Peanut butter jelly time. No, I mean VeganMoFo survey time. With a baseball bat.
1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I am a Silk Dark Chocolate PureAlmond Milk proselytizer. Spreading the gospel far and wide. I yell at my kid over this milk. He likes it better than cow's milk, too, and since he's the carnivore of the house, I'm happy about that. I have to encourage him bit by bit. He kind of hogs it though so I'm always hollering at him to get a glass of water. The best thing about this stuff is when you put it in cookies, muffins or pancakes. MAGICAL!
I also like the PureAlmond regular stuff for other things (coffee, cooking).
2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Well, I already made seitan, and that was my thing that I was most frightened and intimidated by. Of course, now that I have it made, I have to figure out dishes to actually make with it.
I want to make chocolate pudding with tofu. (Anybody have any good tips there?)
I don't know exactly what I'm going to make yet, but you know, Thanksgiving? What am I going to do about that? I don't have a plan yet, but that's probably going to be the biggest deal to me this month. Thanksgiving turkey has derailed my vegetarianism twice in this lifetime. I don't want to let it happen again now that I'm even further on this journey.
3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Just salt, usually. Sometimes Sweet Mesquite Seasoning from Costco. This stuff is also incredible on fried potatoes.
4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Buckwheat waffles. Me and buckwheat don't get along too well. My mom used to make buckwheat pancakes and I loved them and they were always perfect. She must have known some tricks or that flour must have been mixed with some other, better behaving flour. I had to turn the waffle iron off before I started a fire. They stuck so bad to the non-stick surface. Prying them out of there was a mess.
5. Favorite pickled item
Onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. Together. A beautiful ménage à trois! Or just red onions if I have to pick a solo item.
Oh, wait. Scratch all that. Okra. Pickled okra, especially the spicy kind, is just divine.
6. How do you organize your recipes?
I have cookbooks on a shelf in the pantry. I have a ginormous 3 ring binder with those little transparent sleeves. So I do kill some trees printing recipes from the Internet. I like the sleeves because I'm a very messy cook and it keeps the recipes clean. I take whatever sleeved recipe I want to work on out of the binder and hang it on one of two clothespins I have hanging in the kitchen. One is near the stove / counter and the other is near the toaster oven / mixer / counter. One is pretty much the dinner area and the other is the baking area.
I take the papers out of the sleeves to make notes on recipe changes, comment on how much people loved or hated it, etc. Often I print recipes out that are not vegetarian or vegan and change them. Or since we have food allergies in the house (coconut, egg, corn) I make a lot of changes to recipes and use ingredients that are safe for us.
7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
We have a few ways of dealing with this. If I'm building a new garden bed or feeding a pot, we'll put food in lasagna layers in those areas. We have a giant pile that we throw things into in the way back and then I have a big worm bin. This is a topic for another post, but I'm concerned about the worm situation. I mean, is this not a very vegan thing to do kind of like bees, or ? I don't kill them and their numbers are always increasing. I don't let them die over the winter. The bin is outside but it's insulated and covered and they've survived down to 19 degrees and up to 107. Still, it's something to consider along my journey...
Even when there's food that isn't really worm suitable, there are ferals, possums, foxes and raccoons around here so we just put it outside. We live on half an acre in a weird little area that is part farm, part forest yet right on the edge of the loop that is considered the "urban" part of Fort Worth.
8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
Peanut or Almond butter, freshly baked (since we're not worried about cooking methods) bread and chocolate covered strawberries.
9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Food and I have a pretty unstable relationship going way back. It was always feast or famine. I remember we were basically squatting in a house out in the country when I was a kid. No electricity or running water (just a pump outside and a creek out back) and there was this mulberry tree down the road. We would go and pick them and just eat them right off the tree. They were so sweet and delicious and it was fun to find this food that was just free for anybody to come along and eat.
The first time I had Ranch dressing was pretty special, too. Though it wasn't nearly as special as the free food tree. I grew up on a lot of meat and boxed or canned stuff, everything in bags from the grocery store, so being that close to the source of something was rather remarkable.
10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
I don't have a favorite. I haven't really tried any yet. My son has because he has a corn and egg allergy. Most dairy ice creams have one or both of those in them so he's tried the rice milk and soy kinds, sorbets, etc. And he loves all of them. I guess it's not something I really miss that much. I think I will probably just get soy yogurt and whir it up with frozen fruit to make myself a creamy dessert if I'm craving it.
11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
That is hard. The toaster oven gets a lot of use around here. Especially in the summer. The house is small, less than 1,000 square feet, and old, so the big oven really negates the hard work of the aging air conditioner. I don't like to do that. When we're in the bajillion-consecutive-days-over-100-degrees phase of the summer, the toaster oven is just a miracle. It's convection, too, so we don't have to use it that long.
The stand mixer, though. Wow. That thing is also kind of a miracle, too. It makes baking so easy. I suffered a very severe arm injury a few years ago so kneading bread or holding the hand mixer is really tiring and difficult. The pizza dough that comes out of that thing is delightful.
I can't choose between the two. I just can't. You can't make me!
12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Besides salt and black pepper? I mean, what would I do without black pepper?
Basil for sure. It's so good with everything pasta, you can make pesto out of it. Roma tomatoes were born to be with it. The smell is so lovely. It actually grows for me...
13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I guess the little cookbook that came with my first Crock Pot. Not much I can make out of that any more. It's pretty heavily meat leaning.
14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Plain old grape.
15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Spaghetti unfortunately. I'm too new at this to have a WOW vegan spread to impress with yet.
16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu, but only because I'm new to seitan and haven't worked with tempeh at all.
17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Burritos or tacos. I like how this meal feels to cook and since it's the favorite meal of everyone I live with, it's always a positive and reinforcing experience. It's received well. Everyone buzzes in and out of the kitchen or helps with different tasks. When we're eating there is a lot of Mmmmmmmm or just that happy silence that indicates consistently full mouths. I like the little details of it. The slicing and the dicing. Things at which I am competent. Avocados. Cilantro. Lime wedges. Marie Sharp's Habanero Sauce. Occasionally homemade tortillas. Always warm tortillas. Pretty little strings of cabbage. Homemade salsa with ancho chile powder and ground coriander. Tender, spicy rice. Flavorful beans. Beer or Mexican coke. You cannot fail at burritos or tacos.
18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Mixing bowls, some cleaners, the food processor, a bunch of junk, a lot of dust. I need to clean it off so that I can store more appliancey things up there. I'm running out of room!
19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Frozen tropical fruit from Costco, edamame, and an industrial sized bag of walnuts.
20. What’s on your grocery list?
I just went shopping, so not much, but there were some things I didn't find at H-E-B (or couldn't bring myself to buy because it was too expensive. Need to shop around...)
- Something to sprout (maybe chia seeds?)
- Soy Yogurt (haven't tried)
- Vegan Cream Cheese (haven't tried)
- Vegenaise (almost out)
- Vegan Sour Cream (haven't tried)
- Some sort of vegetable stock base / powder (looking for some w/o MSG or partial hydrogenation)
- Brown Rice
- Wild Rice
- Celery (haven't had any around since the last recall / listeriosis thing)
- Non-Hydrogenated Shortening (Whole Foods maybe, need to take back deodorant anyway)
- Annatto seeds (need to go to Fiesta for that)
- Earth Balance Spread (screwed up and bought Smart Balance, just saw it has whey in it)
- More Almond Milk (always can use more of that!)
21. Favorite grocery store?
H-E-B or its fancier offshoot, Central Market. Both are like going on field trips.
22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
Lasagna. And I'm getting ideas. Ryann of My Whole Deal has promised an entry today, so I'm excited! I mean, my pre-vegan lasagna recipe calls for 2 eggs, a pound of ricotta, 4 cups of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. My post-allergic child did at least eliminate the eggs from that recipe. But my pre-vegetarian recipe called for 1/2 pound of ground pork and 1/2 pound of ground beef on top of even all that stuff. Yikes.
That's a challenge, methinks.
23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
I like to read anybody who is struggling to become vegan or who is new to it like I am. I don't feel so alone that way.
Right now that's: OMGosh I'm Vegan and The Ordinary Vegetarian.
Reading super hard core veteran vegan blogs is quite inspiring. For a while. Then it gets to a point where it is intimidating and I feel a bit deflated about all the myriad ways I'm screwing up. I have to take a step back then and come down to earth. I have to go to a place where quinoa or kamut isn't the daily grain of choice or someone isn't saying something like "Since I've gone completely raw, I decided to donate my stove to charity."
There's a fine line for me, I guess, between seeing a dish and thinking, "Wow, maybe I could attempt that one day," or thinking, "OH MY GOD. Are you kidding? I might as well give this up because I will never ever get myself that far and I am a failure and every animal in the world should just come stomp on my head and put me out of my misery before I cause any more suffering to the world."
Well, okay, not quite that bad. Because it is easy to pull myself out of it and remember that every little bit counts. And the effort I'm making is important. And thank God someone is out there making even more effort than me because a rising tide lifts all boats. And I need all the lifting I can get.
24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Lemonheads have always been a favorite of mine. I also have always preferred dark chocolate and many kinds are vegan. Endangered Species, Green and Blacks, Newman's Own Organic, etc. are all faves.
25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
A case of vital wheat gluten from Amazon.com.
Thanks to Andrew the VegMuffinMan for leading the way here...