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Vegan Shu Mai (Dumplings)

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I used to go to these Thai buffets and they would always have these dumplings that were open on top, not like pot stickers. The filling was always a little more dense and I liked that texture. I realize now that a lot of that texture was either shrimp or pork. I've made pot stickers before, but it's a little intense. I have an overstuffing problem that leads to a folding issue that contributes to my sealing deficiency.

Vegan Lentil and Red Quinoa Tacos

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I was pretty much winging it with these tacos. I am finding that lentils and red quinoa together act a lot like ground beef in terms of cooking and texture. I just threw a cup of lentils together with 1/2 cup of the quinoa and cooked for about 20 minutes. I didn't pay attention to the water level like I usually would because I knew I'd be draining it. When it was done, I drained it and set it aside. In a skillet, I sauteed some onions, peppers and tomatoes in a little bit of tomato sauce (about 1/4 cup), some vegetable broth (about 1/4 cup) and some taco spices (cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ancho chili powder). Then I added the lentils and quinoa and cooked it until it was the consistency I wanted. I heated some corn tortillas in a dry skillet and used the filling along with some shredded lettuce, avocados in lime juice, and cilantro. I used brown lentils in this, but I think next time I might try it with the black lentils which I think

I Came for the Health Benefits but I'm Staying for the Animals

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Something has happened to me recently, but first, let me talk a little about how I arrived at this point. For most of my 43 years on this planet, I've been a vegetarian. When I was 14 years old, living with a foster family who owned a cattle farm, something clicked in me and I decided that I'd had enough of eating animals. But it wasn't easy. There wasn't a Whole Foods on every corner. Grocery stores in my little country town did not sell almond milk and tofu. The vegetables I'd been exposed to were peas, potatoes and corn and not much else up to that point. I didn't know how to cook anything and I didn't have my own money to even buy my own food. Luckily, that farmer's wife helped me sign up for a subscription to Vegetarian Times and was very supportive of what I wanted to do. It could have gone another way, for sure. So, for years, I did it for the animals. I didn't have graphic videos of male chicks being ground and suffocated. I

Cheap Alternative to Maple Syrup

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One of my favorite vegan cookies has maple syrup as one of the ingredients. I love the stuff but it can get expensive ($14 at Costco is a deal, but still) when you use it a lot or want to make a big batch of cookies. The aforementioned cookie recipe calls for 1/3 cup of it for just 8-10 cookies. I decided to see if I could just make a syrup myself and it worked out great! Brown Sugar Syrup You'll need: 1 1/2 cups water 2 cups packed organic / vegan brown sugar Optional: 1/2 teaspoon flavoring (maple extract, vanilla, whatever floats your boat) What you do: Mix sugar and water together and bring to a boil. Gently boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, add flavoring if desired. Store in fridge. The first time I boiled the mix for 3 minutes and the cookies came out super crisp and had a toffee flavor. The syrup was just too thick and condensed. The coookies weren't bad, but I really like a softer cookie. This weekend, I boiled

Meatless Monday

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If you're a complete and total newbie when it comes to vegan food and you're thinking about making the transition but you're not quite ready yet or you just don't want to go whole hog (or "whole tofu" as we say in the veg world), then why not give Meatless Mondays a try? Not everyone is ready to make the leap in one day from meat at every meal to zero animal products whatsoever. That's okay. Use this one day a week to give it a test drive. Once you've got a month of Meatless Mondays under your belt, try adding another day per week. Maybe Veggie Taco Tuesdays or Spaghetti Saturdays? It's up to you. Try to focus on the progress you're making toward a completely plant-based diet and not worry about every single day being perfect. If you really can't let go of that struggle for perfection, then make the same meal every Meatless Monday, but work on changing it each week until it's just the way you like it. Then start perfecting anot