Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This is still a thing

So, in the last 23 days or so, I have been a fairly carnivorous vegan.  But, having made it through the Fourth of July and our family vacation to Vail, I am now fully re-committed to the bit, and was mostly vegan all day today (vegetarian at lunch, but whatevs).

This new re-commitment comes with a pretty substantial caveat:  My kids are exempt.  The fuckers just won't eat vegetables.  So that's just how that goes.

Still, though, we have discovered one vegan meal that they actually like and is actually quite easy to make - The One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe (courtesy of Apron Strings).  It's the bomb-dot-com.

You basically only have to do a couple of things:  Slice up a sweet onion, crack open a can of diced tomatoes (organic, of course, unless you love feeding your children poison), drop 12 oz. of linguine and 4.5 cups of vegetable broth, some minced garlic and oregano into a pot and turn on the heat:

It's just that easy!

Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes (LOL, J/K, Apron Strings totally lied about that one.  It's actually about 25 minutes) until the broth has cooked down to about an inch left in the pan.  Then, throw in some chopped basil:

I also added artichoke hearts because they rule and I rule so we're a perfect match.

Plate that crap up, toss on some Parmesan cheese and add some French bread (in France, they just call it bread! You know what? Screw you guys.) and you've got yourself a vegan meal that even your non-vegan kids will love!

[ed. note:  An astute reader pointed out that Parmesan cheese is not vegan.  The bread might not be vegan either, IDK.  Anywho, nobody reads this crappy food blog anyway]


Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's more of a guideline than a rule

Being a vegan is hard.

I mean, I'm totally committed to my new lifestyle choice.  But I think I need to reevaluate my identity.  Currently, I still identify as a "Vegan".  However, I have consumed approximately one metric shit-ton of meat and cheese since the Fourth-of-July weekend.  And, truth be told, I'm skewing heavily toward vegetarianism these days since being a vegan takes a lot of prep time, which I don't have.

So, identifying as a "Vegan" really doesn't seem fair to actual vegans.  As a result, I have created a new identity.  Well, more accurately, I have created a new title for my actual identity:  Internets, I stand before you, a proud "Vaguean".  A Vaguean is a vegan who is quick to abandon their veganism the moment it gets too hard to be a vegan.  Also, when there's a national holiday that calls for grilling meat.  Or on weekends.

Vagueans try their best to eat vegetables.  They don't let the fact that those vegetables might be covered in meat and dairy stop them.  I'm comfortable with it.

Anywho, my carbon footprint is supes small.  And my sense of superiority is intact.  Also, too, I'm heading out on vacation tomorrow and will eat a lot of meat and cheese.

Am I Vaguean or what?!?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Still Vegan After All These Weeks

So I'm still vegan. Just shy of two months into this thing and going (relatively) strong.

Do I have steak every now and then?  Yes.

Do I have cheese every now and then?  Yes.

Do I abandon my veganism at the drop of a hat when it becomes moderately inconvenient to be one (i.e., at virtually all restaurants)?  Yes.

But, I figure I'm still about 75% vegan and then another 10-15% vegetarian.  Maybe more.  So, that's pretty good.  Turns out, you can make a lot of good stuff with vegetables and shit like that, so it's really worked out well.  One good trick is to not read the ingredient lists on stuff all that closely.  That way, as long as there's no visible meat or obvious dairy, you can just eat it and maintain the haughty air of a vegan.  Ignorance is bliss (am I right, Republicans?)!

Also, too, you get to eat things you'd never have thought of if you were still an Earth-hating meat-eater.  Like the Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Coleslaw I had last weekend.  This is another recipe from Thug Kitchen, and it kicked a$$.  Also, it was pretty easy even though it looked kind of hard.

First, you chop up some cauliflower and cook it for a while in some beer, vegetable broth, lime juice, tamari, chipotle hot sauce and garlic:

Then, drain the juice and toss the cauliflower with some olive oil, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and chopped onion and bake it at 400 for 20 minutes:

While that's going on, chop up some cabbage and carrots and toss them with some lime juice, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and cilantro and you have yourself some slaw:

Throw the cauliflower and slaw on a tortilla with some chopped up avocado, and you're in business!

It's just that easy!  I am pretty sure nobody in my family but me would like this dish, but I had four helpings.  It was totes vegan.  I could literally feel the Earth healing as I ate it.  If you care about your children and your children's children, you should probably make this dish.  Before it's too late.

And that's Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Coleslaw!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Family Fun

[Recent conversation in the car]

*Rachel Platten song playing*
Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open, too
'Cause I'm gonna stand by you
Me:  That doesn't make any sense.

KC:  What?

Me:  If your wings were broken and I gave you my wings that wouldn't make it so your wings could open.

KC:  What?

Me:  In the song, she offers her wings to the guy with broken wings so that his wings "can open too."  But if his wings were broken, giving him a different set of wings wouldn't fix his broken wings, it would just give him a set of working wings that he could borrow.

Shef:  No, she is fixing his wings.

Me:  No.  She clearly says that she's going to give him her wings.  And then she suggests that once he has her wings, his wings would magically be able to open.  That doesn't make any sense.

Shef:  Yeah it does.  'Cause then he could fly.

KC:  Whatever.  Stop talking about this.

Me:  I don't disagree that he could fly, but he wouldn't be using his broken wings to fly.  Instead, he'd be using her unbroken wings but his actual wings would still be broken.  So it doesn't make any sense.

Shef:  What?

Me:  Think about it.  If your car was broken and I gave you my car, you could drive somewhere.  But your car wouldn't be fixed.  It would still be broken.  You'd just be borrowing my car.  Like with the wings.

Shef:  No.  She's helping him fly.

KC:  WHATEVER.  Let's talk about something else!

Me:  Yeah, but giving him her wings wouldn't make his wings open.  That's what she says would happen.  And it doesn't make any sense.

Shef:   Yes, it does.

Me:  No, it doesn't.  Giving someone working wings doesn't fix broken wings, it just means that he has a spare set of working wings.  So...


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A bump in the road

Against all odds, my kids have rejected our new-found vegan lifestyle.  It has been about five weeks since I began this journey.  And about five weeks since my kids ate anything.

It's the loss of dairy that really did them in.  The loss of meat as well.  Other than those two things, though, they more or less embraced veganism.

After my eighth or ninth failed dinner recipe in a row, I grumpily proclaimed my experiment in introducing my kids to sustainable eating to be over.  Tonight we made lasagna with actual, non-plant-based cheese.  They both had three helpings.  Mac basically ate his body weight in lasagna.  Shef had a Kind Bar (vegan!) after dinner.

So I was pretty much starving my children with my selfish desire to save the planet.

But never fear, I am not giving up on my new lifestyle.  I will just be more willing to abandon it when it becomes slightly inconvenient going forward.

Truth be told, I'm getting pretty good at being a vegan.  I actually invented two new dishes over the weekend.  First, I started with a dish I like to call:  Black Beans with Chopped Red Onion over Brown Rice.  The ingredients are mostly what you'd expect:

I bet you didn't expect the salsa and avocado, though, did you?  Now, some cultures might argue that they have been eating this dish for tens of thousands of years.  And they would be right.  But I didn't use their recipe.  I just happened to invent the same one tens of thousands of years later.

The next day, though, I really dialed up the creativity a notch with a little dish I like to call Black Beans with Chopped Red Onion over Kale:

You may have seen the salsa and avocado coming this time around.  This dish is a unique blend of flavors where you don't have rice and have kale instead.  Take THAT tens of thousands of years old cultures!

Beans, as it turns out, truly are the magic fruit.  I had forgotten that in the years I spent as a non-sustainable, Earth-hating, meat-eater.

Was that too much information?  It felt like that was too much information.

But that's just part of being a vegan.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Salads for meals: #VeganLife

Vegans eat a lot of salads.  I think the reasons for this are threefold:  First, salads are pretty much already vegan, so it's one dish that you don't have to work super-hard to figure out how to make without using all the stuff you swore off by becoming vegan; Second, it's probably the easiest thing to order at a restaurant if you're one of those vegans who keeps being a vegan even if you're in a restaurant; and Third, salads can be totally awesome.  Most people don't know this because salads are the part of the meal that people tend to give to you even though you didn't ask for or want but it's a free add-on.

[Quick aside:  When I was a waiter at Chili's, we had to make the house salads for our guests.  So, again, salads are treated by most people as the kind of dish a waiter should make even when you have a kitchen stocked with trained cooks that you are paying to make food for people.  Anywho, I could handle a section with 10 full tables with no problem, but I couldn't remember to make their house salads.  Fortunately, a departing manager left me his manager's card, so I could apologize to the customers and comp something on their tab without having to go to an actual manager to explain that I forgot to make the house salads again.  I comped a lot of stuff.  Sorry, Chili's.  I was so well-known for forgetting to make house salads that the other employees started referring to forgetting to make house salads as "pulling a Dan."  Several months after I left Chili's, I went back with another former employee and we found out that employees who had never worked with me still referred to forgetting to make a house salad as "pulling a Dan."  They might still be doing it.  Fun fact!]

Anyway, it turns out that salads can be the bomb-dot-com.  If you spend a $hit-ton on ingredients and about a thousand hours making them.  Fortunately, I have nothing but time and money on my hands so this is not a problem for me.  Well, truth be told, neither of those things are true and I'm starting to wonder if I can keep this vegan thing up.  Still, if we don't send the kids to college and I quit my job, I can probably make it work.

One trick is to make a ton of one kind of salad so you can have it all week.  Another trick is to hope that the salad you are making is good or else you're stuck with a crap lunch all week.  It turns out, though, that it's not all that hard to make a good salad dressing and you can put lots of stuff in salad other than salad, so it can be a real meal with protein and everything!  Who knew?

This week, I had this Sweet Potato, Lentil & Kale Detox Salad (courtesy of Hummusapien).  This salad had me at Sweet Potato but lost me at Lentil and Kale and Detox.  Still, though, it was all kinds of awesome!  [aaaaaaaaaaaaand I just became "that vegan" who was all "lentils and kale are great!" I hate myself]

Basically, anything with sweet potatoes is going to be great.  The recipe calls for the cooking of "brown lentils" but the super-douchey grocery store we go to doesn't have those so I just bought some cooked lentils in a can that looked brown in the picture on the can.  I'm pretty much the Julia Child of vegans.  I had to dice up and cook the sweet potatoes and then slice up some red onion and cilantro, but it wasn't too hard to do those things.  Throw the canned lentils in with the potatoes and I was almost ready for the week:

V.E.G.A.N. Y.A.L.L.

Next, I made a dressing with olive oil, orange juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  I failed to take a picture, but, rest assured, all those ingredients were in there.  The dressing recipe called for the use of one tablespoon of "za'atar", but since I don't live in Narnia, I didn't have whatever the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks "za'atar" is.  It was still pretty good.

Each day, I would grab about a third of each bucket (lentils/sweet potatoes, cilantro/red onions, non-magical orange juice dressing) and throw it in a massive tupperware bowl for my lunch.  I felt super-douchey about the whole thing, but that's just veganism:

Wait!  Where are the lentils?!?  All of you are asking this right now.  I know it.  It turns out, lentils are "small" and so they "fall to the bottom" of the "salad" "bowl".  Also, too, they slip through the tines of a fork and so once you're done with your salad, you have a bunch of lentils who played no part in your meal up to that point that you have to get into your belly somehow.

Lentils are my vegan Waterloo.

Also, the thing about eating salads for your meal is that you do a lot of chewing the food into your mouth kind of like a cow.  This is ironic since I would be eating that cow but for my veganism, but life has a funny way of doing something (I'm tired of blogging).  Anyway, it's fitting that trying to eat a vegan meal makes you look like the animals that you're not eating look when they're eating the same stuff you are.

But, seriously, when eating a vegan salad that features lentils, I think your utensil of choice should be the spork.  You're welcome, fellow vegans.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kid-Friendly Vegan: Or, A Swing And A Miss

Thus far, my kids have reacted somewhat tepidly to my new-found veganism.

My 12-year-old, who is growing and desperately needs food, will grudgingly eat anything I put in front of him - sometimes even having seconds!  But that's just nature telling him to eat or die.  His displeasure is evident by both his body language, which says: "I don't like this meal" and his actual language, which also says:  "I don't like this meal."  To-date, his body language and actual language has said that at every meal.

My 7-year-old just hates it.  He was a picky eater before.  Putting a plate of vegan food in front of him is a bit like putting a plate of Kryptonite in front of Superman.  He's hardly eaten in three weeks.  I'm going to stop cooking him vegan food.  After all, what's the point of becoming vegan to save the planet for your kids if your kids stop eating and die and aren't around to enjoy the planet you tried to save for them?

Anywho, this week, I made them Mac and Cheese - which they were excited about until they found out the "Cheese" part of it was a potato-carrot-onion-nutritional yeast blended cheese substitute.  Likewise, they expressed interest in the Meatball Subs I made until they found out that the meatballs had no meat in them.  The grown-ups liked it, though, so screw those guys.

The Mac and Cheese (courtesy of Vegan Yumminess) was definitely my favorite.

[Side note.  I have been displeased with the names of the food blogs that my vegan counterparts have chosen.  I make the recipes they suggest despite their websites' names and do not endorse them in any way]

Who knew that if you blended up a bunch of vegan shit it would taste just like cheese?  Except for vegans, obviously.  In truth, though, I have now blended up so many things that end up tasting like cheese, I am starting to think that if you just blend up a bunch of stuff enough, it will taste like cheese sort of like how everything tastes like chicken.  Except chicken that has been blended up, which probably tastes like cheese.

Also, too, you blend the crap out of stuff when you're a vegan.  I have used my food processor more in the last three weeks of veganism than in the previous 10 years of regularness.  And I'm not even kidding.  Being vegan is super-hard and you have to do a lot to pull your meals together.  I feel like I'm Laura Ingalls Wilder or something.  At least being vegan is a lot more expensive.

Still, it's a bit fun trying these new dishes.  To make the Mac and Cheese, you have to cook down the veggies in boiling water for a while and then blend them up with some cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast and spices:

That's the top blade on the blender.  This is actually a lot of "cheese".  It's a terrible picture that makes it look like just a little bit of "cheese".  This just appears to be a messy blender.  This is the worst food blog ever.

Pour it over some macaroni (just cook the macaroni like it says on the box), though, and it looks like this:

Whaaaaat?  Is this traditional Mac and Cheese or is it less-fulfilling-but-adequate-and-sustainable-vegan-af-mac-and-cheese?

[it's the latter]

Throw some roasted broccoli on the plate and this looks just good enough to eat!

The Meatball Subs (courtesy of Hummusapien [see what I mean?]) were a tad less successful.  Unless you like your actual meatballs to taste super cardboardy.  They looked like this:

You are right to be skeptical.

They tasted okay, though.  Just put a few in a hoagie bun and throw some tomato sauce (Just buy some from a jar.  But buy Newman's Own because they give to charity.  Or be a dick and buy some non-charitable sell-out brand like a non-vegan would.  Also, not for nothing, but this image from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the best movie stills ever:

This reminds me of a story.  I only watched this movie because my parents made me.  And it was great.  But I remember when my dad tried to make me watch True Grit (the original not the 2010 one) with John Wayne.  He was all excited about it but I was super-tweeny and wouldn't watch it.  I experienced this myself recently when I tried to get my tween to watch Tombstone with me.  I was all excited about it but he was super-tweeny and wouldn't watch it.  I guess the circle of life is being kind of an asshole to your dad when he's trying to watch his favorite Western with you.  This was a super-deep parenthetical, you guys!  I bet most of you forgot that this was all happening within a parenthetical.  Well, I didn't. (That's great blogging!)) on them and they'll taste okay!  But that's mainly because tomato sauce is the bomb-dot-com as are hoagie rolls:

We had broccoli again because I forgot to roast the Brussels sprouts (in Brussels, they're just called Sprouts!) and so we microwaved some frozen broccoli that was probably from 2013.

By the way, this picture is very poorly staged, no?  There's debris on the plate and the "Meatball" sub and the broccoli look like they're about to have a Civil War-era battle where all anyone does is shoot at each other while everyone stands in a straight line and doesn't move until shot.  I know what you're thinking:  GIVE ME A CLOSEUP OF THE "MEATBALL" SUB!!!!

This food blog is literally the worst.

Anyway, my kids hate that I'm vegan now!