Friday, July 23, 2010


Not that I post terribly often, but Jeff and I will be on vacation for the next two weeks. We're going on a cruise with my parents, sister and brother in law to the Caribbean. I've cruised many times before, as an omnivore, vegetarian and vegan. One of the biggest perks of cruising is the food, but as a vegan I have found that to no longer be the case. It will be nice to have Jeff with me this time, as we can commiserate in the lack of options together. Also, having knowledge of what to expect has helped me prepare some snack foods to bring along just in case. I hope to try out some veg restaurants while I'm gone, and hope to post reviews here after I return.

Things have been really busy at work as I'm wildly gathering data to publish in a paper, but I've managed to find some time to can preserves and make tempeh for the first time. I hope to post about that in the near future because it was a definite success. Jeff has also invented an okara meatball recipe that is so delicious that we have tested it probably about a dozen times and yet never manage to photograph it before eating them all! The recipe is totally solid now and once I can snap some decent looking photos I'll post it here. So stay tuned for some good stuff in the near future!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Take Your Vitamins

I generally don't like the idea of taking supplements, because I feel like I should be getting enough vitamins and nutrients from the food I eat. However, I realize that I have no way of really insuring this, and I realize that I live in New England where vitamin D deficiency is rampant. So I decided to scope out the offerings at my local Whole Foods for a vitamin I can try.

There were tons of options - just plain multivitamins, vitamins with weird wheatgrass and mushroom extracts, raw vitamins, and plenty of "vegan" multis. Why vegan in scare quotes? Because most of them didn't turn out to be vegan once I checked the label.

For example, Raw One For Women. See the little picture to the left? It says VEGAN on the label, so I figured it would be free of animal products. I flipped over to the label and found that it contains vitamin D3.

If you don't know, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is derived from animals, usually sheep's wool. This is the type of vitamin D that we humans produce when our skin is exposed to UV rays. It's also why we tend to be vitamin D deficient up north here when there's little sunlight all winter long.

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is the vegan option of vitamin D, derived from plant or fungal sources.

So keep your eyes open when you're shopping for truly vegan vitamins! Your best bet is to shop online at a trusted source like Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe or Pangea Vegan Store. But if you have to shop at the grocery store, read the labels and don't buy anything that says D3 or cholecalciferol.

For more information on vitamin D, I recommend the wikipedia page.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

All American Dinner -- Vegan Meatloaf with Miso Gravy and Kale

I know when I'm finally starting to get over an illness, because my appetite goes through the roof. I was sick for a week with a trachea infection, but come Thursday, I could not stop thinking about gravy.

This is THE BEST homemade gravy I have ever tasted, and it was perfect with this surprisingly good vegan meatloaf recipe. It is made smooth by creating a roux, which is flour cooked in butter or its substitute. The meatloaf recipe is from Vegetarians in Paradise, one of the ugliest websites I've ever seen. It calls for Gimme Lean meat substitute. I had a half package of ground beef style and a half package of sausage style, so I just mixed them together and it was pretty good. This loaf is very small, so if you want a larger one (that will fit into a traditional loaf pan) I'd suggest tripling the recipe, which can get expensive. You could try out a TVP substitute, but I'd suggest really seasoning it. As for the kale, I won't provide a recipe, just instructions: saute on medium heat washed, de-stemmed, and chopped kale in a lightly oiled pan with salt and pepper to taste until the leaves change from bright green to a dull green.

Creamy Vegan Miso Gravy
makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 T Earth Balance
1/4 cup flour
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth OR 3 cups water with 2 T of homemade vegetable bouillon
1 T nutritional yeast
1 tsp cornstarch, as needed 
black pepper to taste
2 T red miso
2 T water
soy sauce to taste

1. Melt the Earth Balance in a sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk until bubbly and you can't smell the flour. Add the vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, pepper, and cornstarch and bring to a boil, stirring continuously until it reaches the thickness you prefer. Allow to cool slightly.
2. Dissolve the miso in the water and add to the gravy. Stir to combine thoroughly. Add soy sauce to taste.

Vegan Meatloaf
(serves 2)

2 pieces of bread, lightly toasted
1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
1 T soy sauce or tamari
1 14 oz package of Gimme Lean ground beef style
2/3 cup chopped onion or 4 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Break the toasted bread up into small pieces in a bowl and add the soymilk, soaking the bread. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well with your hands.
2. Shape the mixture into a loaf and place in a lightly oiled loaf pan. (Optional: pour some gravy over the loaf.) Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then slice and serve with gravy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Garden Photos

Jeff and I are back in NY for a fun July 4th weekend. We stopped off at our garden first to give it one last watering before Monday when we come back. Here are some shots of our hard work:

Unripe Blackberries
Unripe Blackberries


Cucumber Flowers
Cucumber Flowers

These last pictures are of the garden in my parents back yard. Everything is huge! We're going to be eating so much kale and snap peas. The tomatoes are just starting to fruit. This is the most exciting part of having a garden.

Tomato Flower
Tomato Flower

Unripened Tomatoes
Unripe Tomatoes

Eat More Kale!