Friday, March 28, 2008

All Hail Pure Unadulterated Food P0rn

(aka. Things I Done Ate But Don't Have Recipes for and Don't Feel Like Talking About Because YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!)

A vegan elephant ear from Mustard Seed

Spinach-Noodle Something-Something

Vegan "Sausage" 'Za

Citrus Stirfry with Weird Bean-Curd Knots That I Did Not Like

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Trader Joe's

Figured some of you might find this useful:

Trader Joe's Vegan Products

Garrick's Thin Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a cookie.

His name is Morris.

Say hello to Morris.

Hello, Morris!

Morris is very tasty, though he was a little bit confusing to bake because some of his directions were slightly vague.

The long and short of it is if you want Morris to turn out DELIGHTFULLY toffee-like, make SURE you let him bake until his edges are a crispy golden-brown. He will FEEL squishy nonetheless, but as long as he looks like his edges are crisped-up, you will be good to go.

If you DON'T cook him until his edges are crisp, he'll just taste like a regular ol' chocolate chip cookie.

But if you obey these orders, you will end up with a pleasantly caramelly-chew-like cookie that will please everyone (except for Morris when he ends up in your tumbly).

  • 2 & 1/4 c. unsifted all purpose flour

  • 1 c. softened (not melted) vegan margarine

  • 3/4 c. sugar

  • 3/4 c. brown sugar

  • 2 T. applesauce

  • 1 t. baking soda

  • 1 t. salt

  • 1-2 t. vanilla extract

  • 9 oz. (a little over a cup) vegan chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar, sugar, vanilla, applesauce and margarine until it has a somewhat smooth texture. Slowly add flour mixture in and mix until smooth and thick. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop out dough with a tablespoon and place onto lined baking sheets. The dough should be more like thick batter, and when you spoon it onto the cookie sheet (I use parchment paper) they will already be pretty flat. [I did not find this to be the case, so I was kind of confused. Any which way your dough comes out, just roll with it. It'll be ok.]

Bake for around 7 minutes. They should still look kind of doughy in the center when you take them out, only mind the edges. [IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT! Make SURE the edges are a golden-brown and look sort of crispy. Otherwise you will not get the delightful toffee-like caramel-chew-esque texture.] As you let them cool the middle will solidify more into a toffee-like crispy/chewy texture.

(Recipe from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk)

Question of the Month

Oh, look at what a shit I am. You guys give me perfectly wonderful questions, and I just go ahead and post my own instead.


Have no fear: This question idea just popped into my head this morning, so I've decided to use it. But keep posting question suggestions here, and I promise I'll use some of them over the next few months.

Right on, brothasisters.

This month's question of the month is sort of going to be in your hands anyways, because YOU'RE GONNA ASK ME the questions, and I will answer them as truthfully as possible and to the best of my ability.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd GO!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

!! Question of the Month !!

Suggestions for a new Questions of the Month, please. Because right now, it's sorta become the Question of the 88 Days.

Easy Mac n' Cheeze

I've been lazing it up again with the recipe posting, mostly just because I've just NOT been feeling funny at all, at least in the way of food. And that's my shtick, babies. Orange-feces-talk and funniness. What would this blog be without the two?

Unfortunately the streak continues ("unfunny streak," not "poo-streak"). But I post this recipe today nonetheless, lest the masses rise up against me for playing hooky for too long.

Nooch. I loves it. I loved it even when I wasn't vegan. I know that it's a love-hate thing with many veg*ns, but damn, folks--it is a good source of Vitamin B12, so LEARN TO LOVE IT.

So when I was reading SusanV's intro to her easy mac n' cheez, I realized how very unpicky I am about vegan mac n' cheez. And that's because I loves the nooch.

Then again, I know many of you DON'T loves the nooch, and for that, I think you should be bent over and spanked until you LEARN TO LOVE IT.

Point being (yes, there IS a point somewhere in here): I'm probably not the best judge of vegan mac n' cheezes, because I've never really tasted one that I've not liked.

NONETHELESS, there are definitely some recipes that stand out amongst the plethora of vegan mac n' cheez recipes out there, one of which is the infamous creamiest mac n' cheez ever, of which I've only ever read positive reviews.

And I must say: I really really liked SusanV's Easy Mac n' Cheez quite a bit as well, I think mainly because of the clever addition of tahini, which adds a nutty and rich depth of flavor to the sauce. And the fun thing is, once you get the general base for your mac n' cheez, you can tinker away with the spices to get it right for you. (My favorite thing to do--as you can see from the pic--is to sprinkle crushed red pepper onto my macaroni n' cheez to give it a zingy kick. I also think I added in a little bit of soy sauce as well.)

So yes: good basic recipe. Try it. Learn to love the nooch.


  • 1 pound pasta (regular or gluten-free)

  • Blend together:

  • 1 1/4 c. water

  • 1 c. plain, fat-free soymilk (may use other non-dairy milk)

  • 3/4 c. nutritional yeast

  • 3 T. cornstarch or potato starch

  • 1 T. lemon juice

  • 1 t. salt (or more to taste)

  • 1/2 t. garlic powder

  • 1 t. onion powder

  • 1/2 t. dry mustard

  • 1/2 t. smoked (or regular) paprika

  • 1/2 t. turmeric

  • pinch cayenne pepper

  • 2 T. tahini

  • 1 t. mellow white miso (or additional salt)

  • black pepper to taste


Put the pasta on to boil, according to package directions. While it's cooking, blend all remaining ingredients together in a blender. (I am now realizing that I didn't do this--I just blended them all together with a spoon in the pot. Works just as well.) When the pasta is al dente, drain it, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and return the pasta to pan. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Add a little of the pasta water if more moistness is needed.

If the sauce is not as flavorful as you'd like, add a little more mustard and onion powder.

(Recipe from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Clevelanders Ho!

Looks like there's gonna be a vegan brunch on Saturday, and I'm hoping to drag my ass out with a friend or two. If anyone else is planning on going, give me a shout in my comments section (or drop me an email--yes, I've now included an email link, but you're gonna have to figure out where it is yourself, my foxes), and perhaps we'll be nice and let you eat with us, in all our awesome pot-bellied glory.

Also brought to my attention this weekend is the existence of the indubitable and indomitable Now That's Class Club/Lounge, dishing up the punk, vegan-style. So you best check them out as well, if you know what's good for you.

[Click each for a bigger version]

Thanks, Crystin, for the head's up!
Ain't nothing better than coming into work on your "Monday" to find out that not only did someone bring you in a piece of vegan banana bread, but another person (that you shared a vegan recipe with last week) brought you in a slice of vegan mocha cheez-cake as well.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pumpkin Leek Soup

This soup is SO f-ing simple it'll blow your mind.

And mother of god is it just LUSH with sweet, velvetty flavor.

And it has leeks. And we all know my feelings on leeks. *Toes curling, ears smoking, nips shooting flames*

I highly recommend.

  • 1.5 T. olive oil

  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 c.)

  • 1 small Russet potato, chopped (about 1 c.)

  • 1 t. dried sage

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 T. flour

  • 4.5 c. vegetable broth

  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree

  • 3/4 c. sweet potato puree

  • salt/pepper to taste

  • red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1-2 leeks, chopped and rinsed

  • 1 T. olive oil


Heat the olive oil in a large pot, then add the garlic, onion, potatoes, salt, and herbs. Saute over med-high heat until the vegetables begin to caramelize. Add the flour and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Pour in the broth and boil for about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and blend the soup until creamy (ideally with an immersion blender). I left the skins on for added nutrition, but you can skin your potatoes first for a creamier soup.

Stir in pumpkin and sweet potato and simmer for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. I added about 1/4 tsp. of pepper flakes for a pinch of heat.

Saute the leeks in olive oil with a pinch of salt, until they just begin to caramelize.

If you will be eating the soup immediately, before serving, sprinkle the leeks over each bowl. Otherwise you can just add the leeks to the soup and mix 'em up. (That's what I did, and it's why I bumped up the quantity of leeks as well.)

(Recipe from Veglicious)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


So I got memed again by not just one but TWO of you cute little deviants *rwor*. A meme-licious threesome, you might say. I feel like such a naughty naughty girl. *Bending over slowly so my underpants show*

Alas, it's a meme I've already done. But because I love you, you cute little deviants, I answer it anyways. And since two of you tagged me, I'm gonna give you not just five but TEN interesting tidbits about myself.

However, only six of the ten tidbits are true. The other four are filthy, filthy lies.

And because I am evil, you will have to figure out which is which on your own. Enjoy.

  • I was aired on the Robin Swoboda's This is Life morning show buying bagels at the WSM, and the clip is now on-line. I do not like Robin Swoboda. I think she has been sent to Cleveland TO DESTROY FEMINISM. Thus, I was none too pleased.

  • For three summers in a row, I spent a week camping and topless in the Michigan woods.

  • A few months ago, I was at a wedding, and I got drunk enough that I let a groomsman eat a piece of wedding cake off my belly.

  • I want to have House, MD's babies and have recently had two sexy dreams about him. *growr*

  • I don't actually cook. Every single one of these blog entries for the past two years has been full of falsehoods and creative fictions.

  • One of my daily reads is the MISSED CONNECTIONS section of craigslist. They make me laugh. They make me roll my eyes. They make me sad that people are so lonely. And, despite all this, they make me hope to one day unexpectedly stumble across one that makes me go, Hey! That's me!!

  • There is not one person that works for my place of employment that I would sleep with if given the chance.

  • One of my all-time favorite songs is Warrant's "She's My Cherry Pie."

  • I have a slightly-receding hairline.

  • My middle name is Glove. My mom unfortunately let my sister pick it out.
As I've said before, I don't drive-by meme people. But if you stumble across this and feel the urge, consider yourself tagged.

Oh, and a spin of the pasties to the folks at A Vegan Life and Vegan Chicks Rock for the awesome threesome meme-invitation.

Whiskey Peanut Fudge

I don't know whether it's technically against work-policy to be nibbling on these booze-laced goodies, but right now I DON'T CARE!!! <--- That's no doubt the whiskey talking.

Anyways, I whipped these up on the weekend so that I could take them with me to school a) in honor of St. Patty's Day, and b) because we had two sets of serious, hardcore, ass-whooping, last-semester midterms yesterday, and I figured if C (the only other person in both my classes) and I consumed enough of these during our lunch-break, we'd find ourselves going into our second midterm MUCH more optimistically. Unfortunately I left them at home in the morning.

So I instead dragged them out with me to the bar last night to celebrate the fact that I WHOOPED my motherf-ing midterms' ASSES.

98% and 97%, babies! How you like THEM apples?!?!

Anyways, I really dig these. But I must admit: I found myself thinking that they're not exactly the consistency of fudge. At least in my fudge-experience. They're more like crumbly chocolate. Then again, maybe the whiskey fumes made me mess 'em up slightly. It's hard to say.

Regardless: They are still damn tasty. Everyone who chowed down on one yesterday loved them. Especially the fact that they're pretty much BURSTING with booze. And they're SOOOOOO very beyond easy to whip up. Which makes them a perfect party-food.

Anyways, a few recommendations: If you're a lightweight *couLAME-ASSgh*, definitely cut back a tiny bit on the whiskey and maybe sub in some water or something, because these babies are "wobbling down the street with only one shoe on and shouting nonsensical insults at passing cars"-booze-laden. I mean, they've got nearly 1/2 c. of booze in them. And that's quite a bit. All that being said, I like 'em that way. So I wouldn't change a thing.

Other tip: DO chop them nuts up pretty well. The bigger the nuts (teehee) the better the chance your chunk of fudge will crumble around the edges. Because where there's nuts, there's not so much fudge-glue going on. I didn't chop mine up because I was being lazy, and they were rather crumbly. (You can see the pock-marks in the pic. You can also see a random cat-hair which I ever so grouchily noticed only AFTER taking these pics. But did I go back and try to figure out what piece of fudge it was stuck to? Heck no. You eat my food, you risk ingesting a bit o' cat hair, you know what I'm saying?)

Also: I couldn't for the life of me find dry roasted, unsalted peanuts. All of the dry-roasted peanuts at my grocery store were salted. And all of them had gelatin in 'em. (Yeah, if you didn't already know that, always double-check any coated-nuts you buy, because many of them have gelatin in them.) So I just settled on some regular salted peanuts, and they worked mighty fine. I suspect the dry-roastiness would compliment the whiskey-flavoring, but sometimes you just have to make do.

So happy belated St. Patty's day, boozers. Now toss on those sunglasses, take a couple aspirins, and drag your hungover ass out to the store so you can nurse yourself back to sober a LITTLE less painfully by nibbling on these the rest of the day.

  • 6 T. whiskey

  • 1 1/4 c. icing/powdered sugar

  • 1 1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips (melt them and cool them down after measuring the amount)

  • 1 c. dry roasted, unsalted peanuts -or- 1 c. salted plain peanuts (chop them after measuring the amount)


prepare an 8×8 baking pan with some parchment paper for minimal cleanup.

whisk your whiskey [ha] together with the sugar. throw in peanuts. add chocolate, stir well.

pour in your prepared baking pan, grab an extra piece of parchment paper and press down with a spatula [or your not-too-warm hands] on top of the extra parchment to level the fudge.

place in fridge for at least a couple of hours.

remove from pan, remove parchment paper and cut your fudge the way it’s never been cut before. the size of the pieces is up to you!

(Original recipe from the very foxy Celine at Have Cake, Will Travel--pleasedonthurtme)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


As I mentioned the other day, Saturday night was Unfried Fried Foods Night. I made the Hot Wingz de Katie. And I also decided to whip up these hushpuppies on the side.

It's been a long time since I've had a hushpuppy.

My grandma used to be a fan of Long John Silver's when I was a little one, and she used to take us there for dinner once in a while. The only thing I ever really adored eating there was hushpuppies. Nice round greasy hushpuppies.

Well, I'm a grease-wuss now apparently, and when I read directions to a recipe that entail heating a deep layer of oil for 15 minutes so you can fry the shit out of said recipe, my stomach turns.

So I baked these instead.

And granted, they're probably not TRUE hushpuppies if they're baked.

And they probably didn't taste as DELICIOUSLY Long-John-Silvery as they would've had I fried them.


I still thought they were tasty (I mixed up some ketchup and nayonnaise and dipped them in that). They were extremely dry however, but I think that is The Nature of the Hushpuppy, truth be told. (Really, the only thing that lends a bit of moisture to a hushpuppy is the thick thick greasy outside sheen anyways.) So if you want hushpuppies that are a bit more moist, fry them. If you don't mind some drier, but healthier, hushpuppies, then oven-toss them. Or maybe just tinker with your moisture-ratios in the initial recipe. Whatever floats your boat.

That's YOUR prerogative.

  • Egg Replacer equivalent of 1 egg

  • 2/3 c. plain soy milk

  • 1 1/4 c. yellow corn meal

  • 1/2 c. unbleached flour

  • 3 t. baking powder

  • 1 t. sugar

  • 1 t. black pepper

  • 1/2 c. minced yellow onion

  • 1/2 c. whole kernel sweet corn

  • 1/4 c. chopped green onion

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional)

  • 1/2 cup soy cheddar cheese (optional)

  • Vegetable oil, for frying


If baking, preheat oven to 400F.

Mix the egg replacer with the soy milk in a large bowl.

Add the yellow corn meal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and pepper to the egg replacer-soy milk mixture. Stir in the onion, corn, green onion, jalapeño, and soy cheese until combined. Form into balls.

If frying:

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until it is 375°F.

Add 4 to 6 hushpuppies to the hot oil (you will need to cook them in several small batches). Cook until golden brown and firm.

Cool on a paper towel. Serve warm.

If baking:

Line a baking sheet with foil and grease it with some olive oil. Toss your hushpuppies onto it and roll them around a little bit so they have some oil all over.

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until cooked through.
Makes 6-8 servings

(Recipe from VegCooking)

Skinny Bitch

Today, in lieu of recipes, we talk. About Skinny Bitch. Because if I don't ramble on about it for at least a LITTLE bit, I may very well implode.

I read this book (and its follow-up, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch) just the other week, after seeing it mentioned several times in veg-related contexts. And I am so a-flutter with mixed feelings about it that I've been desperately trying to find someone else to discuss it with. So please: If you've read it, I'd love to hear some other people's thoughts on it.

Essentially, my problem with the book is this: The book is essentially a book that promotes veganism (by promoting a healthy diet). But it does so by trying to hook in female readers (and buyers) by focusing on the goal of getting us skinny. Not "healthy," but "skinny." Now, I know those of you who've read this book are saying, "But, yes: healthy as well." And you're right. Once you sink your teeth into the book, you can see it's clearly promoting a healthy lifestyle. But from the cover? From the press? From the blurb on the back? From the very first lines of the book: "Are you sick and tired of being fat? Good. If you can't take one more day of self-loathing, you're ready to get skinny"? From comments such as ""Yes, it is challenging to avoid these foods, but you will reap the karmic rewards of being vegan (like being skinny)"?

The focus is skinny. Not healthy. And I don't think that's the best of focuses.

And what pains me about skinniness being the focal point of this book IS THAT THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD STUFF IN THERE. And it's been MADE ACCESSIBLE to the general public. But it's made accessible to the general public with the motive being to promote skinniness, and I have a difficult time endorsing books that are latching on to an unhealthy and overly-simplified (and media-distorted) view of what women should be striving towards.

And yet, the other part of me keeps shouting, "You go, girls!" Because I'm sure this book has succeeded in making quite a few women think twice about what they jam into their bodies. In fact, I actually recommended the book the other day to a woman in one of my classes who was asking me questions about eating vegan and how to eat healthier--and the reason I recommended it to her is because it IS ridiculously accessible, and because of the voice of the book.

I mean, Peter Singer's The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter or John Robbins' Diet for a New America are infinitely better, more thorough, and more well-constructed books about why people should go veg. *BUT* then again, they're not the type of books that most people (and by "most people" I mean mostly "the general, meat-eating public") wants to sink their teeth into over a cup of coffee and a bagel. Most People don't actively seek out books about how the food they're shoving into their bodies is a filthy stinking mess of chemicals, hormones, germs, and dead flesh. In fact, they generally wanna steer clear of that type of reading. They'd rather go on living with the illusion that their food comes from Ronald McDonald's peaceful, harmonious farm, where animals romp around freely, enjoying sun and fresh air.

And that's why I found myself recommending Skinny Bitch instead of either of these other books. Because although the authors are ALSO telling us a whole bunch about how the food we're shoving into our bodies is a filthy stinking mess of chemicals, hormones, germs, and dead flesh, they're doing so under the guise of promoting skinniness. And because the book doesn't outwardly APPEAR to be about about veg*nism and the evils of meat, they're actually able to GET readers to actively sit down and read about all these things over a cup of coffee and a bagel. And that's pretty damn sneaky and cool.

The authors are basically brilliant magicians: They're distracting us over there on the left by shouting about skinniness while on the right, they're secretly pumping us full of anti-meat information, and then TA-DA, they pull that rabbit out of the hat, and we're all like, OOOOOH, and we didn't even notice all that other information they just managed to jam subconsciously into our craniums.

And it's the way the book has been promoted, and the VOICE of the book, that makes them able to distract people from the fact that they're basically telling them "GO VEGAN!"

Anyways: the voice of the book. That's what I want to discuss next. Mother of god if I didn't immediately find myself going "I sure as shit hope I don't sound like that when I yammer and cuss on my blog all the time." Because the voice of the book (the writing-style, it's "in your face" way of talking) got on my nerves almost IMMEDIATELY.

I mean, I like to call people "my bitches" all the time. But that's because you ARE my bitches. But do I like to be reading something that's all "hip" and confrontational AND ACTUALLY REFERS TO ME AS A "LAZY SHIT" AT POINTS? I don't think so. Because you know what: the writers don't know me. And even if I *AM* a lazy shit, I sure as hell don't want someone getting all up in my face about it. Plus, how is that a POSITIVE way to approach things? I mean, please: degrade me and make me feel even shittier and fatter and lazier, because THAT will make me feel LOTS better about myself and motivate me to get skinny.

I mean, understand the Ra-ra cheerleading-thing they've got going on--"You *WILL* get skinnier! You *WILL* get healthier! Be aggressive! B-E aggressive! B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E!" And I get that they're trying to rally up the forces by calling us lazy shits and whatnot. But unless you want me to pin you the hell down and kick the shit out of you, I do NOT want you calling me a lazy shit. Because that is just so fricking negative.

And yet: I am glad in a lot of ways that this book is written with the obnoxious "voice" it has. AND THAT INFURIATES ME!

Why are you glad, you ask? Well, because it DOES give the material a much more casual accessibility. It DOES cheerlead us into wanting to listen to them and get healthy and skinny. And it DOES all this while sneaking in lots of informative tidbits about why you should steer the hell clear of meat and eggs and milk. And that's cool and subversive in a lot of ways.

I mean, when I recommended the book to that woman in my class, it was because my thought process went something like this: "Oh my GOD if I have to hear her squeak and screech one more time about something girlie, I may have to stab myself in the head. But, Lindy Loo, she's asking you about something that you should be gung-ho excited to talk about, so handle it carefully. And hey, wait. Given her personality, I bet she'd TOTALLY dig Skinny Bitch, AND it'll sneakily insinuate some of that anti-meat-eating information into her reading as well. So I'm gonna recommend it!"

Because, you see, that's what's kind of sneakily brilliant about this book. There are a lot of women who will LOVE the voice, in all its obnoxious casualness. There are a lot of women who like to be ra-ra-ra-ed into eating healthier. And if they're encouraged to read this book, they're going to get lots of information drilled into their brains about why you should eat vegan. And I'm all about that.

And it's not done in any sort of Peter-Singer-esque-type way (as brilliant as the man is). It's ridiculously accessible. It's geared towards a certain type of woman (the type that goes out and reads books about getting skinny). And it's written about in such a way that a) it doesn't seem like it's trying to force a veggie diet down your throat, and b) it seems absolutely casual in informing you of all the horrific stuff that goes into your daily diet of meat, cheese, and eggs.

And it's that casualness which I think will convince a lot of women to try eating differently. Because the book's not all cold facts and statistics. And it's not video footage of cows being tortured. (Both of which, unfortunately, can have a tendency to alienate people.) It's the voice of your sister/best friend/mom casually chatting with you about the craziness of meat over a cup of tea. And THAT I think is kind of brilliant.

Not to mention the fact that it has lots of awesome meal-plan ideas. It offers a list of (non-vegan) ingredients to steer clear from. And it promotes lots of veg resources. All good good stuff.

And yet, I'm still hung up on the fact that it doesn't seem to make the connections between the objectification of animals and the objectification of women. That the reason people eat meat without a second thought is that they turn animals into objects in their brains, not making the connection between what's on their plate and where it came from, and when they DO make the connection, blowing it off by treating animals like objects "because they were put on the earth for us to eat." And the reason women have to deal with such bullshit all the time (from abuse to eating disorders to a whole LIST of other garbage) stems from us being viewed as objects as well.

We are the nameless, personality-less body upon which the latest fashions are displayed.

We are the Thing which cooks dinner and takes care of the kids.

We are the hole for men to jam their dicks into.

You get the point.

And latching on to the whole "skinniness" goal is, again, reducing women down to their bodies. Granted, after all the ra-ra-ing and slamming of fat women and calling us lazy shits, the authors DO try to tell us "we're more than just a body." That we're valuable on the insides and all that.

Then again, the way they TELL us this still insinuates that our goal should still be to focus on the state of our bodies, because it is through our bodies that we will attain all other happiness:

"Now that you're a Skinny Bitch, don't turn into a skinny bitch. We conceived of the title, Skinny Bitch, to get attention and sell books. We just wanted to spread our message far and wide and though Skinny Bitch was a good way to do it. But we are not bitches, and we have no desire to promote bitchiness. There is nothing uglier than a pretty woman who's nasty. If you look great, you should feel good about yourself and be happy. Instead of fixating on the last five pounds you want to lose, celebrate the five you already lost. Progress, not perfection. Don't be insecure or competetive or feel threatened by women who are thinner or prettier than you. Be happy for them; it will make you look better. Smile a lot, give compliments out whenever you can, and be nice to everyone. You'll just keep getting prettier and prettier and skinnier and skinnier." (186)

What should we want? To be skinny and pretty!

And that's just a bunch o' crap.

And not exactly healthy to promote in a culture that already spends WAY too much time shoving that shit down our throats:

I'm not saying that that isn't PART of what women want. Even capable, intelligent, independent, in-your-face type women such as many of you and me, my dear readers. It's unavoidable. We want to be liked. And a lot of how we are liked depends on how we are seen. (Both women AND men.) So of course we want to feel pretty.

But again: should we be getting guilt-tripped into some skewed media-whorey image of what our bodies should look like? And be guilt-tripped BY OTHER WOMEN of all things--apparently SMART women who can write books and know a little bit about their veg-shit? Do I want to endorse a book that doesn't REJOICE in the wonderful and beautiful variety of shapes and sizes of women out there? I mean, does this sound RIGHT to you??

So yeah: that's the long and short of it all. This book discusses veganism and all the horrors surrounding meat in an easily-accessible and unconfrontational way. It offers up a lot of good information about veganism, from meal plans, to bad ingredients, to resources. And it's a quick read. And I'm all about that.

And yet, I still find myself wondering: At what cost?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tofu Wingz

I finally *FINALLY* sat my ass down and made the infamous Hot Wingz de Katie this weekend. I was starting to feel like the unpopular kid at vegan school where all the other popular kids are all peer-pressuring me--"If *YOU* do it, you'll be cool too, just like us," "You won't get addicted from just one bite," "Hot Wingz and blowjobs aren't REAL sex"--and so I caved. What can I say? When it comes to vegan food, I'm not real good at standing up in the face of pressure.

Since there was a huge winter storm a-blustering, I settled on using tofu instead of tempeh, you know, so I wouldn't DIE trying to make it to a store just for a stupid block of tempeh. I pressed the tofu for an hour or two, cut it in half width-wise, and then cut each half into triangles. Once they were cut up, I tossed it in the freezer. The next day, I took it out to thaw, and once it was pretty much unfrozen, I pressed it one more time to get out any excess water. From there, I just treated the tofu like tempeh, breading it down the assembly line.

The end result: delish. The breading is an award-winning combo: the thyme gives it a bit of that ol' school chicken-y type flavor. And the sauce is just delectable. (Next time I may add even MORE hot sauce, because mine was surprisingly unspicy, despite what I had thought was a rather large quantity of hot sauce.) Because I was in a weird pseudo-frying mood (cooking junkier food that normally one would fry but choosing NOT to fry it), I also ate these with a side of homemade vegan hushpuppies (recipe forthcoming). It was nice night of little nibbly-foods, and I found myself craving more wingz as I sat and watched a horror movie later on that evening.

BUT I REFRAINED! I REFRAINED! (And then I just cowed down on them the next day instead.)

  • 1 8-oz package of tempeh (or 1 14-oz cube of extra-firm tofu, pressed, cut into triangles, frozen, thawed, and pressed again)

  • 1/3 c. rice/soy milk

  • 1/3 c. flour

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 2 t. thyme

  • 1 t. paprika

  • fresh ground pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 t. garlic powder

  • 2/3 c. panko (or just regular breadcrumbs)

  • Sauce:

  • 4 T. margarine, melted

  • 2 1/2 T. hot sauce

  • 4 T. ketchup

  • 2 T. agave nectar


If you are using tempeh, in a small saucepan, boil about three cups of water. Cut the tempeh into four equal blocks, then cut those blocks into triangles, and carefully slice the triangles in half lengthwise. Put the tempeh in the boiling water and cover, for about fifteen mintes or until tempeh is softened. Pour the pan into a colander and rise with cold water. Allow the tempeh to cool enough that you can handle it.

If you are using the tofu, just make sure you press it, cut it into triangles, and freeze it at least a day prior (I think the longer you freeze it, the more dense and chewy the consistency will be--which is what you're aiming for). Remove it earlier in the day and let it thaw out completely and then press once more.

Make the sauce. In a large pot, combine all of the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Make your assembly line for the wingz. Put your soymilk in the first bowl, your flour and spices in the second, and your panko in the third. At the end of the line, have a greased baking sheet (or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper) waiting.

If you're using tempeh, hopefully by now it's cool enough to handle. Take a triangle of your tempeh or tofu, and dip it in the milk, then coat in flour. Then another quick dip in the milk before thoroughly coating it in the bread crumbs and placing it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the tempeh/tofu.

Spray the tops of the wings with cooking spray, and bake in the oven for ten minutes. Remove, flip over, and bake for ten more.

Just before you take the wings out of the oven, heat the sauce over a medium heat until just warm - there’s no need to boil it, we’re just trying to make sure the sauce isn’t cold.

When you take the wings out, immediately transfer them to the pot and coat in the sauce. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Smoky Refried Bean Soup

(Yes, those are cars in there)

For those of you who don't live in Cleveland: we got a lot of snow this weekend. And by "a lot of snow" I mean that the city was pretty much shut down for 24-hours: roads were impassable, parked cars were completely engulfed in snow, it just kept coming and coming. It was pretty damn awesome.

One of the things I really like about winter in the city is how it makes people bond just a little bit more. I had a couple neighbors help me dig my car out, and I helped push a few cars out myself. I chatted with a few neighbors while leaning on my shovel and musing over the crazy snow. I got to see a little wiener-dog in a hoodie try to bound over to me in about 3-feet of snow only to give up after a few leaps. I got to shovel my ass off until my arm muscles were screaming with crazy energy. And thankfully, the bad weather struck on a weekend, so I was able to enjoy it all without having anywhere I needed to go.

It also made it a damn good weekend to curl up on the couch with some nice, piping-hot soup, as the snow swirled and tumbled outside.

The black bean soup pictured below I didn't actually make this weekend. It's the black bean vegetable soup from Veganomicon, and I must admit: I enjoyed it. It's nice and thick and has a bit of kick to it. And it'll lube up your poop-shoot like MAD! The main reason I picture it below (even though I don't have a recipe to post for it) is that after I first made it, I thought to myself: holy crap--this looks like the polluted sludge that collects at the side of the road after the snow's finally started melting and has been driven through for a few days and just looks hideous and ugly and you can't wait 'til it's gone. So it's fitting, somehow, in lieu of the snow this weekend.

The other soup featured is SusanV's Smoky Refried Bean Soup which I knew I had to make as soon as I saw it. And love it I did. It's SUPER SUPER easy. It's got a nice spicy kick to it. And it's got a nice velvety texture from the refried beans. And did I mention that it's SUPER SUPER easy? Because it is. Like so easy that I was astounded, especially for how numbly it tasted. The only adjustments I made to it are asterisked below--I don't own smoked paprika or chipotle chili powder, and given that I was bunkered down in my apartment for more than 24-hours with nowhere to go, I just used what I had on hand. I figured I'd make up for the lack of smokiness and chipotleness by just throwing a chipotle pepper in instead. And it worked wonders. Enjoy.

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1.5 c. vegetable broth

  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)

  • 15 oz. fatfree refried beans

  • 15 oz. black beans, cooked

  • 1 c. corn kernels

  • 1 t. cumin

  • 1.5 t. paprika*

  • 1 t. chili powder*

  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, diced*

  • 1 t. hot sauce (or to taste)

  • salt and pepper, to taste


Spray a large, non-stick pot with cooking spray, and sauté the onion until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook for one more minute. Add all the remaining ingredients and cook until the flavors blend, 20-30 minutes.

Serving suggestion: Garnish with fresh tomato salsa and serve with baked tortilla chips and a large salad.

(original recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Shelter from the Storm

So the other day, when there was the big ice storm in Cleveland, I bumped into this one stray cat I keep seeing around my house who seems to be living under my neighbor's back porch. She was sitting out on another neighbor's porch, dismally watching ice pellets stinging the ground, her breath sputtering out in tiny little clouds as she curled up with her legs underneath her, trying to retain as much body heat as possible. Feeling bad for her, I brought her a tiny bit of food. My approach made her skittish, and she leapt off to huddle beneath a nearby van. I brought the food over and gently placed it by the back tire, and while she eyed me up carefully, she nibbled away at the food.

This is one of the things that has always bothered me most about living in the city. There are way more strays (both cats and dogs) then there should be. It's to the point that, if I see a dog or cat bustling down the sidewalk without an owner, unless I see an obvious collar, I don't make any efforts to rescue it and find its owner, because more likely than not, it's a stray.

And what's painful about the large population of strays is that you see them ALL THE TIME, but there's not a whole heckuva lot you can do for them. Which is even more heartbreaking when you realize that so many of them are the sweetest animals alive, more than happy to just lavish in even the *tiniest* bit of attention directed towards them.

Feeling a frustrated sense of futility the other day, I wandered around my house grunting in anger at the fact that this poor little kitty was outside in the cold, and there wasn't really anything I could do about it, already having adopted two strays of my own.

Then: ephiphany.

When I first took in *MY* two kitties, I had done a lot of research on the internet about the best way to go about successfully transitioning outdoor cats into (for the most part) indoor cats. And I remember reading about homemade feral kitty shelters. So the other day, I tracked down some websites again and planted the goal firmly in my head that I would pick up supplies on my way home from work and make my own cat shelter.

Because it is really ridiculously simple to make a cat shelter, and because you can do so without burning a hole in your wallet (I spent about $20, but if you already have duct tape at home, and you can find a good deal on rubbermaid containers, you can easily make one for $10-$15), I share the simple directions with you all and urge you to consider making your own.

The supplies you purchase (and the cost) will mainly depend on the size of the rubbermaid container you invest in. I was only able to use a 25-gallon, simply because anything bigger would not have been discrete enough to place in my shared backyard. But if you own your house, and if you're all sorts of gung-ho about the idea of helping shelter feral cats from the cold, there's plenty of 54-gallon-plus rubbermaid containers out there that would make for WONDERFUL shelters.

SUPPLIES (for making a 25-gallon cat-shelter):

  • 1 rubbermaid container (mine was 25-gallons)

  • 4-5 sheets of styrofoam, at least 3/4-inch thick (the thicker, the better)--my sheets were something along the lines of 2'x4'

  • 1 emergency blanket (the kind that looks like foil)

  • Duct tape

  • Straw or shredded newspaper


  • A utility razor

  • Scissors

  • A measuring tape

  • Pencil


Prepping Your Container

Using your utility razor, cut out an entranceway in the long side of the rubbermaid container, at least 3-inches above the ground, and about 6"x6" inches in size. You'll want it be far enough above the ground that the container will not collect water or be infiltrated by snow. You also want to place the entranceway off-center (not smack in the middle), that way once the cat climbs in, it can lay down in an area that isn't directly in-line with the doorway, sheltering itself better from the cold.

Sizing and Cutting Your Styrofoam

Once that is done, start with the floor of the shelter, and measure and cut your styrofoam to fit. You'll also be needing a lid as well (which should be relatively the same size), and I used a double-layer of styrofoam for the floor. So once you get the correct measurements with that first piece, you can cut out two more pieces to that same size (one for the second layer of floor, and one for the lid).

Once you've finished cutting the lid and floor, work on the short-sides of your shelter next. You'll want to measure them out with both pieces of the floor IN, that way your short sides don't end up being too tall. You'll also want to cut these two pieces wide enough to encompass the WHOLE of the short side, and (as with ALL the wall-pieces you cut), you'll want to cut them leaving about 3-inches of space at the top so that both the styrofoam lid AND your rubbermaid lid can fit securely and snugly on.

Once those are cut, continue to keep your floor and short-sided walls in your container and measure out the back wall so that it fits tightly in between the two short walls (and is, again, 3-inches from the top of your container). The piece should be snug enough that you'll have a little bit of difficult sliding into place, that way the seams between all your walls are nice and tight. Once you get your first piece measured out, you can cut two more exactly like that one, one so that you can double-layer the back wall, and one for the front-side of the shelter.

(*Note: Whether you choose to double-layer some or all of your walls will probably depend on the thickness of your styrofoam. As stated, mine was 3/4" thick. Most directions recommend 1" to 2" thick walls, so that's why I doubled many of the layers. However, you may find that doubling ALL the walls doesn't leave enough space in the middle for the cat to actually LAY. So just use common sense.)

You will now want to slide your front piece in place on the side where your door's cut out. Once it's snugly wedged in there, trace the shape of the door into your styrofoam piece. Remove the styrofoam, and CAREFULLY cut out your door with your utility razor.

Wallpapering With Your Emergency Blanket

You have now successfully cut out all your styrofoam pieces, so on to the next step, which is cutting out your emergency blanket to "wallpaper" your walls. (Technically, you can go without the emergency-blanket wallpapering system, if you're unable to locate one to use. *BUT* the perk to using this as wallpaper is that it will reflect the cat's body-heat back onto itself, creating a nice little warm cat-oven.)

To do this, I unwrapped the emergency blanket completely. I then took each of the walls, placed it on the blanket, and cut out a piece of blanket SLIGHTLY larger than the wall (by a couple inches on every side). (If you are double-layering a wall, you'll probably wanna add on an extra couple inches on each side to account for the added width.) Using the miracle of duct tape, stretch the blanket so it's fairly taut across the one side, and tape the edges up on the other side until all four sides have been taped to the styrofoam. (Basically, your wall will have one side that's completely covered in emergency blanket and another side that's mostly just duct tape and patches of exposed styrofoam.) Do this for each of your walls, including your entrance wall. Your entrance-wall will also require carefully cutting out the blanket at the entranceway and taping it down around it. Make sure that you line the part of this wall that will be facing INSIDE. (I made the mistake of not checking first and lined the wrong side.) Also make sure to cut out and line your ceiling-piece as well (**but not your floor**--many cats are weirded out by the feel of foil/emergency blankets on their feet and won't come in if you use it there).

Putting It All Together

Once you've wallpapered all your walls and your lid with your emergency blanket, carefully put all the pieces back in place, with the emergency blanket-side of the walls facing inwards, starting with the floor, then the short walls, then the long walls. Hopefully all your seams will be tight, but if your rubbermaid container is like many rubbermaid containers, it gets larger towards the top. So if you see gaps in the styrofoam walls, you can just use some duct-tape to cinch up the seams. I did so on all the top-corners of mine, just for added stability.

Lining Your Floor

Take either straw or shredded newspaper and line the bottom of the shelter with it. Do *NOT* use blankets or anything that will easily mold and/or get wet. Shredded newspaper and hay are ideal because the cat(s) can nuzzle down into it because it's loose, and in doing so, it will end up trapping in their body heat better. (You *will* need to periodically check and change your newspaper/straw though, so that it doesn't get/stay damp.)

Place your styrofoam lid on. Place the rubbermaid lid on. Voila--you're done! (Well, unless you're a nerd like me and wanna add on a little overhang for the entrance.)

Choosing Your Location

Now you just need to find a good place to put it: ideally you'll want an area that a) doesn't get much foot-traffic, and b) is slightly protected from the elements (under a stoop, under a bush, etc.).

(In case my directions are at all confusing, which wouldn't surprise me, I've included a list of other feral cat shelter resources/instructions at the end.)

Anyways, it took me a couple hours (and a LOT of vacuuming: styrofoam, and its wonderful ability to static cling to everything, is a BEAR when you're trying to cut it to size) to make this, but I did it.

You can see the end result pictured here:

After I was all done, I put it in my kitchen so that my cat Zooey could try it out and give me the two paws up if she found it to be acceptable. She sniffed around it for a while, and then finally her curiosity got the best of her and she climbed inside. Success!

So I dragged it outside and spent a few minutes trying to figure out the ideal place to put it. I don't own the property, so I needed to put it someplace secure and not too obvious, since if my landlord or one of the people who does the landscaping were to find it, I'd either get an earful or it would be thrown out without a second thought. I finally settled on a discrete little space beneath the back house's back stoop. The door the stoop leads to is pretty much never used because it opens up on a tiny backyard that no one ever spends time in. So I figured it'd be fairly low-traffic, and I slid the shelter underneath.

The only thing that was missing from my shelter at this point was something to layer the bottom with. As mentioned above, most websites recommend straw or hay, but since we're still ankle-deep in the throes of winter, that's not exactly easy to come by in the city. So instead I shredded up lots of newspaper yesterday to line the bottom.

I told my mom about it (since she's considering adopting the cat if she warms up to me enough that she'll let me get her in a carrier), and she said to keep her updated on whether or not the cat ends up using the shelter at all. Which made me realize that I probably would never ever know whether she was actually doing so, since cats are smart enough not to stick around in a tiny enclosed space if big people are lumbering around.

So yesterday, I shredded and shredded and shredded until I had plenty of newspaper-curlies to line the inside. I dragged my ass out to the back stoop and reached under, sliding the shelter out. And I'll be damned if my little stray didn't come FLYING the hell out of the shelter like I'd set her tail on fire. And I cannot even tell you how much my heart went squish when I saw that she was ALREADY making my shelter her own little home--that I had done something constructive, made something with my own two hands and a well-intentioned heart, and that all my doubts as to whether it would be used had just been demolished. If there was a large Squishing Machine, with large robotic squishing arms, that squished large objects like bikes or boxes or cars, my heart felt like it was joyfully being squished by about 1500 of those.


So as of last night, the shelter is equipped with a nice bed of shredded newspaper, the hatches all battened down for yet ANOTHER big snow storm that is apparently headed our way. So say with me a little prayer for all the neighborhood strays--may they make it through what will hopefully be only a few more weeks of winter.

And if this little tale strikes your heart in the right sort of way, consider making your own shelter. If you're someone who likes to cook, that usually means you're good with your hands and have a creative sensibility about you, so tackling a shelter shouldn't be much skin off your back. It doesn't take long, and even if it only ends up being able to house one or two cats, that's one or two less cats that will be left homeless in the brutal cold.

And as reminder that stray cats are a blessing and not a nuisance, I share with you gratuitous pics of my own two adopted "strays" that I can't imagine not sharing an apartment and a life with.

  • Indy Feral

  • Neighborhood Cats

  • PACT Humane Society

  • (Or just google feral cat shelters)

    Thursday, March 06, 2008


    Nothing says "Healthy Vegan" more than an afternoon snack of BBQ Fritos and black coffee, let me tell you.

    Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

    After admitting my lustiness for leeks last week (that was very alliterative), I of course couldn't pass up this recipe from Veganomicon. So I made it. And it was good.

    For once, I didn't fuss with or alter anything. (Ok, after writing this out, I realized I just lied: I used dried thyme instead of fresh. Sue me.) The only change I was forced to make was to bake this in two separate casserole dishes (since I don't have an oven-safe skillet, and since I don't have a really BIG casserole dish). I probably should've left the biscuits in to cook longer, but I didn't. So they kind of look like pasty white-boy ass-cheeks that haven't seen the sun in years. But they still tasted good.

    The only bad thing about this "cassoulet" is that it doesn't make for the bestest leftovers. Everything congeals, and it ends up being kind of dry.

    But that's ok: it'll just give you an excuse to get a few people over to chow down on it with you the first night so that you don't have to deal with pasty-ass leftovers.


    • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

    • 3 c. vegetable broth

    • 3 T. cornstarch

    • 2 T. olive oil

    • 2 leeks, washed well and sliced thinly (about 2 c.)

    • 1 small onion, cut into medium-size dice

    • 1.5 c. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (I just used 1.5 c. shredded carrots)

    • 2 cloves garlic, minced

    • 1 heaping Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish (I used 1 t. dried thyme)

    • Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

    • 1/2 t. salt (more or less depending on how salty your broth is, so taste it first)

    • 3/4 c. frozen peas

    • 1 15-oz can navy beans, drained and rinsed

    • Biscuits:

    • 3/4 c. plain soymilk

    • 1 t. apple cider vinegar

    • 1.5 c. all-purpose flour

    • 2 t. baking powder

    • 1/4 t. salt

    • 1/4 c. nonhydrogenated vegan shortening (like Earth Balance or Spectrum)


    Preheat the oven to 425F.

    Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain immediately so they do not overcook. While they are boiling, you can prep the rest of the veggies and start preparing the biscuits - the potatoes should definitely be done by the time you are.

    Now, prepare everything for the biscuits. You're not going to make them yet, but it's good to have everything ready when it comes time to top the stew. Add the vinegar to the soy milk in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

    Now leave that alone and start the stew. Mix the cornstarch into the vegetable stock until dissolved.

    Preheat an oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Saute in the oil the leeks, onions, and carrots until very soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Keep the heat moderate so that they don't burn.

    Add the garlic, thyme, freshly ground black pepper and salt, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cooked potatoes and frozen peas, then pour in the vegetable stock mixture. Raise the heat just a bit; it will take a few minutes but the liquid will start simmering. Once it does, lower the heat again. Let it simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, but no longer than that. If you need more time for the biscuits, then turn off the heat under the stew.

    Back to the biscuits: Add the shortening to the flour in small slivers and work it into the dough with a fork or with your fingers until large crumbs form. You don't want to cream it in; there should be clumps. Drizzle in the soy milk and mix with a fork until everything is moistened (some dry parts are okay).

    Wash and dry your hands, then lightly flour them and get them dirty again. Gently knead the dough about ten times right in the bowl, just so that it is holding together and not very sticky. If it seems sticky, as in sticking to your fingers, then gently work in a little more flour. Set that aside and check on your stew.

    The stew should be simmering and slightly thickened. Mix in the beans.

    At this point, if you're using a casserole dish (or more than one casserole dish), you'll want to transfer the stew from your skillet into your casserole dishes.

    Now, let's add the biscuits. Pull off chunks of dough that are about slightly larger than golf balls. Gently roll them into balls and flatten a bit; they do not have to be perfectly round. Add them to the top of the stew, placed an inch or so apart.

    Transfer the whole megillah to the preheated oven. If you are worried about spillover, place it on a rimmed baking sheet, but we've never had that problem. Bake for about 15 minutes. The biscuits should be just slightly browned and firm to the touch. (If you use two casserole dishes, you'll probably want to add on a few minutes, until the biscuits are slightly golden.)

    Remove from the oven and use a large serving spoon to place some of the stew and a biscuit in each shallow, individual bowl. Sprinkle with a little chopped, fresh thyme.

    Serve at last! Especially yummy when you break up your biscuit and mix it in a bit with your stew.

    Makes 6 servings.

    (Recipe posted at Vegan Chicks Rock, originally from Veganomicon)

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Tomato and Roasted Eggplant Fettucine with Chickpeas

    Because I do not learn from my mistakes (in more ways than I can count on my three nipples), I of course blundered into the "Tomato and Roasted Eggplant Stew with Chickpeas" recipe from Veganomicon without realizing that I didn't have one of the key spices for it at home. Go figure. And then, on top of that, one of the eggplants, whose resiliency in my fridge I was banking on in order to be able to make this, was all sorts of moldy when I took it out of the bag. It sorta looked like THIS dude from that horrible William Shatner movie, Kingdom of the Spiders:

    So I ended up altering the recipe quite a bit. Which is why I post it here, without TOO much remorse. You won't be getting what you'd get out of the book, so if that's what you done want then you best get to getting the book! Get it?

    Anyways, I didn't have tarragon (but thought I did) so I ended up subbing in marjoram. (Seriously: I'm starting to think that marjoram is an awesome wonder-spice or something.) And I only used one eggplant. Since I knew that would mean way more liquid without a second eggplant, I decided to fill up the dish with fettucine noodles instead. And I made a few other minopr adjustments as well, just for shits and giggles.

    And holy crap: The magic! I gave some to my mom to try, and she called me up immediately after eating it, demanding that I pass along the recipe. So pass it along I do.

    I plan to make the stew as it stands in the cookbook sometime in the near future to compare. I suspect the results are not REMARKABLY different. But man, if that buttery, sexy eggplant doesn't meld particularly masterfully with the robust flavor of tomatoes and red peppers when coupled with some long, slippery fettucine noodles. Mmmm mmm.

    • 3 T. olive oil

    • 1 large eggplant

    • 1 bulb garlic

    • 2 red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced in half length-wise

    • 2 small white onions, sliced into thin half-moons

    • 1/2 c. white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)

    • 1 t. dried marjoram

    • 1 t. dried thyme

    • 1 t. ground coriander

    • 1/2 t. paprika

    • A bit of freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

    • 2 bay leaves

    • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes

    • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

    • 1 lb. fettucine noodles, cooked


    Preheat oven to 450F.

    Quarter the eggplant lengthwise and slice across into 3/4-inch slices.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, and brush it with about 2 T. of the olive oil. Lay the eggplant on the baking sheets and spray the tops with some sort of spray-oil. In the center, place your peppers. Spray their outsides with some sort of spray-oil as well.

    Remove the loose, papery skins from your garlic bulb. Place the garlic on one of the pans as well.

    Place the pans in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.

    While you do so, boil the water for your fettucine, and cook the noodles as directed on the box. Drain and set aside.

    Remove pans from the oven. If the red pepper skinds are blistering, then place them in a paper/plastic bag and close up the bag. If they are not yet blistered, flip the eggplant pieces, respray them with spray-oil, and return everything back to the oven for 15 more minutes.

    If you returned the red peppers to the oven, keep checking on them, and once the skins are sufficiently blistered, remove them and place them in a bag as mentioned above.

    After the 15 minutes are up, remove everything from the oven. Give a garlic clove a little squeeze, and if it feels soft and mushy, you can set aside. If it's not quite there, remove your eggplant from the pan, and return the garlic to the oven for a wee bit longer.

    Once your peppers have cooled, remove the skins (if there's some skin that remains, it's ok), and dice into tiny pieces. Once your garlic has cooled, wet your hands, and squeeze each roasted garlic clove into a bowl.

    Up until this point, all of these steps can be done the night before you choose to cook the meal. If you go this route, you can just toss your garlic, eggplant, and roasted red pepper bites into an airtight container and refrigerate.

    On the stovetop, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the white wine, herbs, and bay leaves and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tearing up each tomato with your hands before adding to the pot, and add the remaining juice from the can.

    Add the eggplant, peppers, roasted garlic, and chickpeas to the pot and mix well. (Don't be afraid of crushing it--it's a good thing if that happens.)

    Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Let sit for about 10 minutes.

    Add your drained fettucine noodles and stir well.


    Makes 6 to 8 servings

    A Week in the Life of a (Un)Typical Vegan

    My delectable friend Peppermint sent me an email last week that went a little something like this:

    oh, i had this idea for your vegan blog. i'm curious to what you eat everyday. like, have you ever tracked your meals and snacks for a week? Even if you think that's boring, I find it interesting, esp wanting to see how a *real person* who eats healthfully eats for a week. I periodically track my foods each day at and it's enlightening to me--not often in good ways.

    And since I'd thought about posting on this topic once before, but never actually got around to it, I figured her interest would be incentive enough. So here you go, Ms. P...

    This past week was a fairly atypical week, mostly because I had to make concessions in my daily eating-routine due to my lack of car. The breaks in the norm are this: I usually eat a granola bar for B-fast on work-days (Tuesday through Friday)--unfortunately I didn't notice until Tuesday morning that I was out. I usually also have a beer at least two or three times during the work-week, more than that on the weekend (typically no more than one on a weeknight though, unless I'm going out).

    You can probably tell, however, that part of my typical routine is that on Sundays, I whip up both a lunch (which in the winter typically consists of soup, in the summer: salads) and a dinner for the week. I get home late enough from work during the week, and am typically hungry enough, that I don't have the patience to cook right then. So reheating food cooked on Sunday satisfies my need to eat IMMEDIATELY.

    Also: in case you couldn't tell: I love bagels. I also love bread, but this past week's food-list looks rather underwhelming on the bread-front because I never picked up any on the weekend when I had access to a car.

    I also have a Frito-disease that causes me to inexplicably crave and eat Frito's at work when I am PMSing. Thankfully last week I managed to avoid their Evilly Oily Grasp.

    Bad things: I am not a big fruit-eater, especially in the winter. I drink plenty of water during the week (at least one to two 34-oz water-bottle's worth) when I'm at work and my nalgene-wannabe-bottle is taunting me. But on the weekends, I don't drink nearly enough.

    Neutral things: I also don't keep track of whether or not I'm getting my "rounded food-groups." I assume that, minus my penchant for the occasional sweets, my lunches and dinners are varied enough and incidentally well-rounded enough (and unprocessed, fresh, and veggie-packed enough) that I satisfy most of my daily nutritional requirements. I also take Vegan One Multiple vitamins by VegLife, typically three to four times a week (when I'm not feeling intimidated by them--I choked on one recently and traumatized myself, because I am an asshat like that).

    Good things: I am awesome.
    Also, as you can see, I tend not to eat too much on the processed-food-front (not counting granola bars and the occasional evil evil Fritos). And yes, I drink coffee every day. And yes, I'm listing it under a good thing. I don't typically overdrink (as far as I can tell), and after reading an article in either Veg Times or VegNews (I can't remember which and can't seem to be able to track it down to link to here) extolling the numerous health benefits that come from drinking a daily mug o' joe, I consider it a good thing. In moderation. Yo mama.



    • A bagel (with margarine and 1/2 half with pb)

    • Coffee

    • Sex

    • Lunch (at Webb of Life):

    • Buffalo Tofu

    • BBQ Chicken Pizza

    • Dinner (still full from lunch):

    • Leftover Pizza

    • Three tacos (consisting of a TVP/black-bean filling with lettuce and Ortega Taco Sauce)

    • Snacks:

    • A chewy choc-raspberry cookie sammich

    • Quickie

    • A square from a vegan choc-truffle bar

    MONDAY (all-day classes)


    • A bagel (with margarine and 1/2 half with pb)

    • Coffee

    • Lunch:

    • Bowl of Tomato-Rice Soup from Veganomicon w/ slice of bread

    • A Peppermint-Lisa-licious cupcake

    • Dinner:

    • Three tacos (see Sunday)

    • Sex

    • Snack:

    • Cupcake (damn you, Peppermint)

    • A chewy choc-raspberry cookie sammich

    • A square from my vegan choc-truffle bar



    • Maple-Brown Sugar Granola Bar

    • Coffee

    • Snack:

    • Apple-cinnamon rice cakes

    • Quickie

    • Lunch:

    • Bowl of tomato-rice soup

    • Snack:

    • Apple-cinnamon rice cakes

    • Quickie

    • 1/2 a chewy choc-raspberry cookie sammich (must get rid of these!)

    • Dinner:

    • Eggplant-chickpea stew-conversion, adapted from Veganomicon (recipe forthcoming this week)

    • Garlic toast

    • Snack:

    • Other half of 1/2 chewy choc-raspberry cookie sammich

    • A couple squares from my vegan choc-truffle bar



    • Quickie

    • Oatmeal with brown sugar

    • Coffee

    • Sex

    • Lunch:

    • Tomato-rice soup

    • Dinner:

    • Eggplant-chickpea stew-pasta

    • Bagel (1/2 butter, 1/2 pb)

    • Snack:

    • A chewy choc-raspberry cookie sammich

    • 1 square of choc truffle-bar



    • Coffee

    • Bagel (1/2 butter, 1/2 pb)

    • Lunch:

    • Tomato-rice soup

    • Dinner:

    • Eggplant-chickpea stew-pasta

    • 69

    • Snacks:

    • 2 pieces of chocolate

    • Leftover Red Hot Mama

    • 2 tacos (see Sunday desc.)



    • Coffee

    • Bagel (1/2 marg, 1/2 pb)

    • Quickie

    • Lunch:

    • Eggplant-chickpea stew-pasta

    • Quickie

    • Snacks:

    • Leftover Red Hot Mama

    • Piece of chocolate

    • 2 tacos (see Sunday desc.)

    • Quickie

    • Dinner (at Pacific East):

    • Field greens salad w/ ginger dressing

    • Avocado sushi roll

    • Sweet potato sushi roll

    • Inari sushi

    • Sake

    • 1 beer

    • Quickie (Thanks, Peppermint!)



    • Coffee

    • Bagel (1/2 marg, 1/2 pb)

    • Sex

    • Lunch:

    • Last bit of ggplant-chickpea stew-pasta

    • Sex

    • Snack:

    • 1/2 chocolate-raspberry bar

    • PBJ sandwich

    • Sex

    • Dinner:

    • Stirfry (tofu, broccoli, peanuts, onions in a General Tso's sauce over angel hair pasta)

    • Sex

    • Snack:

    • Sex

    • Two beers