All Things Food

All posts in the All Things Food category

REBLOG: Why try veganism

Published October 22, 2018 by lynn k scott

Reblogged from Tailored By Megan Taylor.  She puts veganism in perspective and makes some great points without being a “pushy vegan”.

Tailored By Megan Taylor

It’s impossible to ignore the ever-growing popularity of veganism/a plant-based life style. Whether it’s something you’ve tried or are considering trying, there’s so much that we can learn and benefit from when taking on or even just trying veganism. Whether it’s educating yourself on the environmental benefits of veganism, or just creating a vegan version of your favourite (generally un-vegan) meal, there are loads of ways to encourage yourself to make a little change.

Whilst there are so many vegan activists who claim that everyone must become vegan overnight, and whilst to some extent I do think that plant-based living is the way forward, there is no denying that a little change can go a long way. Eating plant-based a couple of days each week for example, or switching to dairy free alternatives in your home,  if every person were to do just one of those things, the effects would…

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Vegan Matar Paneer

Published October 9, 2018 by lynn k scott

I love Indian food.  However, it’s not always gluten-free (cross contamination issues at a restaurant).  I also am doing my best to stick to my vegan diet, especially at home.  That being said, I have noticed a lot of vegan dishes use chickpeas because of the high protein content.

I have several Indian spice shops close to home so I enjoy shopping there for my spices and I also buy organic chickpeas there.  I simply soak them and cook them to add to a variety of dishes.

Last night, as I was labeling and refilling my spice containers, I thought of matar paneer (peas and cheese).  I had considered using tofu as the paneer substitution, but not a huge tofu fan and I didn’t have any on hand.  Then it hit me…CHICKPEAS!

I quickly assembled my ingredients….oil (just a bit), onions, garlic, spices, tomatoes, water, peas and chickpeas.  There might be an ingredient or two missing, but those are primary ingredients.

I quickly whipped of my vegan version of one of my favorite Indian dishes.  As the rest of the family was already having rice with their dinner, I borrowed a scoop to serve with my modified, now vegan dish.

While I do miss the paneer (cheese), the chickpeas work really well as a substitution.  I am looking forward to trying to make more Indian dishes with chickpeas.

matar paneer

Regroup – Refocus

Published October 1, 2018 by lynn k scott

Last week was challenging for me in almost every aspect.  I chose to believe a little cheat on my diet wouldn’t do too much harm.  Add dealing with my mom’s (Heavenly) birthday, dealing with meeting a new PCP (primary care physician) just to get a referral (which is BS in general), exhaustion, choosing to try takeout instead of making food and had a couple alcoholic drinks, I was a mess.

Needless to say, I felt even worse for my stray to my old ways.  My mind, working overtime, took my better judgement and drop-kicked out of the window.  I managed to gluten myself, eat food I knew better to consume or just plain didn’t eat.

Being gluten-free and (mostly) vegan, it’s not easy to just grab a snack.  I need to carefully plan my meals and snacks.  I tried to pretend I didn’t need to.  I know better than to think like that.

Yesterday, we got out of town, for the day, and went to Roseville.  It’s a city past Sacramento and where we eventually want to move to.  We chose to let Yelp choose where we would eat lunch.

I found this little gastropub, called The Brickyard.  It offered a bit of everything.  However, I was super excited to see they offered Beyond the Meat (vegan) and had gluten-free buns.  I could have sworn a light from above was shining on me and I heard the angels singing.  I have yet to find a restaurant where I don’t have to modify the food or just stick to a salad.

After a bit of confusion on malt vs balsamic vinegar for my salad (had to explain why I couldn’t have the malt vinegar) one of the staff and I were talking.  She was a complete stranger who completely validated my health concerns, eating a vegan diet and homeopathic care as she personally had experience in this are.

She is controlling her own illness through diet.  It was what I needed; understanding when most people aren’t.   I wasn’t a “problem customer” to her.  She was  someone who hasn’t seen me struggle or was taking pity on me.

My husband, at one point said, “you’ve cheated before, just eat the dressing”.  I had to remind him how sick I was last week and I can’t continue that behavior.  He goes along with my eating habits for the most part.  Although, I will eat eggs now because he was worried about my protein levels.  It wasn’t worth the nutritional argument.  It was his way of showing concern.  A couple eggs won’t hurt my diet.

We went shopping last night.  I bought food to prepare and more veggies.  Prepped all my meals today.  I even broke out the juicer and made some (mostly) carrot and pineapple juice.  I drank several cups.  It was if my body was saying, “ahhhh….that’s the stuff!”

Needless to say, I’ve regrouped and now am refocused.  We all fall.  We all have challenges.  We can let them break us or we can get fortify our mind, bodies and souls.  We can use that fortitude to help others when they stumble.

 

Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts

Published September 18, 2018 by lynn k scott

In my goal to be a good, ok, better vegan, I am trying vegetables and foods I never thought I would eat.  On the list of intimidating foods I don’t typically eat are brussel sprouts.

I made them a couple weeks ago in the oven.  They were ok.  Nothing to write home (or on a blog) about.

When I was at church this past week, someone mentioned making them in the air fryer.  Now why didn’t I think of that?  I use the air fryer for almost everything!

As it would happen, I purchased another bag of brussel sprouts a few days ago.  Their health benefits outweigh my desire to forego eating them.  I decided to give it a go in my air fryer.

I quartered the large pieces and halved the tiny ones.  I used a tiny bit of olive oil (maybe two teaspoons – max).  A sprinkle of salt, pepper and a dash of paprika.  I put them in a single layer in the air fryer.  Set the temperature to 400 degrees fahrenheit and cooked them for 8-10 minutes.

They turned out perfectly!  Nice and crispy.  I did drizzle about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on them after they were done cooking.

I highly recommend using the air fryer for these little cabbage-like veggies.  You can’t go wrong if you do.

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Review: The Beyond Burger

Published August 24, 2018 by lynn k scott

It’s been about a month now; give or take.  I have been on a primarily vegan diet to treat my colon cancer.  I juice a lot, follow a gluten-free (did that before cancer) and now a vegetarian, if not vegan diet.

veggies

I would say that about 95% of my food intake is vegan.  I never thought I could give  up cheese.  Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be.  Since changing my diet, I have had goat cheese 4 times and feta cheese twice.  Not too shabby.  I occasionally will have either fish or shellfish.

I have also given up dairy and eggs, in addition to red meat, chicken and pork.  I will occasionally do honey; but limit natural sugar.  I rarely have any refined sugar these days.  My daughter always wanted a rabbit to join the family.  She will just have to accept me as a surrogate bunny.

Onto the review…

I saw a blog post about “The Beyond Burger” about a month ago about this alternative meat.  As soon as I read about it, I knew I had to try it as soon as it was available.

Earlier this week, when I was doing the weekly grocery shopping, I happened to stumble upon it.  It was nestled in the meat department, right about the ground beef.  I picked up a package to try, picked up pre-made burgers for the family (rarely do that) and was EXCITED to try it for dinner.

Last night, I cooked up their burgers in one pan and made my “burger” in cast iron pan.  They had a perfect sear to them.  The “burgers” are primarily made of pea protein and beets.  I have had pea protein milk before.  It’s a great dairy-free alternative.  However, it tends to be a bit more expensive then, say, almond or cashew milk.

I wish I had taken pics of the “burgers” before I added the avocados.  I opted to forgo the vegan cheddar cheese.  I didn’t put them on a bun, as I didn’t have gluten-free ones available and didn’t feel like going the lettuce wrap route.

While the “burger” didn’t taste like read meat, it “bleeds” while cooking because of the beets in it.  They are also a bit smaller than what I would call a traditional burger size.

A bonus for me is they have 30% of the recommended daily volume of protein.  I am continually anemic from my cancer.  To say, I love this plant-based option, wouldn’t be an understatement.  My husband and daughter thought I was nuts when I was so happy about my dinner.  You can read more about the nutritional content here.

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I topped the “burgers” with avocado and dipped each bite in a bit of mustard.  I love mustard and I use it whenever I can.  I really enjoyed the taste.  I cooked it with just a bit of salt and pepper.  Nothing complicated.  I made vegan mashed potatoes.  The family wanted fries, which I made them in the air fryer for them, but I wanted mashed potatoes.

I don’t often buy pre-made meals for myself.  However, this is one option I will definitely do.  It makes prepping dinner a bit easier on my busy nights.

If your family does a meatless Monday or you’re trying to cut back on red meat, I would invite you to give this option a try.  I think this is now one of my new favorite foods.

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Homemade Pesto

Published August 3, 2018 by lynn k scott

I made homemade pesto yesterday.  You only need a few ingredients for a wonderful sauce that can be added to pasta, sandwiches, salads, etc.  I can’t give exact measurements, as I tend to cook by sight and taste versus actual quantities.

As I am embracing a primarily vegan diet (usually about 75% of the time), this recipe works perfectly for that.  I know someone is thinking, ‘what about the cheese?’.  I have a response for that.  You can either omit it or you can substitute nutritional yeast.  It has a pseudo-Parmesan cheese flavor.  I will admit, I forgot to include the nutritional yeast in the picture.

In addition to being vegan, it’s also raw and gluten-free.  It’s full of flavor and blends up in seconds.

You can choose to lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes or just buy them already toasted (what I did).

You can try this basic recipe or Google other pesto recipes.  It’s usually made with basil, however, I’ve seen a multitude of substitutions as well.

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Ingredients:

  • Basil
  • pine nuts
  • garlic clove(s)
  • nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese; for the non-vegans)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

Place all the ingredients into a food processor.  Blend (or pulse) to a smooth consistency.  Make sure to scrape down the sides as you go.  Either add to pasta that’s already cooked or store in the refrigerator to use at another time.

There is no need to heat the pesto sauce.  Hot pasta will actually warm it up. It’s a nice alternative to marinara or pizza sauce.

 

Can it!

Published July 31, 2018 by lynn k scott

Several years ago, I reacquainted myself with the soon-to-be lost art of canning food.  While I am definitely no expert, I’ve managed to can all sorts of food.

I have been a bit lax on canning while I’ve been dealing with my health, the time for resuming preserving food is at hand.  Over the last few days, I have made and canned vegetable broth and tomatoes.

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The vegetable broth is really a piece of cake.  I take the veggies I have, whether from storing them in the freezer or from the fridge, cut them up, put them in the crockpot, add some filtered water and cook on low for 10 hours.  Remove the veggies, drain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and some cheese cloth and then canning commences.  If you’re into composting the cooked veggies can be composted.

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The tomatoes, on the other hand, are one of the most tedious items to can (imho).  Yet, there are so many options for canning them.  For this particular canning, I chose to use remove the tomato peel by blanching the tomatoes in boiling water.  Then the tomatoes go into ice water to stop the cooking process.

After removing the skin, I rough chop the tomatoes and place in a blender and pulse it a few times.  I complete several batches of this and all the tomatoes are placed in a pot and brought up to temperature so then can be ladled into hot jars and canned.

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I have a pressure canner, which I can double as a water-bath canner.  At one point, I had both, but it took up a lot of space.  I will note that certain foods (normally acidic, jams, jellies) use a water bath while other foods require the use of a pressure canner (stocks, vegetables, meat, soups).

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With my change in diet and for the health of my family, I will work at diligently canning more foods to have on hand.  I typically only can what we eat within a year (typical shelf life of home-canned goods).  It’s a great way to use seasonal fruits and vegetables, while they are affordable.  I love opening a can of tomatoes in November that I canned in the summer.  You can still smell the vine.

 

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