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Ski road trip time!
In this post, let’s talk about what vegan skiers can do to eat a quick, healthy breakfast without leaving the hotel room.
We just spent a long weekend at Big White Ski Resort. Thanks to my Visa Rewards, we stayed for free in the White Crystal Inn.
When we arrived on Thursday March 14th, our view looked liked this:
Sunday March 17th we woke up to this:
Our “standard” room had no kitchen, but it did have a coffee maker, mini fridge, microwave, and toaster.
For our trip, I packed a couple bins full of the essentials, including a small cutting board and knife.
We brought a cooler to transport our green leafies, celery, apples, non-dairy milk, nut butter and jam. I brought our Vitamix blender so we could make green smoothies right in the room.
Large “beer cups” are handy for smoothies in the morning and apres ski beverages in the evening.
I brought our toaster, not realizing that the room already had one.
Eric likes to have toast with his breakfast smoothie.
I could have brought some oats to make oatmeal in the microwave,
but this time I opted for cold cereal with walnuts, raisins and non-dairy milk.
Segmented grapefruit is easy to prepare in the room.
I brought my grapefruit knife, some travel bowls and a set of utensils.
Time to get some untracked powder…
Mates, I think I’ve discovered a secret to really good vegan cheese. My hunch is yet untested, but I think I’m onto something BIG! Let me explain…
I bought some Marmite today. I’d never tried it before, so I said “What the heck!” and grabbed a jar while shopping at my local food Co-op.
Ingredients: Yeast Extract, Salt, Carrot & Onion Extract, Spice Extracts, enriched with B Vitamins – Niacin (B3), Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), and Cyanocobalamin (B12).
Before trying Marmite for the first time, the only thing I knew about it is that it’s very salty. Just like umeboshi paste…a little goes a long way. The jar states “Delicious when spread thinly on toast or for a treat try Marmite on a crispbread with cottage cheese.”
I put some on a piece of toast. Hmm…Salty, yes. It’s hard to describe, but I would use the words salty, smoky, and bitter. It was okaaay…not repulsive (the Marmite website says you’re either a lover or a hater), but I felt it just needed something else in order to satisfy me. (I think it could grow on me, though…)
Of course, I didn’t have cottage cheese in my fridge, but I did have some vegan cheese. Last week I made homemade vegan Muenster cheese, from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook (page 164), by Jo Stepaniak.
Marmite + Vegan Muenster on toast = Ding, ding, ding! (Wedding bells!)
Marmite by itself..it’s okay.
Vegan Muenster by itself…it’s quite good.
Marmite and Muenster…better together!
The Marmite gave the Muenster that little somethin’ somethin.’ It amped up the flavor; it gave it depth and richness.
That little “somethin’ somethin” has a name: Umami. It’s that little-known fifth taste sense. It’s not just salty. It’s not just bitter. It’s savory but obscure. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it when you taste it. Ooo-mommy!
Apparently, it’s the glutamic acid in the Marmite that imparts the umami sense. Glutamic acid is associated with fermented or aged foods of plant and animal origin…aged meats, fish, soy sauce, certain vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes & others), and aged cheeses.
So here’s what I’ve concluded:
Animal-based cheeses have a distinct sharpness of flavor. It can be difficult to find this robust flavor burst in a plant-based cheese. (Difficult, but not impossible!)
So, if glutamic acids contribute greatly to the pungent taste AND if Marmite adds that umami quality, then it only makes logical sense to add a little bit of Marmite to vegan cheese recipes.
I’m going to try that.
So…Whereas, the recipe for Muenster Uncheese calls for:
Paprika, water, agar flakes, tofu, cashews or Brazil nuts, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, tahini, onion powder, salt, dry mustard, garlic powder, and ground caraway or coriander
…I’m thinking it would be wise to add a drib or a drab of Marmite, too. Just a wee. What do you think?
(Paprika makes Muenster Uncheese pretty and smoky)
(For more on using umami in the vegan cooking arsenal, read this blog article by Ginny Messina, the Vegan R.D.)
Milk a bean, milk a grain, milk a nut, milk a seed, milk a drupe (yes, a drupe!), but please don’t milk an animal. When people consume milk from lactating animals, the first thing you should ponder is what is baby cow– baby goat– baby sheep– drinking? What happens to the baby animals? What happens to momma cow– momma goat– momma sheep when her overworked reproductive system stops being “profitable”? The bad news is that the answers aren’t pretty.
The good news is that non-dairy milk options are plentiful. It’s easier than you might think to wean off animal milk. There is no nutritional need for animal milk in the human diet!
Go to the non-dairy milk section of your local store and you’ll notice an ever-increasing array of plant milks: Soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, coconut milk..even flax milk! There are different brands of each type of milk. There are different varieties within the types of plant milks..like plain, vanilla, chocolate, unsweetened, fortified. If you don’t like one, try another. Find your favorite!
Holiday flavors (YUM!) – Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Peppermint, Nog
Make your “own” milk: it’s easy to do and you needn’t endure a long pregnancy and painful delivery. It’s also less expensive than packaged milk and more eco-friendly. Personally, I don’t like the aftertaste of packaged almond milks but I love homemade almond milk. I encourage you to make your own nut and rice milks. Here’s how I do it…
First, make sure you have a batch of cooked short grain brown rice on hand. I make up a batch and freeze portions in 1/2 cup glass jam jars. One cup (dried) rice will make enough for 7 batches of milk.
You must use short grain rice! You don’t want your milk to have a gritty sediment, do you? What’s the difference between long and short grains? The answer is in the percentage of the starches amylose and amylopectin. (I first learned about them from chef Alton Brown…thanks, A.B.!)
Long grain rice has a higher percentage of amylose. Amylose makes the rice cook up dry, firm and separate. Amylose is insoluble in water. Rice milk made from long grains has more of a “gritty” sediment. The resulting milk is more watery, less creamy = not good!
Short grain rice has a higher percentage of amylopectin. It releases starch when cooking, resulting in a moist, soft and sticky grain. The resulting milk will be creamy without a gritty sediment = good!
On to the nuts…pick your favorite raw nut. I like to use Brazil nuts, but sometimes I mix it up and use cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts.
Nut Rice Milk (my own creation):
Soak 1/3 cup raw nuts and 2 pitted dates into 4 cups water for 4-8 hours. Blend the water, nuts and dates with 1/2 cup cooked short grain rice and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a VitaMix blender or other “sporty” blender. (I don’t know if it would work with a wimpy blender!) Frothy, healthy, affordable and delicious! I don’t strain my milk. I simply shake, then pour.
My personal favorite is mixing my homemade nut rice milk with packaged soy milk in a 50-50 ratio. That’s just me! You do what you gotta do…as long as you leave the animals alone!
Go Vegan Tip #1
JUMP in! At some point you’ve just got to GO for it. Going vegan is not something you do half way. You might be a little afraid, but there is nothing to fear. Once you do it, you’ll see that it was much easier than you thought. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll be wondering what took you so long!
I know it’s basic, but it’s true: Attitude IS everything. So jump into veganism with your whole being. Smile. This is not a diet – it is a beautiful way of living and the best way to honor the LIFE in all living beings.
Veganism puts your innermost values of compassion and fairness into action. Congratulations for making a profoundly positive decision. Get excited! Seek support. Have fun trying new things. Enjoy the positive changes. Learn all you can. Negativity is OUT.
If you look for abundance you will find it. If you look for deprivation you will find it. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.
Now that wasn’t too difficult, was it?
(Pictures taken 1/31/10 at Mission Ridge)