Sunday, October 31, 2010


My body feels really gross here lately, and I've realized that I've been eating a lot of bread products and fewer green leafies. So for the next few days I'm committing myself to eating like a good vegan. That means beans and greens. Tonight I'm having refried beans and red chard. Nothing fancy, but healthy and yummy on this cold night. It's kind of silly to post the recipe, but in case anyone wants to know what I do to my beans, here goes.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 can of refried beans
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic. In a bowl, blend water and beans. Once onions are translucent, add the beans and more water if they are too thick. Stir in onions until fully incorporated. turn heat way down and allow them to heat on low.

I left the beans to cook on low while I sauteed the chard in a separate skillet. I like to eat them together.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

it'll never happen

I can't wait until my life settles down, I get on top of my shit, and I actually get to volunteer or clean my apartment on weekends.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

stealth vegan restaurant?

I wonder if I could get away with starting a vegan restaurant and not advertising it as vegan and be really successful.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet potato and black bean quesadillas

Tonight for dinner, I'm making these.

1 baked sweet potato, peeled (Eat the peel as a snack while you cook!! It's good for you!!) and cubed
15-16 oz of cooked black beans (1 can)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tbsp water
6 large tortillas (I used half the recipe)

Heat oil in skillet. Saute onions, 3 min. Add coriander and garlic, 1 min. Add cumin and water, 2 min. Add sweet potato 1 min. Add the black beans, cook until warm. Mash a bit to your liking.

Place a bit of the mixture on half of a tortilla and fold the other half over. Cook in a skillet with heated earth balance. I highly recommend serving with salsa and avocado. These are seriously delicious!!!


One of the thousand page papers I have to read for my lab/grant. AHHH grant is due in less than a month.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

how it goes

I've been very unproductive because of the stress of the end of last week. I feel foolish for reacting poorly to everything, but I can't help it if every little thing seems like the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen. I can't help it if I'm always on the verge of tears even over things like having to get lunch or my bangs not drying right. It all seems insurmountable, even if I do always seem to surmount it. It's the same as always though, which I'm now pretty used to, so at least I know that I can let this run its course and I'll be able to deal in a little while. I'm doing what I have to to refresh my coping skills and that's really all I can ask of myself. I went to yoga yesterday, which was important. I had a hard time recognizing and stopping my internal chatter, but I did my best and I felt more relaxed afterward. I had stir fry last night, and tonight I went for comfort food and had vegan mac and cheese which I got from my friend Abby's blog. It was delicious and just what I wanted.

Stir fry (adapted from Veganomicon)

1-2 tbsp peanut oil (olive oil works too)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a bunch of collard greens or 1 whole bok choy (I prefer collards), sliced in ribbons 1-2 inches thick
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced and then slices cut in half
1 portabella mushroom or some baby bellas, sliced
1 stalk of broccoli, chopped
a splash of apple cider vinegar
a splash of tamari
buckwheat soba noodles

Start by beginning to cook the soba noodles.
In a skillet heat the oil and garlic. After a minute or so add the broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes or so (I like my veggies really raw). Add bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are almost soft (2 min?). Add greens, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tamari and vinegar, stir 1 minute. Add cooked soba noodles, stir 1 minute. enjoy.

Mac and Cheese from Good to Think and Eat with a few changes
2 tablespoons earth balance
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tiny pinch turmuric
cayenne pepper
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2-3 cup cooked macaroni
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt butter or margarine in a small oven-proof skillet.
3. Whisk in flour and let it darken to a golden brown.
4. Add 1 cup water, soy sauce, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to taste. Continue whisking.
5. Add nutritional yeast and more water if necessary. You want the mixture to be a thick but saucy consistency.
6. Add macaroni. Toss to coat with the sauce.
7. Sprinkle bread crumbs and cayenne pepper on top. Bake for 10 minutes.
8. Broil for a few minutes so the top gets crunchy and delicious.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

good feelings gone

Well, I've done a big 360 today. I felt great this morning, and now I feel like shit. I haven't been able to write my assignment for advanced systems which is due tomorrow, I didn't clean my house, and I haven't heard from someone I've been hoping to talk to.

I made the pasta I had in Philadelphia for dinner. I don't have precise directions for a recipe but I'll try.

100 grams of fettuccine per person
baby bella mushrooms, sliced
baby arugula
sunflower seeds

Begin boiling well salted water. Toast the sunflower seeds in a heated skillet without oil or anything, set aside. Put the pasta in the boiling water. Saute the mushrooms (about 10 minutes), add the arugula and saute for a few minutes until wilted. Add the toasted sunflower seeds and then cooked pasta, stir. After 1 minute, eat it!

joys and concerns

This week went much better than last week. I've reminded myself that I'm capable of breathing and I was sooo busy that I didn't have time to fret. It was pretty crazy. Needless to say, I got it all done cause as all Smithies know 'done is better than good'. So Friday evening Meg came to visit from Northampton, which I am sooo happy about. We had Thai for dinner, went to the GCB then went to Steve's house. Saturday morning was a hard morning, but to help us get through it I made pancakes and vegan scramble. We went shopping and Meg found more j-brands for me at TJ Maxx, which was awesome. For dinner, we made soft tacos with homemade tortillas.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom or cinnamon
1 cup soy milk
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together the dry then add the wet. Pour onto preheated skillet. Serve with Earth Balance and maple syrup.

Vegan Scramble
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (1/2 of a white onion or 1 smallish yellow onion)
1/2 package of tofu (drained, pressed and chopped into small cubes)
1/2 tsp tumeric
chopped veggies- bell peppers, mushrooms, eggplant(must be sweated first)
salt and pepper to taste
red chili flakes (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat and saute onions. Add tofu, tumeric and eggplant, if using. Cook for ~20 min. Add chopped peppers, mushrooms, salt, pepper and chili flakes, if using. Cook until mushrooms and peppers are fully cooked ~10 min).

Soft Tacos (enough food for 3 people)

Tortillas (makes 12)
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 tbsp vegetable shortening
3/4 cup warm water with 3/4 tsp salt

With your hands, incorporate the vegetable shortening into the flour until it looks a bit like corn meal. Add 1/2 cup of warm water and mix. Add more water as needed until dough contains most of the flour. The dough should not be sticky wet. kneed the mixture. Split into 12 portions making 12 balls. Cover and let sit for ~30 min. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin, stack them, putting a little bit of flour on each one so they don't stick together. Heat ungreased skillet. Cook each tortilla on both sides (they should bubble a little)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cans of black beans, drained
1 tbsp spicy taco seasoning mix (from whole foods)
1/2 tsp salt

Heat olive oil in a skillet, add black beans. Mash the black beans to a consistency that you like. I like them a bit more mashy because they don't fall out of your taco/burrito, while Meg enjoys more whole beans for textural reasons. Add the seasoning mix and maybe a little water depending on how dense it is.

Putting the Tacos Together
2 tomatoes chopped
2 avocados sliced
1 diced onion
arugula or other lettuce like green

On an open tortilla put beans down the middle, add tomatoes, avocados, onion, arugula and salsa as desired. Add salt if needed. Fold end of tortilla up over beans, then fold sides to each other. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

sound of the night

perfect music


Tomorrow, I have a 2-3 page (single spaced, 1 inch margins all around, so really 5-7 page) paper and a presentation due. I also have 3 papers to read for my seminar at 3 pm, a friend coming into town, no food in my fridge, no clean clothes, a paper due Monday, a paper due Tuesday, a final exam on Tuesday, and a midterm on Nov 2nd. To top it off, I have a 10 page final due shortly, while I'm in San Diego, and a 6 page grant to finish right before Thanksgiving. How am I dealing with it? Writing this and making molasses cookies (adapted from hellyeahitsvegan!).

2/3 c vegetable oil
¼ c blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp ground flax seeds whisked into 3 tbsp warm water
1 c brown sugar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 c flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Combine oil, molasses, flax seeds mixed with water, and sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and salt then add the wet ingredients. If the oven isn't yet at 350, put your dough in the freezer until it's done preheating. When the oven is ready, make 1.5 inch balls and flatten them on your ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. They won't seem done, but I promise they are.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Well over due

I set up this blog some time ago to chronicle my vegan experiment, and I never actually got around to using it. Now I've started my Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brown University, and I've decided it's high time I try to put it to use.

I went vegan sometime late last spring (I think April/May) after being raised vegetarian from birth. As a vegetarian, I took plenty of liberties in trying different foods when I got older. I've tried rabbit, wild boar, beef, pork, prosciutto, pheasant, bacon, chicken, and all sorts of sea food. Most of my meat experimentation occurred while I lived abroad in Italy. I had many long periods in my life where I could have been considered a pescatarian, and a few weeks at a time during and after Italy where I would happily consume prosciutto 2 or 3 times a week. Each time I verged on omnivorism, I got disgusted and reverted back.

When I got back from Italy in January, I started to consider going vegan. I was reading a lot of info from Dr. Neal Barnard and looking at various vegan blogs. I wrote it off at first because I've pretty much always thought veganism was dumb. I think mostly because I thought it was difficult enough to eat vegetarian, why would you make your life even more difficult? I was also a huge foodie, and it didn't help that I L-O-V-E-D cheese. I don't mean I just liked cheese, I mean I would consider myself something of a cheese connoisseur. I loved gorgonzola, roquefort, fontina, you name it, I loved it, and I used it in all sorts of recipes. I was definitely addicted to cheese.

The more I read, though, the more I couldn't ignore the fact that a vegan diet was the best thing I could possibly do for my body. So, I did it. I had a rocky first few weeks. I jumped in headfirst making vegan croissants, vegan cinnamon rolls, sushi, vegan pizza, but it was hard. I gave in a few times to simplicity and ordered food with animal products in it when at restaurants. I was lucky that I started dating another vegan, who definitely inspired and motivated me to stick to it. Now six months in, sans said boyfriend, I can't imagine ever doing that on purpose again.

From the beginning, I've felt great. I am no longer sluggish during the day. I have no fatigue; I actually have increased energy. I no longer get stomach aches from all the dairy I would consume. And as a bonus, I've dropped a couple pounds.

A lot of people ask the same question: Where do you get your protein? The answer is easy: daily consumption of beans, nuts, seeds, a variety of grains, and VEGETABLES. Vegetables have a surprising amount of protein! Calorie for calorie, broccoli, spinach and several other vegetables have more protein than steak! I hope in the blog to keep a ledger of what I eat so that people can see that it's not so hard to eat delicious food that is healthy and animal product free!

Being my own vegan chef is a full time job in itself, and now I've added graduate school and a dog on top of it! This is my life. Uuugghhhhh.