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!!!