Posts Tagged vegan

cookbook review: Let Them Eat Vegan!

Let Them Eat Vegan! by Dreena Burton. Publisher: Da Capo (March 2012).
Cookbook. Health/Diet. 288 pages. 978-0738215617.

User-friendly, family friendly positive cookbook with recipes that should appeal to all age ranges and varied palates. Pretty straightforward recipes. She includes “Kid Friendly” and “Adult Minded” tips on certain recipes to make them more appealing for whomever you’re serving. As Dreena Burton is a stay-at-home-mom of several children there are lots of recipes that appeal to kids. “Cheesy” things. Finger foods. Bonus for an entire section devoted to veggie burgers.

The negative: I don’t have a lot of the necessary ingredients on hand. My go-to cookbook VEGANIMICON tends to use ingredients in its recipes which I have or can get pretty easily. Something like chia seeds or agar powder isn’t found at the grocery store.

I made Boulangerie beans and potatoes. White beans with thinly sliced potatoes layered on top, covered with vegetable broth (I used butternut squash soup because I had some around I wanted to use). It’s a different way to make potatoes. Yummy.

I’ll definitely try tapioca pudding, Quinoa Nicoise salad, “No-fu Love Loaf,” Mediterranean Bean Burgers, Wonder Bean Puree and White Bean Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce.

Sections: Breakfasts Bites and Smoothies; Salads That Make a Meal; Proud to Be Saucy and Dippy; Vegan Soup for the Soul; Side Stars; Your Main Squeeze; Casseroles, One-Pot Wonders, and Tarts; When Burgers Get Better; Good Pasta Belongs on a Plate—Not the Wall; C Is for Cookie, That’s Good Enough for Me; Let Them Eat Cakes, Pies, and Puddings; Dreena Dazs (ice cream)


purchase at Amazon: Let Them Eat Vegan!: 200 Deliciously Satisfying Plant-Powered Recipes for the Whole Family

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cookbook review: Alternative Vegan

Alternative Vegan, by Dino Weierman. Publisher: PM Press (2012).
Cookbook. 142 pg.

One of my favorite Simpsons scenes finds Marge and Homer at some vegetarian friends home. Chickpeas and something is the answer every time the Indian couple gets asked what’s in a dish. I love chickpeas. I love lentils. And quinoa and kale and tomatoes and cauliflower. In this cookbook, chef Dino Weierman shares recipes for what he calls “international vegan fare.”

He remains chatty throughout and says things such as:

Veganism is a moral stance. It’s a political statement. At its core, it states unabashedly that the exploitation of animals is wrong.”

Veganism is not a diet. . . It’s understanding that your “choice” to use animals means that you deny the animals’ choice in their own lives.

Sections on kitchen tools; cooking techniques; meals in one pot; basic dishes; more complex; sauce; dished to impress and easy peasy

I made some Simple Spiced Cauliflower. Curry. Yummy. New way to prep cauliflower.

The potato rounds are super simple too.

Will make the more difficult biryani and try the Quick Chickpea Soup. Usually I don’t follow a recipe to make a salad but often I copy something I ate in a restaurant [the Mediterranean salad from John Harvard’s Brew House or the Waldorf salad from Not Your Average Joe’s for example]. His Palm Hearts salad sounds quite delicious and I intend to make it soon.

Dino’s website

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cookbook review: New American Vegan

New American Vegan , by Vincent J. Guihan. Publisher: PM Press (2011). Vegan cookbook. Paperback, 225 pg.

“Cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, bees, and other animals have nerves, memories, fears, wants, and interests just like cats and dogs—just like you and I do.”

New American Vegan opens with a very thoughtful and thorough introduction on being vegan and why author Vincent Guihan went vegan. Guihan has chapters on techniques and tools; soup; sauces; side dishes; sietan & potatoes; desserts. There’s an excellent index at the back of the cookbook.

There is the Best lentil soup recipe EVER—Old-Fashioned Hearty Lentil & Vegetable Soup—I will make this again and again. I’ll also make the Mango Chili with Tahini Cheese & Cilantro as well as the Stick-to-Your-Ribs Yellow Split Pea & Greens soup. Obviously I like to make soup.

Guihan devotes an entire chapter on sauces. “Sauces and dressings are prominent in many cuisines. They both add high points of flavor and color to a dish.” He claims that every vegan has/uses a lot of sauces. Well, not this vegan. I use salad dressing, salsa and stir fry sauce. That’s it. I don’t put sauce on everything I consume. Guess I’m more of a no-frills vegan. I like the taste of most veggies, grains and fruits as it. Maybe a touch of spices.

The recipes are just a bit too wordy for me. Plenty of soup recipes in this cookbook which is a great thing. Many recipes needed too many ingredients or called for something I didn’t have in my pantry. With Veganimicon and The Moosewood Cookbook, I don’t think I’d be grabbing this one too often.

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cookbook review: Appetite for Reduction

Appetite for Reduction , by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Publisher: Da Capo Press/ Lifelong Books (January 2012). Cooking/Diet. Paperback, 290 pg.

I love Isa. I use Vegan with a Vengeance and Veganimicon all the time. I follow her on twitter and read the recipes she posts on her website Post-Punk Kitchen. When I heard she’d written Appetite for Reduction, I knew I’d want to make some of the recipes part of my vegan diet. The cookbook contains 125 low-fat vegan recipes—salads, soups, chili & stews, veggies, side dishes, pasta, beans, tofu & tempeh.

Isa writes:
“Low-fat cookbooks can be a war zone for women. I wanted to create something fun and positive, something that would empower you in the produce aisle and give you a reason to sport that cute vintage apron. I want you to love your kitchen, love yourself, and, yeah, maybe to love tofu just a little bit, too.”

In using any of Isa’s cookbooks, I feel like she’s right by my side as I chop veggies or make soup. Appetite for Reduction features conversational language, side bar tips [cooking/shopping/basic food information], nutritional guides, nutritional tips and simple yet tasty recipes. I’m looking forward to trying many recipes in Appetite for Reduction.

Here are the recipes I tried:

Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa salad– delicious and easy. Makes a huge amount. Excellent mix of textures and flavors. Will absolutely make this again

Caulipots—a super yummy, quick and nutritious half-half cauliflower-potato mash. glorious comfort food without feeling to full or guilty.

Chili-Lime-Rubbed Tofu—relatively easy. Very tasty. I’ve actually never baked tofu. I just buy it at Whole Foods. So this is good. Perhaps a bit too much lime juice tangy when I expected more chili burn.

purchase at Amazon: Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

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Forks Over Knives: DVD/netflix streaming

Forks Over Knives is one of the most effective documentaries about going vegan that I’ve seen [better than Food Inc. and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead]. It provided me with more arguments to use when someone wonders why I’m a vegan and if I’m truly getting all the proper nutrients etc. Yes I am. I feel better than I would if eating dairy or fish and I’ve not eaten meat since I was 18. Forks Over Knifes shows how doctors made a link between some of the most serious chronic conditions [diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease] and the consumption of a whole foods plant-based diet. Some of these conditions get completely reversed by changing one’s eating habits.

–40% of Americans are obese
–The U.S. spends $2.2 trillion on healthcare, which is 5x the defense budget
–Per person, Americans consume 222 lbs of meat, 147 lbs of sugar and 605 lbs of dairy annually
–increased dairy consumption leads to increases incidences of osteoporosis and hip fractures

for more info: Forks Over Knives website

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STEELE INTERVIEWS: singer/drummer Amanda Spring of Point Juncture, WA

The Pacific Northwest has a thriving music scene these days with talented bands such as The Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie, among others. Only recently, I’ve discovered the brilliant Point Juncture, WA. Intriguing arrangements, varied instrumentation, thoughtful lyrics, yearning and honeyed vocals, feverish melodies all combine to make Handsome Orders an album to play again and again.

Amanda Spring [vocals, drums], Victor Nash [keyboards, vocals], Skyler Norwood [drums, bass] and Wilson Vediner [guitar] comprise the Portland, Ore. band Point Juncture, WA. Amanda and Victor bought a house and built a recording studio in it so that the band can record and engineer their music. Handsome Orders is the band’s fourth release.

I recently spoke with Amanda Spring.

Amy Steele: How did you all meet and decide that being a band would work?

Amanda Spring: Victor and Wilson and I went to high school together in southern Oregon. Portland was the obvious destination for many of our musician friends and other creative types who wanted to remain Oregonians but also have a vibrant scene. Once in Portland, I met Skyler in a recording class and he made me laugh so we became fast friends. Then he recorded our first EP “Juxtapony” at his studio and we included his name among the members on the CD in jest. And what is written becomes true. We have had other members through the years but we are a four piece now.

Amy Steele: Not many women are drummers. What has been your experience as a female drummer?

Amanda Spring: I’ve had a great experience as both a female and a drummer. I think the “girls can’t rock” sentiment is confined to battle of the bands scenes in 80’s movies. Of course Portland is the “Girl’s Rock!” capitol. We even have camps for that sort of thing here. If there is criticism about my drumming behind my back then the joke’s on the hater because I can’t hear it! It’s not uncommon for at least one of the other bands on a bill we play to have a female drummer.

Amy Steele: how did you get into music yourself and learn to play drums and sing?

Amanda Spring: My parents were hippies and we always had a drum set on the school bus parked on the farm, so I dabbled over the years. Even now I wouldn’t say drummer if asked what I play because I have so many musical interests: Songwriting, singing, ukulele, bass, recording.

Amy Steele: what makes you work well together?

Amanda Spring: Point Juncture, WA works well together because we are all friends and we put in years of writing and recording and touring with each other and we’ve learned to let go: of expectations, of musical ideas not gelling, of grudges. People writing songs together (who are often from different backgrounds, music theory-wise) have to learn to communicate respectfully. For example, instead of saying “That part is so 90’s rock cliché” you might say “I could hear some more dissonance over that”. Moreover, if a song is not bringing us joy we just drop it and move on.

Amy Steele: The music industry has changed drastically, what have been your greatest challenges?

Amanda Spring: I am a successful musician because I am fulfilled artistically. I have a studio to record in 24-7. I get to play super fun shows with bands of my choosing and we produce albums that I think are good. It helps that I have side projects too. ioa is a 7 piece band that I lead on ukulele. Also, I play bass in a band called The Four Edge and I make hip-hop beats. I don’t know when it happened but I stopped caring about fame. If the shows are packed at a 300 capacity room I’m not pining over a 700. I’m through with that early 20’s itchy feeling of “when are we gonna get big”. Turning 30 in a few days. (Coincidence?)

Amy Steele: Being in Boston, I have to ask, what’s the story behind the song “Boston Gold?”

Amanda Spring: Unfortunately the title has no connection to the fair city. The lyrics “embossed in gold” just got misheard as “Boston Gold,” which sounds cooler!

Amy Steele: you grow your own food and camp on tour. How does this factor into touring?

Amanda Spring: Camping on tour is awesome if you build the extra time in for it. If there’s only time to sleep, a new friend’s couch is preferable. Camping or stopping to do a hike breaks up the monotony of driving and is a great time to either bond with your band mates OR get some space from them if they’re buggin. Also, beautiful landscapes + free time = song inspiration.

Amy Steele: What would you like to see changed for tours or at venues to make things more eco-friendly/ vegetarian/vegan-friendly?

Amanda Spring: If there was one change I could implore all venues to make in terms of vegan items it would be the milk. Lots of places already carry soy milk but there are such better alternatives. Rice! Almond! Just sayin’.

Amy Steele: Victor told me that you do all a lot the vegan cooking on the road. What are your fave things to cook or go-to recipes?

Amanda Spring: If a tour takes us through the Midwest I bring a grill and a cooler with some homemade sauces. Fall tours have a bonus of being harvest time, so I just pick everything from the garden which besides being delicious makes good gifts for the people we stay with. When we do go out to eat we usually opt for a grocery store, which is cheap and has something for everyone. Sitting in a van for hours a day is not great on the stomach, so eating fast food would just be adding insult to injury. It gets easier to be on tour as a vegan. Partly you learn what to have stocked up in the cooler and partly you learn to lose the feeling of entitlement that you should get a well-rounded vegan meal at every restaurant. After all, entitlement is what makes the SAD (standard American diet) prevail. It does heighten my emotions when I see the lack of options that pervade most of the country. It’s probably good to leave the vegan bubble of Portland to see what it’s like for most of the population. If my example (or BBQ tempeh) inspires anyone, then it’s good for the cause.

My favorite things to grill are veggies with teriyaki BBQ sauce: broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, mushroom. These are good choices because they don’t need steaming first. Tempeh is good too and couscous is easy on the road because it doesn’t take much cooking. I usually bring a big container of marinated tempeh from home in the cooler. Anything that you can make camping you can make in a parking lot. If you’ve got time to stop at a friend’s and use their kitchen before load-in the possibilities are endless. We also make a lot of hummus and veggie “vanwiches” and salads. Just stop to picnic at a rest stop that has running water to wash the dishes.

Amy Steele: What cities have the best vegan options?

Amanda Spring: The best cities for vegan food are what you’d expect: large metropolitan areas. Portland, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Denver, etc. The exciting thing is I’ve noticed vegan options sprouting up everywhere over the years. I think some of that is because people are really starting to look into allergies (thanks dairy-allergic people!) and because of college campuses. Students are the fastest growing sector of vegans. Let’s hope they stick to it after graduation.

Point Juncture, WA website

purchase album: Handsome Orders

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interesting facts gathered from SUPERFOODS by Tonia Reinhard

My favorite superfoods: Brussels sprouts; kale; quinoa; watermelon; winter squash; tomatoes; chickpeas; romaine lettuce; dark chocolate; and brown rice.


–Corn is a good source of vitamin C.

–Ginger contains properties to help w/ inflammation [and of course nausea and vomiting which is why ginger ale has been popular when people feel upset stomachs].

–The Incas called Quinoa chisaya mama — “mother of all grains.”

–Sage (Salvia officianalis)–Latin= save. Used by Greeks to treat snake bites. Contains antimicrobial/ antioxidant properties.

–Turmeric is medicinally utilized as an antiseptic and antibacterial.

–A dish prepared with spinach is called “Florentine” because in Florence in 1500s, spinach was Catherine de Medici’s favorite food.

–Spinach originated in Nepal.

–Cabbage is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

–Kale has two times the levels of antioxidants as other leafy greens. I love kale.

–Tea contains antioxidant phytochemicals which make teas beneficial in combating disease.

–Dark chocolate is a source of manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. It contains antioxidant flavonol which according to studies can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and reduce blood clotting.

–Asparagus has vitamins A, C, K and is high in fiber.

–Collard greens are high in calcium and potassium and antioxidants.

–Brussels sprouts contain omega-a fatty acids, 150% of daily recommend value of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

–Romaine lettuce has vitamins B1 and B2, vitamins A, C, and K plus iron and potassium.

–Chickpeas contain vitamins B6 and antioxidants.

–Sunflower seeds have vitamin B6, fiber, protein, iron and vitamin E.

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FOOD: Roasted acorn squash-couscous

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 c. couscous
2 c. water
1/4 c. dried apricots
1/4 c. golden raisins
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon

to roast the acorn squash, place the halves open side down on a baking sheet for approximately 25-30 min at 400 degrees. flip over and roast another 20-25 min. the squash should be easy to remove with a fork.

boil 2 c. water and add 1 c. couscous, reduce heat. cook for about 20 minutes until water absorbed.

remove squash from shells and stir into couscous.

add raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon and cut up apricots.

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Choice Quote: sexualization of eating meat

from New York Times

For a cultural observer like Carol J. Adams — a vegan-feminist intellectual who, in books like “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” has devoted much of her life to culling and analyzing images of women and food — the DIPE [documented instance of public eating] amounts to more than a playful wink. Sexualizing food, she argues, is a method of distracting carnivores from the gruesome reality of how their food is made.

“These images of women, whether they’re ads or they’re in magazines, they’re all saying the same thing: traditional consumption of women’s bodies and animals’ bodies is O.K.,” Ms. Adams said by phone from her home in Texas. “It’s like fraternity culture gone viral. ‘Consume what you want.’ And, ‘What you want to consume actually wants to be consumed.’ ”

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FOOD: Vegan Winter Mash


2 tsp cumin
2-4 cloves garlic
2 tsp sage
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 cup turnip, chopped
1 cup collard greens [any greens will work]
1 cup brown rice
1 cup orange or brown lentils
8 cups water

add olive oil to pan that’s on medium heat. add carrots, onions, cumin, garlic, sage and cook until onions and carrots are a bit softer. add in rice and two cups water. stir. add lentils and 4 cups water. mix in greens and turnip and 2 more cups water.

turn heat to high, bring to boil. lower heat and simmer approximately 40 minutes until liquid is absorbed and everything is tender.

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