Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year

New Year's Eve- the last day of 2013. Where did this year go? This year has been marked with so many tragedies and few triumphs. We look into 2014 with uncertainty, but hope. I think everyone looks to the new year thinking of things they would like to do differently, things they want to leave behind and change.

 In 2014 I can think of some things I plan to do-

1. Eat Better!

Despite the fact that I have been living a vegan lifestyle, I have certainly indulged in a lot of vegan junk food. I want to change that in 2014 and eat more plant-based foods. I have subscribed to Vegetarian Times and plan to spend even more time in the kitchen in 2014.

2.  Live Better!

Last night at church the pastor spoke about optimism and pessimism and I thought I am a true pessimist. This year I want to let positivity in. Look at the glass half full instead of half empty.

3. Be Better!

Exercise is something I have always hated. This year I would like to engage in it periodically, not just for the dream body but for relaxation and the calmness that comes after a good workout.

What will you do better in 2014?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thanksgiving Redo-Anticipating Christmas

Oh Where, Oh Where has the time/year gone?
Wow! December 17, I can hardly believe it. Just a few weeks ago I was spending most of my time reading recipes trying to decide what to prepare for "Thanksgiving." I do say Thanksgiving with a bit of a smirk, because here in The Bahamas where this is not a holiday, Thanksgiving seems to be only about the FOOD. I finally found the recipes I wanted to try but wait.... Angela from Oh She Glows decided to post a step-by-step Thanksgiving meal. VOILA! Problem solved. Lentil Walnut Meatballs, Maple-Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes, Kale Salad and Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whipped Topping. This meal was absolutely delicious and a triumph for me. Not only did I make my own cranberry sauce but I also made the coconut whipped topping from coconut cream. The best thing of all was that my mother who hardly ever likes "that strange food" actually ate and (sort of) enjoyed her meal.

Christmas is fast approaching and I have big plans for our family potluck. Normally my family steers clear of anything that appears healthy/vegan. I plan to recreate the Lentil Walnut Meatballs with cranberry sauce (Why do people eat that stuff in the can?) and add a great vegan dessert. I just have to search for the recipe!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Review-The Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn

I am not usually a fan of mystery/suspense books, my heart cannot deal with the excitement. But I loved this book. From the first paragraph I was hooked, there was no back story or long explanation of who, what or why. I must say the author did a great job of explaining the who, what and why as the book moved along. I was never confused- and there were a lot of characters.

The story follows a former agent who is sent to Switzerland to find out where a shipment of potentially dangerous weapons is headed. The author shows what happens as they track the shipment and what is "really" going on. My favorite aspect of the book is all the characters you meet. My favorite was Farsi, the guide who helped throughout the story and Sir Geoffrey. The book subtly weaved in the Christian theme of seeking God's will and what to do when faced with tough decisions. This book reminded me of the Jack Hawthorne Series. If you like those, you will love this book.

A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.

Getting Up after Failure!

It felt as if I had waited forever, but it was finally here! Isa Does It - the latest cookbook by Isa Chandra, author of Vegan with a Vengeance and Veganimicon. I read that cookbook like it was a novel and decided to christen it by trying the Marbled Banana Bread. EPIC FAIL- did not rise, gummy and flavor was just off. Was it me or something else? Thank God my chickpea cutlets from Veganimicon with onion gravy was a hit. Yet, the next day when I tried to recreate my success- FAIL! The cutlets were stringy and awful.

My questions is how do you brush off these failures and keep on going? How do you get back in the kitchen after failing spectacularly, wasting ingredients, time and money? In times like these you need a WIN- a dish that motivates and inspires.

Well , I dusted the flour and egg replacer off my face and tried again. Spinach and Black Bean Bowls with Quinoa and Guacamole. This was actually the first time I had eaten quinoa and was a bit skeptical but pleasantly surprised. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. I felt so virtuous after eating this that there was no way I could eat dessert. So tonight, cheddar broccoli soup with French bread, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review-Return to Me Restoration Series by Lynn Austin

I love to cook and I love to read. Sometimes I do both with not so good results! I recently read Return to Me by Lynn Austin. I absolutely loved this book. I sometimes can take issue with Biblical fiction as they may not be totally accurate, but I guess I did not know enough about Zechariah and his family to get upset. This book began with Zechariah's grandfather, Iddo and family living in Babylon. Some of the Jews were hoping to return to Jerusalem one day, others had settled down and were pleased with life. I had never realized or thought about the fact that the Jews were slaves in Babylon but this book highlights that fact. Iddo has been waiting to return to Jerusalem and has to convince his family when the time comes to return. Ultimately only his wife and Zechariah return with him. The book tells of their difficulties in rebuilding the temple. They stop for many years and exciting events cause them to begin again. My absolute favorite part of the book was when Zechariah realized that he too was a prophet!!  Read this book! I cannot wait for the next book in this series.

A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.

Vegan Cooking on a Budget

Vegan cooking can be very expensive here in The Bahamas. Too many times I have gone to my neighborhood Fresh Market, picked up items for a week of cooking and gasped with horror at the register. I have quickly realized that planning and cooking from scratch is the best way to reduce the heart palpitations I feel at the register.

The all time cheapest food-BEANS! I am sure that every vegan already knows this. Beans are low-fat, nutritious and filled with protein. Yet, how do you prepare these beans to thrill and please your family? Also how do you keep yourself from getting bored with beans? I know sometimes I want to scream at the thought of beans, again- but, different techniques and flavors can help to mix things up.



There are many different types of lentils but here I usually find green, yellow and red lentils. I use red lentils to bulk up soups, stews and curries. They also add a creaminess to dishes.
This week I am using green lentils or green split peas as they are also known to make burgers. I was blessed with a recipe from Tesha Fritz during a cooking class at Delancey Towne Health and Wellness Restaurant. Instead of making a meatloaf or "fingers" as she suggested, I formed the mix into patties and baked. Soak the lentils for about 24 hours. Pulse in a food processor with your favorite herbs and seasonings. Add a binder like oats or flour and form into patties. A lot cheaper that veggie burgers and very tasty!

Black Beans

I love the flavor of black beans. I soaked a pound of them and cooked in the slow cooker for about five hours. This can then be used in chili, soups or simmered with onions, carrots, bell peppers, cumin, salt, pepper, coconut milk and served over rice. YUM!


I am not a big fan of chickpeas but they can be versatile. This week I am preparing a Buddha Bowl recipe from the Oh She Glows blog. Recipe Roasted chickpeas are so flavorful-those I like.

Eating vegan may not be as cheap as five pounds of chicken wings but it can be made less expensive by cooking from scratch and planning.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin Bounty!

I was recently blessed with a beautiful pumpkin from my grand-uncle's garden- thanks mommy!
Visions of pumpkin soup, cookies and cake danced in my head. I finally decided on Pumpkin Lentil Curry Soup and searched online for a recipe. Sadly, I realized I did not have everything I needed to follow that recipe so I just decided to wing it. Sautéed some onions, thyme, salt and pepper and pumpkin, added some broth and red lentils. I let that come to a boil, then simmer until the pumpkin was tender and the lentil were soft. I pureed more than half of the soup in the blender, then added a half can of coconut milk. Delicious!

I served this with some Naan bread (my own totally unlike the traditional version).

I had half the pumpkin left and thought---- dessert!! I just loaded a copy of Veganomicon and decided to try the Pumpkin Crumb Cake topped with a Pecan Streusel. I cooked the pumpkin in my slow cooker and by the time I arrived home the pumpkin was a deep orange color and looked like it had been roasted. The cake was moist, delicious and pumpkiny (Is that a word?).

The pumpkin bounty continues. I just got a pumpkin delivered from Chiccarney Farms. What will I do with this one?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Motivation in a Book

Perhaps you need an extra kick in the pants. These books may help!

Diet for a New America

Diary of a Dieting Mad House

I read this book this week because it was $1.99 on my Kindle. I love books about food and though it is not vegan it is great for people who just like to dice an onion for fun.

The School of Essential Ingredients

Happy Reading!!!

What is the best motivation for going and staying vegan?

What  is your motivation?

As a person who has fallen off the vegan wagon too many times to count- I wonder what is the best motivation for sticking with it?

Motivation A-The animals

We have all heard the horror stories (or even worse seen videos) of how livestock are treated. The book Diet for a New America certainly made me never want to see or smell, much less taste meat. The stories of cows with mastitis were enough to turn me off milk for a while (especially since I experienced mastitis-OUCH!). But is it enough? Will you remember the suffering of animals when someone offers ice cream?

Motivation B-Health

Everyone has heard of The China Study and we know that vegetarians are healthier than the average carnivore. Is this enough? Knowing that your arteries are free of cholesterol and other gunk?

Motivation C- Spirituality

I have heard a lot about this lately. "Our body is God's temple, would he want you to eat meat? Some people attach vegetarianism and veganism to their religion. Perhaps it's easier to stay on the straight and narrow if you know that God is watching.

What's your motivation?

I am hoping that this time I will be able to stay committed so that the animals, my planet and my body will be happier and healthier.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Quick Evening Meal

Last night, I wanted a quick easy meal. I could not spend lots of time on my feet in the kitchen and I knew that I would be spending a lot of time in the kitchen today preparing for Sabbath. I had purchased some seitan (wheat meat) to create a meal (Stroganoff) from my favorite cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance. Well, I am tired of pasta and like I said this needed to be quick. So spent about thirty minutes peeling and boiling sweet potatoes, sautéing spinach and basically reheating the seitan. This meal paid off! The highlight of the meal though was the seitan. This was the first time I actually had this and I would definitely have it again. I tried Sweet Earth Chipotle Style Seitan, which I purchased for $7.99 from BFLO. It was spicy with just the right amount of sauce. I liked everything about it except the price! This was only enough for one meal so it is a splurge item for me, but we pay for convenience, right???

The finished product!!!