pizza sauce was one that came in a kit ... you know the one with the chef on the box. ;) Sad but true. Anyway, we made a simple one with just "cheese" and one with 1/2 pineapple + 1/2 mushroom,olive, and fresh basil with garlic. So so so YUMMY ! Our oldest son (and the only one old enough for pizza) likes pizza that has "orange & white cheese" so we used both the Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet(R) Mozzarella style and Cheddar style blocks which I threw into the food processor to shred. Everyone enjoyed it more than words can express! Yes, we could have gone to the new pizza place that offers Vegan pizza but we would have missed out on the bonding experience ... and our wallets would be much lighter. :)
3.) We had a friend and her son over three times since my last post, once for a snack and twice for dinner. She is in transition from a healthier version of the "standard American diet" to a Vegetarian diet. In this time of change I feel it's important to support her ! So, we had meals that are easy.

The first meal was pasta with sun dried tomato pesto & olive/mushroom tapenade (super-quick in the food processor) with broccoli romanesco and garlic bread. I am drooling thinking about how tasty it was !

The second was a simple meal of spring rolls (purchased at Costo) with a few dipping sauces and an Asian spinach salad with edamame, sliced almonds, and mandarin orange segments with a soy-ginger dressing. YUMMY !
To break the ice (food wise) on our first play date I made the very best peanut butter cookies I have ever tasted ... and they were Vegan. Even my husband who doesn't eat cookies ate 3 or 4 !

I used the recipe I found on the Earth Balance site and just added peanut butter chips. Between 3 adults and 2 little cookie monsters we ate 2/3 of the cookies that afternoon ... and the remaining dozen were split between my cookie jar and a goodie bag for the road. :)

That's all I can think of for now but you better believe it's a daily joy to discover awesome shortcuts to incredible Vegan edibles !