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This is a quick vegan lasagna I whipped up tonight. My goals were:
- to use up some lasagna noodles I’ve had in my pantry for a long time.
- to use fewer noodles, to substitute vegetables (zucchini and cauliflower) for some noodles.
- to use a packet of Road’s End Organics Cheddar Style Gluten Free Chreese Sauce Mix that I had in the pantry.
6 Lasagna noodles: Cook them partially and set aside
1 Zucchini, sliced lengthwise in 1/4″ strips
Cauliflower, sliced in 1/4″ strips
Make 1 packet Road’s End Organics Cheddar Style GF Chreese Sauce Mix
OR use some Daiya Cheddar Style or Mozzarella Style Shreds
OR make some vegan cheese sauce from a homemade dry mix (i.e. recipes in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, by Jo Stepaniak)
1- 26 oz jar pasta sauce
1 C Italian Mushroom Saute
Italian seasoning blend
Crushed red pepper flakes
Use a square glass pan. Spoon some pasta sauce on the bottom. Add 2 noodles. Spread vegan cheese sauce (or shreds) over the noodles.
Set some zucchini slices, cauliflower slices and artichoke hearts on top of the cheese. Spoon some Italian Mushroom Saute and pasta sauce over the vegetables.
Repeat the layering process 3 times. Spread the remaining pasta sauce on top, then sprinkle with Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes.
Line the bottom of the oven with a piece of foil to catch any bubbly overflow.
Bake at 375 degrees, covered for 35 minutes. Continue baking uncovered for 25 minutes, to evaporate excess moisture. Turn off the oven, crack open the door and let it rest in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.
Thank YOU– for making your lasagna without meat and dairy.
Have you ever been to a typical North American “ski-in, ski-out” village? Vegan-friendly dining isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
If you look around the village at Big White (and elsewhere), it’s obvious that every restaurant serves up meat, meat, and more meat. It’s exasperating and depressing.
“Vegetarian” doesn’t necessarily mean “veganizable.” It’s typically code for cheese, cheese and more cheese.
Vegan skiers, don’t despair. You can have a perfectly powder-licious ski experience and find some great vegan grub at the same time. All it takes is a little sleuthing.
Here’s the on-mountain restaurant listing for Big White.
Our trip to Big White was short (3 days). If we stayed longer, there are other places we would also try. Next time!
Check out where we did eat (and drink!)…
BEANO’S COFFEE PARLOUR
LOTUS LOUNGE – THAI CUISINE
(Don’t forget to request “no fish sauce” when dining at Thai restaurants.
Expect the food to be spicy, so speak up if you want the heat turned down.)
Vegetable Thai Spring Rolls:
Mixed Vegetables in a vermicelli wrap, fried golden, served with sweet and sour plum and tamarind sauce.
Thai Yellow Curry:
Thai yellow curry in coconut milk with potato, onion, carrots and pineapple
Black Bean Tofu:
Tofu with bean sprouts, garlic and fresh chilies in a black bean sauce
SANTÉ BAR – APRÈS-SKI
Muddled cucumber, lime, black pepper, gin and soda
I (unintentionally) had a green drink theme going on for St Patrick’s Day weekend.
The steamed edamame was green, too. And it was addicting!
Veggie Pizza, no cheese (substitute extra sauce and another topping for the cheese)
For tips on eating vegan breakfast in your hotel room, see the previous post, “Ski Breakfast & Morning Powder.”
I’d like you to meet my buddy, Opie. Opie is a wether (castrated ram) who lives at New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary.
When I volunteer at the rescue on Fridays, Opie is usually eager to rub his head against my thigh for as long as I’ll let him. This is okay when I wear pants, but in the summer I have to tell him no. His wool is just too abrasive against bare legs!
Like the ocean– I’ve learned to “never turn my back” on Opie. If I do, he’ll run up and try to butt me in the rear. If I do turn my back– and then see him running toward me– all I have to do is turn around and put my hand out. He stops right in his tracks! Opie could do some damage to me if he wanted, but the truth is, he’s just a lover. Enjoy these pictures of my fluffy friend.
Opie is safe, but too many of his brothers and sisters are not. Here are some ways that you can help:
- Don’t eat sheep (lamb, mutton).
- Don’t eat cheese made from sheep’s milk.
- Don’t buy items made from wool. Learn more about the wool industry.
- Don’t buy personal care products that contain lanolin. Don’t buy products tested on animals.
- Learn about vegan sources of Vitamin D (that don’t contain lanolin). Buy Vitashine Vegan Vitamin D3 or Global Health Trax Plant Based Vitamin D3.
- Go VEGAN.
This restaurant in Stanwood needs a LOT of help in the “veganizing” department. (Check the online menu to see for yourself )
However– I dine here from time to time with my non-vegan family. Fortunately my husband and I always end up satisfied with our vegan meal.
We order the large vegetarian pizza. We prefer to substitute spinach for the mushrooms and we ask for artichokes instead of the cheese. Our colorful pizza always elicits comments, such as…
“THAT LOOKS GOOD!”
Yes, it does. It tastes good, too! We never take leftovers home.
Despite eating half of the pizza…
…without that huge brick of cheese and meat in the belly, I always leave the restaurant feeling satisfied but still light and energenic!
Why don’t YOU try a vegan pizza today?
Without question, my all-time favorite childhood meal was my mom’s manicotti. It was one of my first meals: my mom pureed it and fed it to me when I was a baby. I grew up a typical omnivore. I loved cheese!
Unfortunately, the manicotti from my childhood features not much more than sauce and noodles with cheese (cottage), cheese (mozzarella) and more cheese (parmesan). It also has egg in it. Not vegan!
After I went vegan, I set out to veganize my mom’s manicotti. I think I did a pretty great job! This recipe is my own except please note that the Powdered Cheez Blend is not my recipe (I forgot where I got it from).
Saute in 1-2 T OLIVE or COCONUT OIL:
4 chopped SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
about 1/4 of an ONION, chopped
several cloves GARLIC, minced
about 1/3 of a bunch of SPINACH, chopped
4 SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, chopped (oil-packed or dried & re-hydrated)
2 T ITALIAN SEASONING blend
1 T DRIED PARSLEY
1/2 t FENNEL SEEDS
1/4 t CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES
Remove from heat then add 1/2 T BALSAMIC VINEGAR and set aside.
With a fork, crumble 1/2 a block (7 oz) of drained FIRM TOFU.
Heat 1/4 C of POWDERED CHEEZ BLEND (see recipe below) in 1/2 C water in a small saucepan until it thickens, then remove from the heat. Combine the tofu & this cheez sauce.
Set aside about 1/2 a package of DAIYA MOZZARELLA STYLE SHREDS.
In a large bowl, combine the sauteed veggies, the tofu/cheez sauce blend, and the Daiya.
Stuff filling into 1 pkg MANICOTTI NOODLES and add stuffed noodles to a 9”x13” pan.
To ‘clean’ the bowl that had the filling mixture in it, add the sauce ingredients: 1-25.5 oz JAR SPAGHETTI SAUCE, 1-14.5 OZ CAN DICED TOMATOES, and 1/4 cup water. Add sauce over the noodles.
Bake covered at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, then 5-10 minutes uncovered. Wait 10 minutes before eating (that’s the hard part!)
POWDERED CHEEZ BLEND
Process the following in a food processor until finely ground:
3/4 C raw cashews or almonds
1/2 C rolled oats
1/4 C raw sunflower seeds
1 C nutritional yeast flakes
2 T arrowroot
2 t dry mustard
1-2 t garlic powder (I use the lesser amount of garlic & onion, and I use less salt, too)
1-2 t onion powder
2 t sea salt
1 t paprika or chili powder
Store in fridge for up to 2 months. To prepare sauce, whisk 1 part blend to 2 parts water or non-dairy milk in a saucepan, medium heat until it thickens, 2-3 minutes.
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.)
Monday, May 14, 2012
Today I was rollerblading on a paved trail near my house. The side of the path had been freshly mowed. There, I saw about 5 dead baby possums who must have been killed by the mower. There was no blood, and the bodies were intact. I think they were crushed.
Seeing them made me think about all the animals killed during the production of food crops: field mice, moles, rabbits and others, who unknowingly get in the way of the farm machinery.
Some people like to use the fact that “animals die in the harvesting of plants” as an argument to discredit a vegan’s decision to leave animals off her plate. I respond: Should I go back to eating animals because I can’t help the small mammals who meet their untimely deaths out in the farm fields?
If I can’t help it that a bird got killed by my car while driving, does it mean that I should go back to eating chickens? No. I don’t want to kill either bird: not a sparrow by accident or a chicken on purpose. I want to cause as little harm as humanly possible.
Animals who are killed for food don’t just magically grow big and plump without eating. Animals who are intentionally killed are fed plants first. The two main “animal feed” crops in animal agriculture are corn and soybeans. A high percentage are genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Animals eat plants and then people eat the animals. More animal death is caused by eating animals than by simply eating plants directly. Eat organic, non-GMO plants whenever possible.
What about “grass-fed” animals, you ask? The fact is, grass-fed livestock are rarely 100% grass-fed. Pastured livestock are raised on grassy pastures, but their diet is supplemented with grains, especially in colder climates. Pastured cows, bison, pigs, turkeys and chickens are typically at least partially grain-fed even when they’re called “free-range,” “organic,” “heirloom,” and “heritage.”
In addition, numerous animals– wild horses, badgers, black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, wolves, opossum, raccoons, skunks, beavers, nutrias, porcupines, prairie dogs, black birds, cattle egrets, and starlings– are killed for the purpose of “protecting” ranchers’ interests (i.e. their livestock, their livelihood.)
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS) has been tasked to “help people resolve wildlife damage to a wide variety of resources.” (In this case, “resources” means cattle. The cattle are physically protected up until the time they are slaughtered.) Wildlife Services (WS) uses the following methods of “resolution”: poisoning, trapping, snaring, denning (denning = pouring kerosene into a den, setting fire to it, and burning young animals alive), shooting, and aerial gunning.
Back to my point.
Yes, even in the “best case scenario,” a certain percentage of animals will be killed through not so pain-free methods: Animals are hit by cars, bugs get squashed, critters are unfortunate victims of combine harvesters and lawnmowers, and animals are routinely consumed by other animals.
I highly doubt that people routinely go into grocery stores thinking– while picking up pork chops– “Well I couldn’t save that possum from being killed by the mower, so I might as well be the reason this pig had to die.”
That’s not how it works. People typically select animal products because 1) animal products taste good, 2) people are accustomed to buying animal products, and 3) people may mistakenly believe that animal products are essential to a healthy diet.
I think that people who use the “animals die in the harvesting of plants” line of reasoning are simply looking for an excuse to continue consuming animals without feeling a sense of guilt.
Bottom line: it all comes down to daily choices. We can choose to cause animals unnecessary pain and suffering or we can choose to try our best not to cause harm.
When shopping for food, we can all choose fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. We can strive to choose whole, organic, non-GMO foods. We can all avoid animal products– including, but not limited to– chickens, pigs, cows, fishes, eggs, milk and cheese.
An Essay on Consistency…
Sooner or later, people who abstain from consuming animal products will listen to friends, acquaintances, or family members declare, “I only buy humane meat,” or “I only buy free-range eggs,” or “I only buy organic milk.” These are the actual words spoken.
“I only buy humane meat, etc” could be one person’s response to some horrific undercover video footage or another’s solution to factory farming. The health-conscious say this in the context of minimizing exposure to rBGH, E-Coli O157:H7 or BSE. Environmentalists might include the word “sustainable.” Followers of Michael Pollan make this statement in support of the family farmer.
When I hear “I only buy humane meat, etc,” I also hear the following unspoken messages: “Hey look, I’m doing something,” “I care about the animals, too,” and “I recognize there is a problem.” I would like to respond to both the spoken words and the unspoken messages.
“I only buy humane meat.” Really? So when you go out to restaurants, what do you order? What kind of pizza do you get? On the road, do you occasionally opt for the convenience of a fast-food restaurant drive-through? In the grocery store, what choices do you make when buying canned soups or frozen entrees? Do you always check labels?
“I only buy free-range eggs.” “I only buy organic milk.” Ok. When you go out for breakfast, what do you have? Do you ever get a pastry at the coffee shop? Do you ask your barista about the milk in your espresso? How about an ice cream cone on a summer day? What about the cheese in your sandwich, taco, or salad? Grocery shelves are lined with baked, packaged, and processed foods containing egg and milk ingredients. Is what you buy free-range and organic? Are you that selective?
These are the types of questions that come to my mind when I hear someone say, “I only buy humane meat, etc.” My first reaction is, “I’m not sure about that.” Chances are, you don’t only buy humane meat, etc. If you truly did, you would be reading labels, asking questions about ingredients, and eating like vegans do nearly all of the time because the vast majority of animal-derived foods do not proclaim to be “humane,” “free-range,” “organic,” ‘”sustainable,” or “grass-fed.”
“But,” you say, “I didn’t mean EVERYTHING I buy is humane/free-range/organic/etc.” Exactly. My point is that consistency is lost. Being true to your own word is meaningless. Whether you say you “only buy humane meat” because of the animal cruelty videos, the factory farms, your health, the environment, the family farmers or some other reason, please take a critical look at whether you are actually doing it. If you say you do something, then do it consistently.
My second reaction when I hear “I only buy humane meat, etc” is, “So, what?” What do labels like “humane,” “free-range,” “organic” (as applied to meat and milk), and “sustainable” really mean? Do you know? Do you want to know? What do you think they mean? What are you hoping they mean? Why do you care?
The first answer to the question “What do the labels mean?” is “Not much.” The second answer is, “It doesn’t matter.” “Humane” doesn’t matter because unnecessary killing can’t be humane. “Free-range” doesn’t matter because it’s still slavery. “Organic milk” doesn’t matter because cow’s milk belongs to baby cows, not humans. “Grass-fed” doesn’t matter because grass is what the cows would be eating if we would just leave them alone in the first place.
None of these labels matter to me. Animals should not be the property of humans. Animals are not things, they are sentient beings. Animals belong to themselves. They deserve the basic right to live their own lives. The problem is not “how” we use animals, the problem is “that” we use animals.
When you say “I only eat humane meat, etc,” is that really what you do? Is that really what you want to do? Or, are you actually just saying, “Hey look, I’m doing something,” or “I care about the animals, too,” or “I recognize there is a problem.”? If you indeed want to do something, then act. If you do care about the animals, then really care. Go vegan. If you do recognize there is a problem, then don’t deny it. Learn more about it, take action, and be consistent.
In closing, being consistent does not make you “radical” or “extreme,” although people who abstain from consuming all animal products are often called these things. Acting consistently on principle simply shows integrity. Being consistent demonstrates conviction and the willingness to stand up for something that is important, no matter what. Consistency in action is necessary for positive change. Be consistent, yes. But please leave the animals alone.
I only buy humane meat. It is 100% plant-derived. It is humane meat.
(Picture taken while mountain biking in Roslyn, WA, Sept 24, 2011)