Hey guys. This week has been a lot less productive than I had hoped for. Part of the problem is you know everyday life. Whomp whomp. Then there is also this weird internet. It is find in the morning, then at night it disconnects every five seconds. Arg! It stinks but there are worse things that can happen in life.
So I just want to point out how cute Alexa looks right now. She had a wedding coming up, and being thrifty me I was all like “NO DON’T BUY A NEW DRESS BORROW ONE OF MINE!” I LOVE this dress. I got it on sale from Ruche, it was originally something like $80-100 but I got it for $39.50. I’ve worn it to a bunch of weddings, luckily I had friends and family weddings that didn’t crossover with guests. Nobody caught me wearing more than once! Anyways, I’ve washed it a few times, when I wasn’t suppose to and it started to rip, but Alexa got it fixed so it might get worn a bunch more times. And if you are dying to have the dress, you can buy it for $96, which this is like super old out of stock. So no bargin hunting.
Also Alexa dyed her hair again, which makes me jealous. I want to dye my hair but my bosses are a little…. uh… judgmental about looks? And our clients are pretty old, and conservative so I don’t think it would be the best move on my part. Alexa wanted to dye her hair like her favorite wrestler Sasha Banks. Note- their all Alexa’s favorite.
So I mentioned doing the Vegan MOFO Offseason thing, and there is the prompt of Pick 3, and she said to share any vegan articles. So I will make this week’s Sunday Reading in lists of threes.
CARAMELIZED BANANA & RUM SHAKE – I think I know what I should try and make next time Alexa and Ian crashed my place for game playing. I’ve been reading The Drunken Botanist, and it really helps make the connection that plants are booze, and it really a “vegan” food. It is exciting to see all the different herbs that are used in cocktails. My little liquor collection is growing fast, and hubby and I really need a cocktail cart for drinks and glasses.
HOMEMADE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE WIHT SALTED PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP – Okay so I’ve been making pumpkin spice lattes at home with a pumpkin spice almond milk that I bought. I’ve been lazy about making a syrup for myself, but this one sounds divine! I should make some and use it in my Spiced Pumpkin Carriage… or lattes. XD
3 Fun Stories
RESCUED RACCOON ORPHAN NAMED PUMPKIN – I am a sucker for any cute animal story. I think it does make veganism for relatable for most people. So I share them. This one is about a baby raccoon that was hurt and was nursed back to health. It is so endearing to see a raccoon snuggle with a puppy, showing that animals can connect with each other regardless of species.
BEHOLD THE ULTIMATE CROWDSOURCED MAP OF PUNNY BUSINESSES IN AMERICA – One thing I do know about vegans is that we love a friggin pun. I feel like there is probably a bunch more that need to be added, so check it out and add anyplace that you can think of.
WHAT HARAJUKU GIRLS REALLY LOOK LIKE – This “decora” style come about right when I fell out of Japan’s music culture. It is probably one of my least favorite street styles. But it is interesting to watch the video.
LETTER #1 – These letters have been buzzing around the vegan blog-o-sphere. If you aren’t up to date these are letters written by Miyoko Schinner, who has pretty much reinvented the vegan cheese scene, to Ryan Bethencourt, an entrepreneur and scientist that I know nothing about.
LETTER #2 – This is the response from Ryan, which focuses on how science is able to engineer products with science. It is fun and exciting, and talks about some cool foods coming out to the vegan community. He views veganism as a world of science and labs, which I can get behind, but I think most people find this anti-food. This view I think is more relatable to older generations who view processed foods as improved products from the natural ones, which sometimes they can be.
LETTER #3 – Miyoko responds back by taking the science away from vegan innovations and bringing it back to the home kitchen. And I love this. I love being able to say you can DO EVERYTHING in the kitchen. I think people are surprised at how easy some vegan food is, like nut milks. My boss was shocked when I said it is just essentially just water and nuts, then filtered. I think it is some sort of balance between science and homegrown food that will sell people to vegan food. It can be fake, but it doesn’t HAVE TO BE.
3 Shopping Finds
REST IN PIZZA SHIRT – I love this shirt as it seems super vegan to me. I’ve heard so many people say things like “Oh if you can’t have cheese I guess you can’t have pizza!” Apparently cheese is what makes the pizza to most people. But I love a good tomato pie, and I found pizza is a super vegan thing.
THE LONG ARM OF THE LOBSTER CARDIGAN – I use to love to eat lobsters, and I also think they are just a cool animal. I remember having them walk around the kitchen floor before eating them, which my husband thought was morbid. What can I say? I knew I was a murdering bastard at a young age. I dig this classy sweater which to me gives more of a nod that lobsters are cool and cute like any other trendy animal.
1960s GOLD METALLIC BROCADE WIGGLE DRESS – Anyone want to give me $140 for a new dress? I love fancy dresses, and I don’t go out as much as I should to put these dresses to work. But I love the light work of the metallic threads, so it isn’t overdoing it on the shiny aspect.
So I am trying something new- doing a Vegan MOFO offseason that was set up with Jennifer from My Blissful Journey. I think sometimes it is good to have set prompts, because sometimes it helps focus all your thoughts. Which the first sort of “assignment” is Pick 3. There are a few prompts, one which is the pick products that you WISH there there was vegan equivalent to. Which kind-of ended up being things that I wanted but found out there are SOME vegan versions. Weird right? I mean what I wish would exist are actually very weird to begin with. If someone would ask me what I miss on a vegan diet, it would sound disgusting, chicken stock, oysters stouts, and raw eggs. So it sometimes seems weird that that people actually have made vegan versions.
Yeah, call me weird, but I really love squid. It was always the food I got when eating out because my husband didn’t like it. I even loved the fermented stuff, and I would just eat a small amount on the side of my rice. There was just something about that rubbery texture. I always thought it would be something that would never get a vegan equivalent since not many people like squid, it is considered a cheap seafood. But I shouldn’t of doubted the Asian vegan community. I googled “vegan squid” and found May Wah’s Vegetarian Market. They pretty much have any faux meat you can think of, including squid. There is a market in Philadelphia that sells their products, so I will probably make a trip this Monday to see if I can get some.
Vegan Egg Yolk
Okay so these exist, I just need to try it. I love egg yolks, and I know most people find that gross. I love cracking a yolk in a big bibimbap, or having it whisked into a drink. YES- I like to drink raw egg yolks in cocktails and phosphates. I know there are a few vegan yolk recipes out there, but I am interested in trying out specifically The Vegg’s, since it is a formula made specifically to taste like egg yolk. It looks like they only sell this stuff in NYC, so I might ask or nudge my sister to pick up some for me for Christmas.
I know you are thinking, but Jen, there ARE vegan pepperoni out there! And you’d be right. But I haven’t found one that I found to be accurate. But then again I haven’t tried much. I’ve had Yves Meatless Pepperoni, and it tastes, well like salami to me. Not enough salt, umami, and not even greasy. Maybe that’s the problem? Everyone is afraid to make it truthful and oily. Of coarse, I could try making my own, but there are two other major brands I can try- Tofurky and Smart Deli. I have some high hopes for these guys, so I guess I should just bite the bullet and buy them.
Yup, so that is my kind-of gross list of things I wish were vegan and found out that there are recipes for! XD What about you guys, are you excited about these things? Or am I just a little crazy?
Oh boy guys. I’ve been so busy with Vegan MOFO! I’m a little glad to be over with it, and I am also excited to sign up again next year! But for now there are lots of posts to catch up with that I want to write that were “Vegan MOFO themed.” And I’ve been collecting so many of these links that I’ve wanted to share with everyone! So sorry that it is a little long and overwhelming! Take you time guys. Oh! And I can start doing my Farm Haul again! The summer is pretty much done, so that insanely long shopping lists are done. And I get a little bit of break since some of the foods can be stored long term. So yey!
Farm Round Up:
What I got:
1 jack o’lantern
1 bag of stir fry greens
1/2 bag collard greens and kale
1 head of red cabbage
9 small potatoes
1 small butternut squash
1 red onion
1 yellow onion
3 big beets
5 small green peppers
4 small broccoli crowns
What I’m cooking:
red lentil dal (with onion and tomatoes)
black bean “chicken” and broccoli stir-fry
Pad See Ew
ginger, beet, and carrot soup
tacos with roasted peppers
collard and kale greens in shake
I need to try out these mango yolks. I really do miss the joy of popping a liquid orb on top of toast.
So my husband has been pretty trying to get a waffle maker and I am not a sweet bread breakfast person. But these savory waffles? Uh hell yeah.
So I love Eat Your Kimchi, videos of a Canadian couple in South Korea. They recently did a video of making raw and vegan coconut oil chocolates. They give some nice tips, which makes me want to make some… maybe filled with cookie butter?!
Paleo vs Vegan! Such a heated debate. Even the whole protein thing, ugh. My Mom gave me “you brainwashed gurl” eyes during lunch when I told her she probably shouldn’t worry about protein going on a mostly vegetarian diet (especially since she is still eating chicken and fish occasionally, and eggs and dairy frequently). Anyways, I like this short story about how a guy switched from Paleo to Vegan, and nothing happened.
I am not sure why but I am mesmerized by this blue ice cream.
I love reading vegan travel blogs, because it makes me believe that traveling with my husband in the future will still be enriching. One of the things I miss after going vegan is the spontaneity about traveling. Trying the local foods etc. Travel blogs show that it still kind-of is. This post on Denmark on Oh Lady Cakes is getting me pumped. Now I just need several thousand dollars for the plane tickets. XD
Pumpkin Ice Cream is back at Franklin Fountain, hope they are still doing it vegan because the all vegan Great Pumpkin Sundae was THE SHIT!
There is a nitro infused black coffee in Philly? I need to try this out.
Ted Nghiem writes a great post about why food is exciting… and it isn’t just about trying the new hip foods. I love learning about the history and the story about the food sometimes more than the food itself.
I never knew there were so many vegan friendly places to eat in Cleveland. Roadtrip?
The other night I got asked by a vegetarian why I didn’t eat honey, and I had a few points of why it is bad, but a lot of my logic is that there isn’t really a NEED for honey. I mean it isn’t as culturally important as meat in the USA. I was also happy to read this article saying honey is pretty much as bad as sugar.
I really want to try this squash, it’s seed was 800 years old!
Feminism and Human Interest
I am sure most of you have already seen this article- about emails sent out to and from trees.
I love animal skeletons. I said it. I know, it isn’t vegan. But I find skeletons so beautiful, human or otherwise. So I’ve been thinking about the ethics of being vegan and taking animal for decoration. Well, this blog post does a great job pretty much saying “ethical” taxidermy is bullshit. Although this person eats animals, I love her wording, there is no bullshitting and dancing around the issues here.
Is it nice to read something POSITIVE about climate change.
I’ve seen a few article talking about the horrors of “trigger warnings” in school settings. And I think there would be some good points, but most of the time it felt like rantings of someone who hates Millenials. I think this sums up how I feel about trigger warnings. It isn’t about trying to get out of doing the work, but more about setting up a discussion!
I knew that women had a pretty big part of the early film industry but rarely do people name names. So this was a nice educational video about Alice Guy-Blaché.
I’ve recently taken some Orange Theory classes, like about 3 months worth. I stopped taking them for various reasons, but I started to learn why people like taking fitness classes. I think this article makes some great points that I didn’t really believe before taking Orange Theory. Like it is nice to have free hair ties and pads in the bathroom for emergencies.
This article by NPR is a little disturbing about the effects of not getting nutrition for young female athletes. Some of the effects will last into adulthood.
Epigenetic is an important key in todays health. This article talks about a study that tries to compare adults who had troubling childhood experiences and their health conditions. It’s an interesting read. And if you don’t know much about epigenetic I would recommend watching this SciShow video that explains it.
These are beautiful machine that walk on beaches. With some cool videos of them walking around.
I don’t know if this is art but I want Glittery Rain Boots
I love these retro spoopy pins.
If you watched the video above about Alice Guy-Blaché, then you might want to see this video by her.
Mental floss reports on cool glowing bacteria, the story is pretty interesting and show that you shouldn’t dismiss kids.
POOP CARS. Got you to click on that link.
And the future of toilets, which is again oddly interesting. What do I listen to when I poop? Nothing. I’m fast.
Due to Vegan MOFO, I didn’t post the last week’s 365 photos. It happens. I hope everyone enjoyed the post marathon that is Vegan MOFO. It is nice going back to the old schedule. So here we are, the remaining photos. I am trying hard to get back into the habit of “taking” photos since Vegan MOFO gave a specific list of things to photograph for the prompts. Now it is nice to explore other types of subjects.
Day 262: I’ve been pretty bad and purposely not bringing my camera to the farm. As we were driving up I knew I made a mistake. There was beautiful fog. I managed to get this cool shot though.
Day 263: I made my recipe of apple dumplings for Vegan MOFO’s prompt of recreate a family recipes.
Day 264: Next day I roasted some miso-harissa acorn squash for some tacos. Recipe on the blog for Vegan MOFO, make a dinner with all seasonal produce- heck even the harissa was made with seasonal food!
Day 265: Nights are getting darker, and taking good photos of dinner food is starting to get troublesome. But I made a vegan Japanese style curry anyways as the prompt for Vegan MOFOs What would ____ eat? I chose YUKI from Judy and Mary.
Day 266: Toulouse is eats her food. I photographed her shadow on the wood floor
Day 267: Some shots of wood coming off on an abandoned building.
Day 268: I got a random call from my Father in Law about going to see a concert in New York City. The band was pretty good, but we also got to eat at Beyond Sushi. It was amazing! Pictured below is the carrot and shiitake mushroom, mushroom roll, and a green roll. More details will be posted in a review later.
Day 269: The cat gazes out the window
Day 270: I used up my spaghetti squash in a soup. It was nice to get rid of it! XD Recipe posted for Vegan MOFO. Okay, I think the last photo of a Vegan MOFO recipe!
Day 271: I got my halloween decorations. I personally love animal skeletons, but they aren’t really vegan? I mean there are lots of interesting ethics going on, which I would love to make a post about in the future. But for now, these cute, kitchy, and totally not accurate cat and rat skeletons from Target will have to do.
Day 272: Basically my work day was canceled and I got antsy. So I got in my car and drove to the old abandoned theater for a photo of the old lights. I couldn’t really go inside because 1) It is a pretty busy street and 2) I know there are lots of efforts to try and open it up again, so I didn’t want to break any glass or doors.
Day 273: Took a photo of some of the succulents growing at work.
Day 274: Another flower at work, not many days left of flowers since it is getting cold out.
Day 275: Nothing but rain the last few days.
Last day for Vegan MOFO, and I have mixed feelings of happiness and sadness. I am glad to call it quits for this year because I AM TIRED! And I have so much food! Our fridge just isn’t that big. I can’t really freeze most of the leftovers, so it has been a real balance between use up my produce, getting the right amount of posts, and eating up enough of the leftovers. And I’ll be a little sad to see Vegan MOFO go since it has been fun, and nice to have prompts to direct my creativity. Or just force me to write up a post. I mean I’ve been meaning to write a post about planning a trip as a vegan for awhile.
For the last post we make a fusion meal of roti and dal quesadillas. I feel like this is a triple ethnic whammy since I feel like quesadillas been bastardized enough by Americans, so it is kind-of a American-Bastardized Mexica meets Indian food. Sounds good to you? What I love about this meal is that it is a great way to put a twist on leftovers. In fact I got the idea from our leftovers from dinner. We had so much dal and roti leftover, and I thought what if? The results are amazing! And will vary as you choose different types of dal and different types of cheeses!
I first tried the recipe out with Chao Slices, the creamy original. It was pretty good, but the downside was it has a higher melting point and you need to break them up. The second time making this I used the Daiya shredded cheddar cheese which worked out well. Both had their own benefits, but both gave a yummy creamy texture to the dryer dal. Feel free to swap out the roti for normal flour tortillas, as most people don’t have easy access to ready made roti (and may not want to make them).
Use any dal you want, as long as it is very thick. I used the dal from Vegan Eats World (the Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry), and subbed lentils for split peas. If you don’t know a dal recipe, I always like Vegan Richa, as she has easy recipes and knows authentic Indian cuisine. Heck I even made a link for all recipes with “dal” in the description aka I used for the word dal in her search engine.
Right as all the Vegan Mofo prompts were announced my husband and I started planning our trip out to Frederick Maryland for a friends wedding. We never been there and expected it to be a very “Murican” sort of town. Turns out it is a bustling college city. There are some really unique places that are vegan friendly. But in my head I went through the check list of things and figured I should make a post as sort of a “prep sheet” guideline for traveling vegans. Any examples I meant reference what WE did in Frederick or our trip to Maine.
Book Your Room First
Depending on what type of place you book, will depend on what you eat. If you stay at a major chain you will have an option for continental breakfast. That means pretty much having bagels with jam, instant oatmeal, and bananas. You can bring your own foods to deck these things out, like hummus, peanut butter packets, granola, etc. You might also look for a place with a kitchenette. This will allow you to make some light food. Maybe you can make some sandwiches for lunches, or bring a blender to make smoothies. You can do some of these without a kitchenette, but might be a tricky clean up. When were in Bar Harbor we stayed in an independent Inn that had a little kitchenette. I used leftovers for sandwiches so we never went out to eat for lunch. There are also cabins you can rent, so it is worth searching around and reading tour guide books for recommendations. I always stayed at places with kitchens or kitchenettes when I was little, so it makes sense. I never liked the idea of eating out for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.
If you want something more personable, there are some vegan Bed and Breakfasts. There is a list on Happy Cow, but the list clearly has a high chance of not covering the area you are going to visit. If you have never been to a Bed and Breakfast you can expect to be eating breakfast with a bunch of strangers (and they are usually 50 years old and up) and get invited to social gatherings. When Jon and I went to Portland we stayed at The Inn at Park Spring. The owners gladly catered to my dietary restrictions (although I wasn’t fully vegan at the time). This will probably give everyone a chance to start a conversation about your diet and beliefs. Look in tour guides for Bed and Breakfasts and search the internet.
But we were the youngest people there, so you might not want to be in the minority (although we had fun talking to everyone!) Enter Air BnB. I hear that there are vegan Air BnBs but there is no way (that I can find) where you can search specifically for them. But the benefit is that there isn’t always a breakfast. Some places are just cabins you can rent out, or apartments. Sometimes the host is there with you, sometimes not. My sister rented one in London where the host wasn’t there because it was his second apartment. We booked a place outside of Frederick that got good reviews, and the owner offers some food for breakfast. But they said we are open to use their kitchen, which means we can bring bagels and hummus or instant oatmeal.
Search for Restaurants
After you book your place, start searching for places to eat. I first like to check out Happy Cow, as they list vegan, vegetarian, and some vegan friendly places. I always find great places there, BUT sometimes it is worth it to look in a traditional guidebook. Sometimes they have recommendations that might be serving meat and dairy, but will have some great vegan options. Pick your favorites, and check out their menu online. Perhaps you find a place from the tour guide and it is listed on Happy Cow too, perhaps that is a sign that the restaurant is very good? Plus you might find some ethnic restaurants that are listed in a tour guide but aren’t on Happy Cow. Happy Cow tries to only list vegan and vegetarian places. When they list omni restaurants they tend to be organic or farm to table.
The next step I do is try googling “eating vegan in [insert town name here].” Seems pretty lame but you can get some interesting results. I am always hoping to find blogs that have vegan eating guides. For example, when searching for places in Frederick I found this blog post about Volt. I don’t think my husband and I will be eating here, but it was nice to see a breakdown of the food for that restaurant. And perhaps one day it will be someplace to keep in mind if we visit the area again.
The last thing you will want to do is refresh yourself with vegan options with major chains. Remember your favorites, then look to see if they have a location nearby. My stand bys are Chipotle and Panera, but the two locations aren’t in the city in Frederick, but are within a 20 minute drive. Perhaps this is too far away? Googling even if you aren’t sure what is near you, can help prevent sudden hangry moments. Or having a significant other guilt trip you for having a lunch of McDonalds french fries. Guys, it totally happens.
Build a Plan
Now it time to pool all your research together. Where are you staying? What are they providing? Where are you going? What type of activities are you doing? What restaurants are on your “must lists”? From here, you can fill in your holes. You don’t need to plan your trip to a T, but you will want to know pack. So here is my break down of our Frederick trip.
- Staying at an Air BnB. We are able to use the kitchen
- We arrive around noon on a Thursday, probably want to pack a lunch for the road.
- We really want to go to Glory Donuts, so breakfast on Friday and Saturday will probably be there
- We have a wedding on Friday night, so we don’t have to plan on bringing a dinner, though we will probably want to bring some fruit and snacks
- We want to climb a mountain one of the days were are there, probably Friday or Saturday before we drive home
- Two booze tours: Flying Dog (probably Thursday) and Distillery Lane Ciderworks (most likely Saturday before leaving)
So that leaves us having to plan dinner for Thursday night, lunch on Friday, and Saturday. I quickly looked for a place for dinner, and found The Orchard to fill in that gap. Then we could either go to That Hummus Place that we found via Happy Cow or plan on making our own lunches. We might want to prep our own lunches on the day we hike a mountain, and we have access to a kitchen so that seems plausible. Thinking of snacks is always important as well. I always pack way more than what we need, protein bars, peanut butter single servings, instant oatmeal, apples, re-usable water bottles, etc. Whatever you think is good.
Also think about what is important for the trip. Are you visiting something specific? Like going to Iceland to see aurora borealis? Is it to soak up the local color? Is it for work? To see a concert? Maybe you are going to wedding/anniversary? These things might change your decisions on eating out. I know my husband and I like to eat out for dinner when traveling, more so than eating out for breakfast and lunch. Maybe you don’t agree. And that is fine. Do whatever you think works best for you.
What to Bring or Make
So as I mentioned we would think about making out own lunch. But maybe you need to make your own breakfast? Here is a nice little list of things you can bring or prep.
- buy single soy milk containers, cereal, and fresh fruit for cereal *tip bring a cooler and use an ice machine, warm milk cereal BLOWS*
- use your coffee maker in your hotel room to heat water up for instant oatmeal
- if you have access to a kitchenette, you can bring a blender with you to make fresh smoothies. *note don’t rinse your blender in the bathroom sink*
- bagel with vegan cream cheese, hummus, or PB & J
- bring yogurt, granola, and fruit to make your own vegan parfait
- if eating out, look for fruit bowls, oatmeals, bagels or toast with jam, juices, and soy milk options
- pack muffins you made before going on vacation
- cook a large batch of porridge, grits, steel cut oats, etc so you can microwave it in the hotel room
- make simple sandwiches, splurge on deli meats and faux cheese to make quick sandwiches with lettuce, I dig Daiya provolone slices and Field Roast mushroom deli slices
- pack premade chickpea, “egg”, faux chicken, etc salad so you can make sandwiches with them
- cook rice and beans and bring with burrito wraps and tinfoil. You can make quick burritos for lunch in parks and trails.
- Bring a small skillet and you can make a grilled cheese sandwich with your coffee maker
- boil broccoli, carrots, pretty much any veggies in your coffee pot
- use the hot water from your coffee pot to make instant ramen, yes there are vegan ones out there, you just need to search a little
- buy couscous packs, to cook all you need to do is add hot water and steam it
- you can boil vegan hot dogs in your coffee maker
- pack a cutting board and knife, or prechop veggies before leaving to have lots of salads, buy the pre-washed greens to make your life easier
- buy pre-packed baked tofu for making salads, sandwiches, or wraps
- look around at your local or a health food store where you vacationing, look for foods that could be boiled or just needs hot water added
- use leftovers from your dinners, for example if you didn’t eat all your veggie burger, wrap it up!
- if you are feeling adventurous, pre-bake some cookies, you’ll always need them
- bring apples, peaches, berries, any type of fruit, it can be hard to get your veggies in when eating out
- nutritional bars, I always pack store bought – NOT HOMEMADE bars because you can keep them in your backpack/purse when you aren’t near any vegan options but are starving
- splurge in the health food store, grab any vegan chips, popcorn, candy bars, cookies, etc that you wanted to give a try, go ahead treat yourself
Clearly there are more options out there. I always suggest to check out health food stores in the area as there are always different region brands. So you might not be able to get FRESH vegan food, but you will get something local or unique to the area. Farmer Market’s also give some more choices that might not have been listed on Happy Cow, or on blogs. For example, I know there is a company called She’s Got Balls that sells vegan and raw treats at farmer markets and festivals, but isn’t listed on Happy Cow.
I hope this helped out any vegan noobies, or anyone who had a terrible time traveling with a vegan diet. Also keep in mind, you can’t be perfect. If you are going to a very un-vegan area and they put butter on your veggies, try not to sweat it. Only one deep fryer? Is it so horrible to get your fries grilled in the same place as the chicken? Should you be concerned about the animal based fortified vitamins in mass produced cereals? This isn’t a pass to eat all the chicken and beef you can, but let’s be realistic, the world isn’t vegan. And without a kitchen it can be a little hard.
Sadly I couldn’t exicute the original plan for this post. Alexa and I were going to do a joint post of us having a debate on tacos vs burritos. Alexa was all set to make a drawing of us and all. BUUUUT…. she had some issues at work where they were suddenly down a person. We’ve all been there with small businesses, someone is fired, has to leave suddenly, or your boss refuses to replace someone and you find yourself working over 40 hours. So she worked a lot of days in a row and needed a break. Then my husband had to work on an emergency project over the weekend and hogged the computer so I really didn’t touch it. I actually had to plug our old computer in to make the post on Saturday. But luckily I’ve been meaning to post this recipe on this tomatillo tofu burrito.
I might be a little biased in the Taco and Burrito debate. I worked at Animo in the past, and their specialty is burritos. They get pretty creative with it, pretty much pushing boundaries between wrap and burrito. Hey I am cool with that because there is something very satisfying about having hot beans mixed with cold lettuce. I do like tacos, but oddly I don’t make them often. Maybe because I usually don’t plan a meal, and just kind-of pile stuff on. So the end results are too many flavors. But some days I get my shit together and hold back on making too many fillings with my Kohlrabi Kimchi & Adzuki Bean Tacos and Miso-Harissa Acorn Squash Tacos. Burritos are a little hard to add too much. Just rice, beans, salsa, and an add in (tofu in this case, but roasted veggies are pretty good too!)
And what I love about burritos is the portability! If I wanted to have tacos for lunch I would have to store everything in their own containers. Then build them like a homemade lunchables. I wasn’t into them when I was little, so I am still not into it as an adult. But burritos are all wrapped up and ready to go. Just roll in tin foil and twist the ends. Burritos work with a lot of leftovers to hide them as something much more interesting. For example a lot of leftover stews and curries I wrap up in a burrito with leftover rice. That’s it! You can sometimes switch it up. For example I leftover chili and made various types of burritos using different leftovers, sometimes rice, sometimes with lettuce, sometimes with tofu, sometimes different salsa, etc. It makes the lunch fun and interesting.
The secret to a good burrito is portions. If you are using rice and beans, I keep the ratio 43% rice, 52% beans, 5% salsa. Just a slight bit more beans than rice, and a little bit of salsa so the rice isn’t too dry. When you are having a filling like tofu or veggies I make it about 32% rice, 32% beans, 32% filling, 4% salsa. You will get a burrito that isn’t going to leak all over your hands. And there is enough rice to keep the burrito form. Check out that photo below! Keeping to the almost equal portions equation!
These burritos take a good bit of time to make, but need very little actual active time. Sometimes I double the beans and rice so I can make leftovers with it. But this amount should be enough for about 4-5 burritos, depending on how much you stuff your flour tortillas. Learning how to wrap a solid burrito might take some time, but when you figure it out, you will really impress people, making this a great dinner for guests.
I may have fallen behind on my posts. I think I will be short one post in the end, which is fine since I didn’t like some of the later prompts. See on Friday I got a call from my Father in law. Turns out he had tickets to go see Houndmouth in New York City. But his wife was sick and couldn’t go. He would of asked Jon but he knew that he was swamped with work. So I figured why the hell not? Surely seeing a concert is much more important than staying at home working on a blog post, which I think most MOFOers would agree. So I went and had fun.
The band was great, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the crowd. I’ve been to a bunch of concerts including D’espairs Ray and Gwar, and I have NEVER seen so much drinking. Like I was on the balcony looking down thinking “I see a lot of beer cans, does this always happen and I just don’t have a birds eye view?” Then while leaving there was just tons of beer soaking on the ground from people dancing with their beer cans. NEVER had that happen before. Well, I guess it could of happened at Gwar, but then got covered by mystery liquids. But it wasn’t like the crowd is obnoxious drunk, they were pretty enthusiastic. I just tend to not like when the crowd is more enthusiast than me about music, probably. Oh and the pot. So much pot being smoked. ANYWAYS…. moving to the prompt…
I am snowed in and can’t leave the house! What will you do?! I had to think hard about how to interpret this prompt. See I am a pretty good planner. My mother worked weird hours, so she would make a habit of picking out meals for each day of the week, then shopping for all the meals. So if it snowed hard, I would continue to just make what I was planning for dinner. So then I tried to dig deeper into the prompt, what would prevent me from making a dinner? Power outage! I have a gas stove so I could still cook, just couldn’t open the fridge really. So this dish uses all shelf stable ingredients- or fresh… okay technically I used homemade stock, but store bought stock works fine! I also used fresh tomatoes, but canned crushed tomatoes work great too.
So pretty much the only “fresh” ingredients would the spaghetti squash itself and onion/garlic that is chopped up. I think most seasoned cooks always buy bags of onions and has a bunch of garlic on hand. Spaghetti squash not so much. I am not a big fan of spaghetti squash, but I always get some from the farm. I am always trying to expand my palette so I always force myself to eat the squash that is given to me. It isn’t like I don’t like the taste, it is just such a weird texture that I never know what to do with it. Then I saw online that a spaghetti squash could be used in a soup. I thought this would be more interesting than just subbing pasta for squash, like most recipes.
The end result was a thick stew. The red lentils are super cooked, and perhaps slightly “dal-ish.” I loved how the spaghetti squash sort of holds all the parts of the soup together. The active time is pretty low, and there is lots of downtime. But I think this would be a great soup for a snowy day.
Oh and you know how I mentioned how I don’t really like spaghetti squash? Well almost every year I grab the squash, then somehow get my in-laws squash from their CSA share. So the squash last even LONGER! It kind-of gets pushed aside because it lasts longer than say, ripe tomatoes. So by the time I made this soup, the seeds in the squash started to sprout! It was pretty crazy! At first I thought that here was a worm in my squash, nope just the sprout.
I love Korean culture. I use to be big on jpop (which is probably obvious since I posted about a Japanese singer yesterday) and would always try to keep up music from other Asian cultures, Korea, Thailand, China, etc. But finding Korean artists was hard, I was a huge fan of Baby V.O.X, S.E.S, Loveholic, Clazziquai, Se7en, H.O.T, BoA and Lee Hyori. Then there was a huge boom of korean music. 2NE1, T-ara, Big Bang, IU, Wonder Girls, and then all the sudden the underground music started to become easy to access. Korean music even started to become part of American culture! Wonder Girls toured with Jonas Brothers, 2NE1 has a song featured in an American commercial, and Emma Stone professes her love of 2NE1. So I am putting together a little Korean starter kit for readers. What should you cook, how to eat the Korean way, and what you should be listening to while cooking.
Korean eating is serious business. There are lots of food to prepare for a traditional meal with the family. Unlike Western culture, families stay together. Children live with their parents until they get married, and even when that happens sometimes they will still choose to live with their parents (usually when their parents retire, get too old to live by themselves). The dinner is filled with lots of banchan, which are usually various kimchis/pickles and veggies. They are served in many dishes on the table and you grab and eat with your bowl of rice. A lot of the sides are naturally vegan, though they are often paired with non-vegan foods:
- Seasoned Cucumber
- Cabbage Kimchi
- Mung Bean Salad
- Pan Fried Tofu
- Steamed Eggplant
- Sweet Potatoes
- Soybean Side Dish
What to Listen to:
2NE1: If you need something boombastic, 2NE1 will get your pumped to chop some freaking onions. I recommend I Am The Best, because you are in fact the best at chopping.
Big Bang + T.O.P + G-Dragon: This group is under the same label as 2NE1 and have some great tunes as well. I personally love T.O.P and G-Dragon, who have done some solo releases and some songs exclusively together.
Eating alone is a big social taboo in Korea. As mentioned above, families stay together for awhile, so there is in theory, no reason to eat by yourself. If you want to eat out, most restaurants actually sell food with the intention of sharing. You would buy a “set” according to the amount of people you are eating with. In fact some restaurants won’t let you eat by yourself, and require more than one person (which is used in the plot for episodes of Let’s Eat). It is common to eat as a group with friends, as a couple, or going out afterwork with coworkers. Pretty much everyone shares what is ordered at the table.
This is becoming a problem as it is becoming more and more common that children move out of their parents house to live by themselves (and by children I mean 20+ year olds XD) This means eating at home by themselves. So there is a movement of people who broadcast live of themselves eating, mukbangs. There is a video app in Korea that lets you watch free streaming videos. Then you can donate small amounts of money to the people you are watching. Some people can make a living from broadcasting videos, earning a lot more than they would from their traditional jobs. You can learn more about this culture from this YouTube Documentary. It is very interesting, though there are questions about the disorders that might associated with these videos, fixation on food, binge eating, anorexia, etc.
If you don’t mind watching a little non-vegan food (although it isn’t hard to imagine a vegan substitute) Eat Your Kimchi talks about mukbangs while doing a mukbang. It is weirdly interesting. Maybe we should start a vegan mukbang channel? XD
Veganism In Korea
The movement is still pretty small but is growing. There are a few restaurants popping up, mostly in Seoul. The chain Loving Hut has locations in korea. Eat Your Kimchi does a great video and blog post about the variety of food they have and directions on how to get there. They also did another video of a bakery in Itaewon (the foreigner district) called Plant. I recommend checking that video too since they give directions and such on how to get there. There are lots of restaurants in Korea that are popping up according to Happy Cow.
It is a movement that will probably take awhile since meat is viewed as a sign of wealth and health. Plus seafood and meat produces are introduced into meals in small amounts. And although animal by products like dairy aren’t used in traditional Korean foods, Western dishes are gaining popularity like cream cheese, milk, and other cheeses.
The good news? If it doesn’t have meat or seafood, there is a good chance it is vegan. Vegans are known as “strict vegetarians” so it must be somewhat common. Many of the sides are vegan, though stay away from kimchi as they usually have seafood stuffed in it. Tofu is a great source of protein that is easily found. And you may be surprised by some of the desserts that are vegan! Traditional desserts don’t use milk or eggs, so you can get some yummy mochi and other rice cakes.
As mentioned, most Korean dishes are served in small dishes, but there are few that can be eaten all by themselves. These are the foods you would get at a restaurant, although they are usually serves with little sides as well.
- Bibimbap – Sizzling Rice Bowl
- Spicy Rice Cakes
- Jajangmyeon – Black bean noodles
- Scallion Pancakes
- Kimbap – Korean “sushi”
Dramas to Watch:
Coffee Prince: Netflix & Hulu
Although I love Asian dramas, they are very different from the US. They don’t have seasons, they are more like mini-series. And there are lots of cultural differences. But I think the first drama I watched and though “Any American would love this” was Coffee Prince. The story is about a girl, Eunchan, who works so hard to support her family that she sacrifices her girlish charm. So many people confuse her as a boy as she has no shame taking up jobs that are traditionally for males. After a misunderstanding, she finds herself having to pose as a boy to get a job at a coffee shop, and falls in love with her boss. Clearly we can see the issue here right? It is a great show, and doesn’t have too many stylistic choices that might isolate Western viewers. But a word of caution that Korea is a little behind on gay acceptance, so the show was pretty groundbreaking. Oh and I little tidbit, the main actress is a singer from Baby V.O.X, one of the groups I mentioned in the beginning of the post.
Dal Ja’s Spring: Hulu
Marriage is a huge deal in Korea. Confucianism rules Korean etiquette, and it views marriage as a necessary part of life. Which is why it seems odd to viewers that Dal Ja is 30, successful at her job, and still single. She gets hounded by her mother to start dating and get married, and is viewed as the equivalent of a spinster. That all changes when she bumps into a male “gigolo,” Taebang, who pretends to be boyfriends for single women. Taebang find himself coaching Dal Ja how to win her perfect dream date. The story is great, and there are lots of fun and interesting characters. It gives a little bit of a more realistic view of Korea’s dating scene, which pretty much means PEOPLE ARE HAVING SEX! It isn’t a risky show by US standards by any means, though.
The Master’s Sun: Hulu
This is one of the most unique dramas I’ve come across. Super natural elements aren’t exclusive to dramas, but it isn’t as common in romantic comedies. Gong-shil can see ghosts and she is terrified by them. Her whole life revolves around avoiding them. She can’t hold a normal job and becomes a recluse. Then she bumps into Joong Won, who apparently makes ghosts disappear by simply touching him. Gong-shil vows to stay by Joong Won’s side, but he is pretty much bachelor of the year, rich and handsome. But Joong Won finds some finical benefits to Gong-shil’s talent, and the two work together. I ended up watching this whole series with my husband and it translates well for Westerners. There are only a few cultural things going on, like knowing what a Korean funeral looks like, and knowing some Korean horror films. You don’t NEED to know these things to understand what is going on though.
100 Year Inheritance: Hulu
I normally don’t recommend these long dramas to people. But my god, this show is cray-cray! You hear people joke about over the top soap operas with eyepatches, evil twins, and the like. Well this pretty much puts those shows to shame. And you wouldn’t think you would be into it, but after each show I want more! I am pretty sure I neglected the blog for a few months just mindlessly watching this show. So what is it about? Hard to sum it up since there are many plots that evolve to a whole lot more. But the story opens with Chae Won, getting flack at a formal event. She huffs and puffs and leaves the event in a big scene, making the viewer think she is some rich bitch. Oh no, she was a poor girl who married into a rich family. The marriage was for love but her Mother in Law is convinced that she is trying to steal all of their money. We find out Chae Won is a perfect bride and daughter in law but is brutally abused, verbally, mentally, and physically. She tries to escape the marriage, but fearing a huge pay off, the Mother in law kidnaps her and forces Chae Won into a mental institution. Look if you are still not convinced, there is like amnesia, semi-incest, and orphans. This show has it all.
Let’s Eat: Hulu
Remember me talking about Mukbangs? Well, kind-of serves the same purpose. I found myself spending many late nights watching this when my hubby was working late. Soo Kyung is recently divorced. She lives in her own apartment with her pomeranian and is loving her new independence. But she has a problem, she loves food. There are so many restaurants she wants to try but has shut herself out from other people. Until she befriends her neighbors, a young girl and younger male, using them to go to all the hot spots. No, the food in vegan, but some are close to it. It provided me with lots of inspiration. I think the only scene that didn’t make me drool was the Korean pizza. That stuff is funky.
I think the flavors of Korean foods are amazing, but they aren’t the most vegan friendly cuisine. That is why we need to eat Korean fusion meals. These are recipes that use or are inspired by Korean foods. So bashing on the authenticity, alright?
- Broccoli and Adzuki Bean Noodles
- Raw Kimchi Detox Soup
- Adzuki Bean Burgers
- Kohlrabi Kimchi and Adzuki bean Tacos
- Kimchi Lentil Pasta
- Tofu Bibimbap Sandwiches
- Kimchi, Mac, & Cheese
- Korean Fried Cauliflower
Korean Drinking Culture:
Maybe you want to serve some booze with your Korean dinner. And that probably an authentic audition. Koreans can sure drink. There are some rules to drinking, like you aren’t suppose to pour your own glass, someone else must fill your drink up. When you take a sip of your drink you must face away from your elders, which you see often in Korean shows and movies. So what should you be drinking? I am only listing options I have found in the US.
Beer – Yes there are a few Korean beers. The major brand that is available in the US is Hite, which isn’t very good. But microbreweries are slowly growing in Korea.
Soju– This is the most popular drink in Korea. It isn’t uh… pleasant, like cheap vodka. The strength in between a hard liquor and a glass of wine. You drink it in little shot glasses, and compliments many of the spicy dishes.
Cheongju– This is a clear rice wine, basically the Korean equivalent of sake. Actually, there are many different names for Rice Wine as it is made in many parts of Asia. It is just that sake is more well known. You can usually find these in the US labeled as sake but will have korean letting.
Makgeolli– This is another type of rice wine. This one is unique because it is a milky color. Usually there is some pulp in the drink, varying in the amount according to the region. This wine is also lightly carbonated, making a really unique drink for Westerners.
Fruit Wines– I’ve seen both raspberry and blueberry fruit wines from Korea in the US. In Korea it is common to include grains in their wines, so you get a flavor that is different than some of the Western fruit wines. Korean versions are also much sweeter but have a more complex flavor.
I love YUKI. Most people don’t know who the heck she is, and I don’t blame most western readers! YUKI is a singer from Japan, and I fell in love with her lead vocals in the band Judy and Mary. I pretty much love all projects and collaborations that YUKI does including a duet with Chara, an album with some B-52 members, and her superband Mean Machine. And if you click on any of those links- sorry for the low quality videos. The songs are pretty old, 13-15 years old, plus Japan doesn’t really like using YouTube as a way to promote music videos.
My love for YUKI got stronger as I got older because of her bold personality. She is creative, spunky, cute, and sexy all into one. Then as she went solo, she got married, had children, and snag about it all. She seemed grounded, and still continues to sing even with children, which isn’t that common on Asian countries. She has released lots of photograph books, novels, and drawings that show she really does more than just music. Oh her music videos are visually awesome!
I picture YUKI being a pretty traditional Mom. So I imagine her making homemade Japanese style curry from scratch. She would probably use Beyond Meat Chicken-free Strips since she friggin loaded, and because she just doesn’t have time to make her own seitan. If you want you can use a curry packet, I found that some of the Japanese curry packets are actually vegan, but still read the backs before buying. I find Japanese foods love to sneak in bonito flakes at any given chance! Also check thetonkatsu sauce when buying it in a store. The brand I bought was vegan, but there weren’t any others to compare ingredients to. Making this curry at home isn’t that much extra work. All you need to do cook a roux in another small pot, adding maybe like 5 extra minutes to the cook time.
YUKI would be a little fun so I think she would shape her rice into animals for her kids. This isn’t very hard, and I was even able to do it with brown rice! Just try and get a short grained brown rice, and I got sticky results using this method. Remember- steaming the rice afterwards is key and you will want to let the rice start way before you start the curry so it can cool down to comfortably shape it. Oh! And don’t forget to wet your hands, otherwise all the rice will stick to your hands. I used nori sheets and kitchen shears to cut out facial features. This makes the rice characters cute, and the nori melts in the curry, giving you some extra vitamins and much needed iodine.