Friday, April 30, 2010

File under "WTF?!"

So, apparently the milk industry is lobbying hard to define milk as a product that comes from a lactating animal. Never mind of course the pesky dictionary whose 3rd definition of the word milk is:

"A liquid, such as coconut milk, milkweed sap, plant latex, or various medical emulsions, that is similar to milk in appearance."

 It was the topic of discussion on a FOX NY morning show today. One anchor offered up "Soy Juice" instead of soy milk as an option. The other is whacked out of her skull. Check it out.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheese-less pizza drama

I used to love going to the Delancey in Hollywood for great pizza and a wide selection of Belgian beers on tap. I avoided it for a while after going vegan because I figured it would be too tempting, and there was no reason to go without eating the pizza.

Along came an idea. I'll just order a cheese-less pizza! Problem solved. I'm not 100% sure it's totally vegan, but I think it's close enough. I get the "Fulton" pizza, with braised artichoke and roasted garlic. It's really, really good. So good I don't miss the cheese.

Well, it was a good idea the first couple times. But the last time I was there, one of my favorite pizzas was sitting not more than 12 inches away at the table next to me. Covered in multiple awesome cheeses. My advice is this: If you are teetering on wanting a conventional, non-vegan pizza, avoid drinking Belgian beer and sitting a foot away from one. I didn't give in, but it's gonna be a while before I go back. I'm gonna have to get that image of that pizza out of my head.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vegan Meal at a wedding

Last weekend, I went to a great wedding. There wasn't a meal choice on the invitation, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, there were great vegan foods! There was hummus, pita and veggies for appetizers. And for the main course there was rice, pita, salad, and roasted veggies. It was definitely a full meal, and pretty tasty. (There was feta cheese on the salad and I tried to avoid it in my scoop. But, I caught a bit on a kalamata olive.)

However, I have to admit, I stuffed a couple bags of trail mix in my jacket pocket, just in case.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snail Saver

C'mon, snails. I read up on you, and I'm aware you don't have a spine or a brain. Apparently, you have a "set of ganglia (groupings of neurons) that distribute the different areas." Well, these ganglia need to distribute your slow crawling butts off the sidewalk and into the grass. The sidewalk in front of my apartment is a snail minefield.

Every time I see one, I pick it up and move it into the grass. Usually, it slips partly back in its shell as I do this. I wonder what they are not thinking in their non-brains as this is happening. Are their ganglia reacting as if I were wind? An earthquake? Are they terrified? Thankful? Well they should be thankful. I wouldn't eat them. I didn't eat them when I wasn't vegan, either. But now I'm the local snail saver. Their Superman®. Respect.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recall: Fatburger Post. It ain't vegan.

Well, it turns out my post regarding Fatburger was factually incorrect. As someone pointed out in the comments, it must have animal products since it has cholesterol. So, on my lunch break and in the Fatburger parking lot, craving a veggie Fatburger, I called them. I asked if the veggie burger was vegan, and the answer was no. It has cheese IN THE PATTY. What the hell? A veggie burger with cheese in it. Why not keep it out of the patty and put it on top if people want it? Well, that's not their style. So I had to go elsewhere that day. And Fatburger lunches are no more.

I'm probably better off anyway without it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day, dog treat

It was a very, very busy earth day for me. Slammed at work and worked late. And, I couldn't find my "we" shirt I wanted to wear. 

But, what a treat! My dog, Lark, was featured in an article for earth day about vegetarian and vegan diets for canines: Meat-free dogs give meaning to Earth Day. And there are few other good lookin' veggie pups as well!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vegan Tempeh Tacos

Soft tacos used to be a staple when I was eating meat. I'd Foreman Grill up some chicken, make some beans, top them with avocado and/or cheese and that was it. Easy, quick filling. But, I stopped eating them after going vegan because they seemed like they'd be empty. So I'd go with chips and guac and beans instead.

But a couple nights ago, I made something new: tempeh tacos. (by the way, I've never cooked tempeh before). They were awesome! And they're even faster to make than the chicken ones. I used LightLife three grain tempeh, cut it into 1/4 inch slices, and pan fried the strips til they were crispy.

While that was frying up, I put black beans in a small pot with some corn salsa, hot sauce, garlic, and red pepper. I mash them up a bit so they are sort of halfway between refried and regular beans. That's my fave. I flipped the tempeh. The, I made my guac with lemon juice, garlic, a dash of salt, red pepper and fresh jalapeno. That's it! My dinner was done.

I have to say, no b.s., they were awesome. The tempeh filled in perfectly for the chicken. It didn't taste like chicken, or much of anything, but it didn't need to. The beans, guac and hot sauce had tons of flavor. The tempeh just gave it texture and weight. Perfect. Plus, just a half package of tempeh has 20 grams of protein.

Recent eats, and some loose vegan recipes

1. Pasta
I've made whole wheat spaghetti, plain spaghetti, and other noodles in funky shapes. Sometimes I go all out and make a veggie sauce from scratch. Other times, I toss in a bit of olive oil spinach and/or and garlic and that's it. It's easy, fast, and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

2. Guacamole, beans, chips
I eat enough to fill me up for dinner. I'll mash up pinto beans and they look sort of refried. Other times I use the refried black or pinto beans from a can. I add some salsa and hot sauce and cumin to liven it up. While that's heating up, I make my guacamole. Usually I use 2 avocados, a few cloves of garlic, a splash of lemon juice, and a tiny dash of salt. Half a bag of chips, 2 avocados, and half a can of beans pretty much does it.

3. Hummus and pita
These are 2 ingredients I pretty much always have in the fridge. I'll garnish the hummus with sesame seeds, crushed red pepper and olive oil.

4. Indian food
I've been working a lot and eating out a lot lately, which I don't love. But, I do love Indian food. So I guess they cancel each other out. And lunch specials are the best cause you get lentils, rice, veggie dish, naan and a salad for about 7 or 8 bucks.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: California Pita

I had a surprisingly good vegan lunch the other day at California Pita. I ate some kabobs there once in my omni days and was not impressed. And Daphne's falafel sandwich leaves a lot to be desired. But, I was craving a sandwich, this place was close, and so I decided to give it a try. How bad could a falafel sandwich be? (Pretty bad, actually)

I was pleasantly surprised. It was large enough for my hefty appetite, and the falafel was fresh and hot. It also had some spinach mixed into it which was a nice touch. And they spared nothing when it came to ingredients. Plenty of falafel, hummus, tahini, cucumbers, tomatoes and a large (not really a pita in my book) wrap. It's one of those sandwiches you have to eat with a fork at first if you have any hope of getting it small enough to fit in your mouth and eat it like a normal sandwich. And at $5.99, you can't beat the price with a stick.

Lastly, I was impressed with the real plate and real metal fork. Not only does it give the food more respect and make it more appetizing, it's better for the environment. It's pretty rare to see this in a strip mall joint so I give them a big plus on that front.

I'll definitely be back. +1 California Pita.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Confessions of a Non-Vegan Roll Eater

Yep, yours truly. Those frickin' delicious dinner rolls from Miceli's that aren't quite vegan. I claimed back in February I wouldn't eat these rolls again. I referred to them in that post as "hot, fresh, gooey, crispy, delicious dinner rolls". That pretty much sums it up.

I've been back to Miceli's every other week as a little tradition. And every time I asked the waiter not to even bring them to the table. This time, I didn't catch the waiter in time, and...bam. There they were. I resisted them all throughout my meal.

But when I finished my pasta, I was still hungry. I looked at the rolls. I wasn't crazy about the idea of ingesting the dairy in them, albeit a very small amount. And I knew I had vowed to not eat them again. Then, I ate three of them. I rationalized it this way: being vegan to me means avoiding animal products by all practical means. Well, it wouldn't be very practical to throw away a basket full of rolls when I was sitting there hungry. So, I ate them, pretty guilt free. I'm still going to avoid them in the future.

I felt obligated to document this occasion. Next time I go I'll be sure to ask for no rolls, and maybe a salad to make sure I'm full.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A beautiful Sunday

I'm always surprised and delighted when I find out I've had an impact on anyone's life for the better, for any reason. And, it's even better when it's my Mom. We had a vegan breakfast Sunday morning at Mani's, and she mentioned she was tending to eat more vegan meals since I decided to change my eating habits. Awesome. It can only lead to good things!

I know I always say how great Mani's is, but it really is. They have so many vegan options, even vegan desserts, that it's hard to resist. It's a little pricey, but not outrageous. $10 - $13 for most breakfast items. I had the breakfast wrap (Black beans, guacamole, spinach, mushrooms, vegan tofu scramble in a whole wheat tortilla. Served with our Ranchero Sauce and Pico de Gallo.)  And after a great meal at Mani's, what better way to spend the afternoon than browsing the Melrose Trading Post.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My dog's a vegetarian

And her kibble is vegan. I've been slowly transitioning her off of meat based kibble and she's doing great! She still scarfs it down, loves the taste, and has tons of energy. And I have veggie treats that I've always given her. And her, um, business is just fine also.

This is the food she eats:

And these are the treats:

I add a few carrots and veggies and kitchen droppings in the mix now and then, and she's good to go! One happy pup.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Green Juice and Randomness

Here's what the contents of my green juices have been lately. Rice Milk, Pom/Blueberry juice, ground flaxseed, collard greens, frozen goji, blue and strawberries and a banana. It comes out sorta greenish brown. And tasty.

Also, I recently posted my McCruelty poster from my FREE McCruelty action pack in my office at work. It fits nicely between my "I SAVE" ING Direct bumper sticker and my "Follow a mind freed by massive choice" Veer stock photo page. And my elephant photo.  It's the little things.

And, finally, I took a picture of my dog Lark today and she just was looking ultra-cute. That's my last bit of randomness.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cutie Chameleon

My neighbor has a chameleon, and it was a perfect opportunity to try out my new iPhone photo filter. This thing is so cute.

Vegan Menu Review: The Desert Rose

Thursday night was a great experience at The Desert Rose in Los Feliz (Los Angeles). Be sure to ask for the vegan menu, they don't give it to you automatically. There's soups, salads, pizzas, tapas, and all kinds of good stuff. It had a guy playing the sax in the background, dim lighting, and outdoor patio with heat lamps, and a little bar. It's a nice ambiance.

And, it's right next door to Cruzer Pizza which boasts 100% animal-free, vegan ingredients. So, we got one. I'm in to pizza right now. It was a veggie special, and it was awesome!

But what really stood out was the eggplant soup I had for an appetizer. It was so unique and fantastic. Cream of eggplant with falafel dolops, Check it out:

I highly recommend the place, but at the very least get a pizza delivered from Cruzer.