Saturday, July 14, 2012

Belgian-Style Seitan Stew with Dark Beer

Found this recipe on when I googled vegan. 
It's been really rainy here in Nashville so I felt like making comfort food.  Todd loves mashed potatoes so I wanted to find beefy yumminess and gravy with some veggies that could go with mashed taters.

First things first... I had to make the main ingredient: Seitan.
(first timer)
Used the Vegan on the Cheap Simple Seitan recipe and it turned out just like it's supposed to.. i think.
This took over an hour so if you plan on doing this make sure you have plenty of time. You can make the seitan a couple days ahead of time too. This recipe actually makes double what is in the picture so you have lots left for other recipes.

If you ever need a Halloween brain substitute
homemade seitan would definitely fit the bill!
Next I peeled and boiled potatoes. Made a lot since we love em!

First step of the actual stew is to slice up the seitan thinly and then sauté it in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes until it is browned on both sides. Set it aside and start making your sauce.

Saute your onion and then add brown sugar to caramelize it followed by a couple of tablespoons of flour.
Then add the rest of your flavor: beer (i used a 1554 Dark Ale), molasses, mustard, vinegar, thyme, and a bay leaf along with some veggie broth (I use Kitchen Basics..good flavor).

Then add your seitan and simmer it for a while. This is when I realized I had completely forgotten to add frozen peas and my fresh mushrooms! One of the pics submitted on the website had one with peas and it spoke to me! ha! So, I quickly tossed in the peas and mushrooms during the final simmer.

I did have to add some more broth and then water as it continued to simmer. I wanted more gravy and didn't want more and more salt from the broth.

Taaaa daaaaa!!!!
This was really really yummy!!! The peas and mushrooms cooked right up and the steamed broccoli was ready at just the right time.  You can see the steam in this picture, it's not the camera! ha!

No dessert tonight... I'm making cupcakes tomorrow for Mom and Daddy's visit. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fat Vegan

So I was wandering through Trader Joe's yesterday buying a smorgasbord of items for a presenter gift for my Medical Exploring Post presenter last night. Thank you Dr. Abramo from Vanderbilt University Medical Center!

I like to do these great gift wrapped packages of a little healthy, a little sweet, a little savory and a nice bottle of sparkling flavored water or something like it. I think they really like it and it is a very inexpensive awesome gift to receive!

I thought it would be nice to seek out some vegan options at the same time so I asked the employee holding that god awful huge sign in his hand if they had vegan cookies. yeah... cookies... just wait.
He showed me one kind and then ran off to find me the big list of all vegan items. They are ridiculously helpful at Trader Joe's... most of the time.

I stroll down the aisle of sauces and dressings etc. in search of regular vegan mayonaise. We have some vegan dijonaise at the house, but i wanted regular. So i ask another guy with a clipboard.. do you have veganaise? He says yes... but we are out of stock. (snarky sharon: "so the actual answer would be NO not yes)

so then the guy says.... looking up from his clipboard to eyeball me.... "YOU'RE vegan??"

Sharon: "Gee, you sound so surprised" (knowing exactly why he'd said it like that... so much emphasis on the YOU'RE and the big questioning high pitched ending to the word vegan.)

Clipboard Guy: "well, most vegans I know are skinny"

Sharon: turning to make eye contact and just look at him... you know... in order to make him really think about what he just said.

Clipboard Guy: "uh... i mean... like.... uh... the vegans I know are like... uh... REALLY skinny... like they look so unhealthy"

Sharon: "mmm hmmm... yeah... I see"

Clipboard Guy: scooting further away from me down the aisle looking at his clipboard intently checking something off with his pencil.

oh, and did i mention that he was quite a round specimen of a man?

so.. it got me to thinking.. yup. i'm a fat vegan.
It's true. I've been married for a year and 4 months and the moment the wedding dress came off, i have eaten without mindfulness and exercising practically never.
I have gained a significant amount of weight and I am very unhappy with myself and my body right now.

I have realized only recently that i am a yo-yo er to the max. I regularly allow myself to move between a healthy weight and 30 - 40 pounds more than that every few years.
I'm not at my heaviest ever right now, but i'm getting there and I do admit that the vegan move was heavily connected to hoping that in becoming vegan and healthier on the inside that the outside would reflect it.

It hasn't yet, but I haven't been fully vegan and I realized that I have also done a lot of embracing of some very high fat foods in my recipes lately.

So, I returned last night to my page and looked at the pending order for
The 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart... and changed my order from the stupid soft cover which probably won't be out for another year or so (why don't they tell you that or NOT make it orderable!) and changed it to the hard cover. It should arrive tomorrow.

In order to turn to a more plant based diet, I need to rely a lot less on pre-packaged items... even Trader Joe's and more on GREENS GREENS and more GREENS!

I'll let you know what the book is like when I get the nerve up to open the first page.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Vegan Experiment continues..

It has been a great few weeks of learning new ways to eat and trying not to get upset about NOT eating some things I really love.

Ok, so I ate fish twice, have had some dairy in some items, but have made a huge change overall.

One thing that has NOT happened is that I haven't lost any weight that's for sure. Ok, maybe a couple of pounds, but there are so many things that are really high in fat to still consume so there has definitely not been a shortage of calories and fat in my diet.

Tonight we had some friends over for dinner and I made Vegan Corn Muffins and Todd made Veggie Lover's Chili that includes TVP. I also made Cherry Crisp for dessert and even tried making Vegan Whipped Cream. (I'm the only one who tried that.. it was a bit of a strange texture and too nutty to me to taste like whipped cream).

I thought the corn muffins were a little rubbery, but I couldn't exactly expect the recipe to match Calypso Cafe's Boija Muffins that I love so much. (they are too crumbly, but the flavor is fantastic and I wish I had their recipe to try to make into a vegan one). The muffins called for Egg Replacer that I had bought at Kroger. First time using it though. Kind of a texture like corn starch.

Overall, I would say it was a success. We didn't tell anyone they were eating VEGAN, although one friend asked since we had talked about doing the veggie thing so I guess they assumed the meat in the chili wasn't really meat. ha! The texture of the TVP was really great although I probably wouldn't cook it next time as long as we let it simmer today. I think it kind of disintegrated a bit the longer it was on the stove.

Tomorrow back to work, probably with some leftovers for lunch!

Stay tuned for fun experiments when my soft serve ice cream maker arrives!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Just a Note

Just a Note
Not a great week after Wednesday.
East C.A.N.'s founder Elizabeth experienced a tragedy with her eldest dog Boomer.
He was hit by a car after escaping from the house when let out of his crate during bad storms. Boomer always has had terrible storm anxiety. This isn't the first time he's run away.
We will pick him up from the critical care vet this evening to take him home for some therapies and see if the neurological issues in his rear quarters (can't move, relieve himself, perhaps can't feel anything) can be eased by some homeopathic methods.
I'll update later on some more food items from this week and results from my physical at the doc's office yesterday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


VIM (Very Important Message)!!! Happy Birthday Shelley Madison!
lots of love!

and now for lunch.
Ezekial bread, soy dijonnaise, Smart Deli ham,
tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and avocado = YUM!
First time to try the Smart Deli products (i did do a taste test right after bringing it home from the store) in a sandwich. This was really good! I could taste the smokey flavor of the ham. The ham itself isn't the most appetizing looking thing. Basically looks like darker, thinner bologna. But it's not offensive at all. And it turns out that once in this awesome sandwich it is great! (my insert link button isn't working.. um.. hello Blogger!)
The soy dijonnaise is really damn good too! I was thinking about it this morning while spreading it on my bread. Eggs have always freaked me out a bit. When I was a kid, I ate eggs all the time in many forms. My favorite was a fried egg with a runny yolk. For the past 10 years at least, I've been completely disgusted by the runny yolk. Over hard or scrambled was the way I would order in a restaurant. (yes, Eggs Benedict with a hard yolk... don't remind me about the Hollandaise sauce!) (there is another story behind the hard yolk on the Bene, but only the Granite Falls girls know that one!)
And don't get me started on the whole egg white with the squiggly cord in there... oh my gosh, I almost gag if I have to deal with that! I keep eggs in the fridge, and on occasion I do eat them, but most of the time I use Egg Beaters. Yes, it's eggs too.. but for some reason I've been able to convince myself that they're not gross because they aren't that weird see through cloudy gray white (thanks FD&C Yellow number whatever) and they cook up nicely.
So here I was this morning smearing soy mayo all over my bread thinking... why on earth would THIS gross you out when the gross thing about mayonnaise (that I LOVE and really enjoy doing that disgusting thing called dipping your french fries in it!! Gotta love my British heritage!) is the EGGS that you really have to convince yourself not to get disgusted by and this is SOY!
Soy! not from an animal, but from a plant.
I put quite a bit of mayo on the Ezekial!
and that sandwich rocked the house.
(the leftover bit of tofu and potato I also ate was NOT better as a leftover turns out. Sitting in a fridge for two days does not have any effect on paprika presence. bummer)


Day 2 of the Vegan Experiment
now, just so we understand each other... i have not decided to become a vegan. I am experimenting with vegan foods and making a transition to more natural foods. If I end up in some sort of category like Vegetarian, Pescaterian, Strict Vegetarian (that was a new one on me.. thanks Shelley Madison for clarifying!), or Vegan, or Omnivore.. then so be it.
For dinner last night Todd and I went to the Wild Cow restaurant for their BE Hive buffet that benefits various charities. Last night was Mexican and it benefitted Hands on Nashville.
(love them! highly recommend volunteering with them).
The meal was a buffet and it was YUMMY! lots of things to choose from and they even came around and offered us a vegan chocolate cookie or churro for dessert. Good thing they only gave me one cookie because I could have eaten 10. They were fantastic!
I spent some time afterward picking Shelley's brain about the transitional time, the difficulty of eating out, losing the dairy, etc. Had a few ciders and headed home.
and then binged on Smarties. (NOT VEGAN)

Monday, January 30, 2012

experimental Monday

Todd and I watched Forks Over Knives this weekend.
I've seen Food Inc, and I already knew in my rational mind (which of course is inside a completely different Sharon than my "normal" mind) that all of these things needed to make some sort of lasting effect on my life.
Forks Over Knives made a huge impression on me.
It's not as though we don't know this stuff in its most basic form. The more things you put in your body that are loaded with cholesterol, the more cholesterol will build up
in your body.
But this.....
These two guys and the firehouse and the diabetic woman and the chinese study..I could go on and on.
So we hit the grocery store Sunday.
Spent a ton of money and got all kinds of things in the cart we'd never tried before.
Egg Replacer. Did you know they make that?
Tonight I was determined to come home and experiment with a vegan dish.

Before baking
This is Lemon-Dijon Tofu and Potatoes
After baking and with spinach, sliced tomato and peas
The peas were good.
Turns out this made the whole thing better.
No offense to Katherine because I added waaaay too much Paprika (i maaay have had a margarita BEFORE the baking part) Todd liked it all though. AND he didn't even put Sriracha sauce on it. Experimental Monday is in the bag. Tomorrow... Wild Cow here we come!