Friday, June 18, 2010

Home made, sort of, vegan value meal

The other day, I was craving a chicken tender value meal from Wendy's. I contemplated going through the drive through and just getting fries, then going home and eat something else. I've done that before. But, that's kinda nasty. I resisted.

Instead, I dug into my freezer for a quick fix. I'm not always in the mood for the most healthy vegan meals. So, I made my own fast-food type vegan value thing.

Sweet Potato Fries

Soy "Chicken" Nuggets (Trader Joes)

Organic, Unsweetened Ketchup

Put it all together, and I got this after about 20 minutes in the oven:

It was not quite as satisfying, but by the end I didn't care. I was super full. I liked it. It was easy and prep free. Sometimes, that's all I want.

Friday, June 11, 2010

8 oz. of...meat

Well, I don't feel great about this, but this is what this blog is all about for me. Documenting my successes, failures, all of it. It's to motivate me, and hopefully help others.

2 weekends ago, I wasn't feeling great. I was hungry. I needed something satisfying. I was craving a burger from this place, 8 oz., I had been to many times in my omnivore days, and a few times since for a veggie burger. But, this time, my nostalgia for a real burger came over me. I really wanted one. So, I researched where they got their meat from, and it was from Estancia ranch. They claim the following on their website:

"We only sell beef from animals that graze in pastures on fresh green grass – no feedlots, ever... At Estancia, we raise healthy animals without using any growth hormones or growth promoting antibiotics. Our animals live their entire lives on the free range."

This was good enough for me, at the time. I know from reading Eating Animals that no matter how the animals live, even in the best of circumstances, of which I believe Estancia qualifies, the kill floors in the processing plants are a horror show. This did not deter me this time.

It's the first time I've had actual meat since going vegan. And it went down as easily as it would have a year ago, before going vegetarian. Satisfied.

I can't really say I regret it. I wouldn't have done it if I was going to beat myself up over it. It's crazy how what used to be something that required no thought now is a huge endeavor. What it showed me is how powerful my habits and rituals involving food are. They really drive my behavior. It's like an imprint in my brain that craves to be remembered. I just need more practice and it will get easier with time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BP Protest in L.A.—on bikes!

This happened over a week ago, but I'm a bit back logged on my blog. And this isn't really a vegan story. Rather, something I was happy to see as someone who is concerned about the environment. That's a major reason I became vegan.

I was driving to the West side of L.A. on a Friday (maybe Saturday) night, and right as I was approaching Olympic and Robertson I saw a huge group of bicyclists in the intersection. This sometimes happens since there are riding groups in L.A. But, they didn't go anywhere. They just kept coming and coming, blocking the intersection, and chanting "F*ck BP"! Cars were honking, passersby were looking, cars were turning around—it was awesome. I was happy to be inconvenienced in this traffic. Apparently they went all around Hollywood and West Hollywood. Here's a video of a similar scene from that night:


This corner is also the location of BP's ARCO station that's "greener" than other stations. It actually looks really awesome. BP is going to have to do a lot more than build one awesome gas station to be a green company now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I just reached a milestone—100 followers on Twitter! And I'm pretty sure none of them are spam. They're legit. OK, I know. n00b.

All About Vegan Mac & Cheese

Guilty. I've always loved Mac and cheese. And this is probably my 5th post about it. But, I do have 2 great finds to report for my fellow mac-and-cheese-heads. So, without further ado:

Number 1: Leahey's Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix

I read about this stuff on another blog, Vegan Incognito, and decided to give it a try. There's no limit to the ends I'll go to to find a good mac and cheese. So, I bought it mail order, it was back ordered, but I finally got it. And let me tell you, this stuff rocks! Is it the yumminess that Kraft has? No. But that's impossible.

This stuff was super easy to make. I just put the powder in a pan and mixed it with Rice Milk once my noodles were almost done cooking. It takes like 3 minutes. There's no powder poppin' either. The stuff just melts right away, and gets creamy fast. I tried a finger dip and I got excited. I poured it on my noodles and was delighted. It was creamy, yummy and easy. Two thumbs up.

Ok, next up.

2: Mac & Cheeza

I heard about this place on NPR. I think it was a show called "Good Food." The guy was going off on how good the stuff was, and all the toppings they had to go along with it. It drove me nuts. Then, he mentioned at the very end of the story that they had a vegan and gluten-free option. Wha-wha-what? I walked in that place's door within 3 days of hearing this. It's in downtown L.A. (and they have a Bakersfield location)

First things first. This place is a bit pricey. It's 10 bucks for the medium sized portion, which is big but it's also 10 bucks. There is a 5 dollar option. But the medium (Momma Mac as they call it) is worth every penny. I got the vegan cheese (regular noodle) with sauteed collard greens, and crushed toasted walnuts on top for crunch (included). I almost got the veggie sausage. Anyway, this place crushes any vegan mac and cheese there is. That's it. It's the best. Next time, I think I'm just gonna go straight up cheese. No nothing. Pure.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Review: Chipotle Vegan Meat

When I walked into Chipotle last week, I was surprised to see this sign:

I knew that they were testing it, but didn't expect to see it at the Woodland Hills location (near my office) this soon. Usually, I just get the veggie burrito which consists of black beans, rice, peppers and onions, guacamole and salsa. But, I wanted to support Chipotle's decision to have a vegan meat option. I figure at  this point it's still in the testing phase, and will get killed if not enough people buy it.

Well, for all I care they can get rid of it. I'm sticking with my veggie version. Overall, I'm not a huge fan of fake meats. But this stuff was just weird. It's small little rectangles, pretty chewy and almost flavorless. It must be highly processed so nutritionally it's not doing much for me either.

I say, try it if you want. I've read some people love it. It's just not for me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New vegan water bottle

I love my new tk: aro water bottle. It's about the cost of a Sigg bottle at $32, but far superior for a few reasons.

I used to have a Sigg, but I dropped it a few times, and it dented a bit. no big deal. But one day I happened to drop it and pour the water into a glass when I got home. There were little metal shreds in it from the inside of the bottle bending/cracking. No good in my book. Plus, they're super hard to clean. The mouth is so small. And I've left it upside down on my dish rack to dry for days and it never seems to get completely dry. That must breed bacteria.

So, when I was on one of my favorite sites, coolhunting, I found the tk: aro. Below is a picture of it, drained, on my desk.

It just looks bad ass for one thing. That counts in my book. But, it has many advantages. For one thing, it's a glass. So, there's no metallic taste or worries of plastic ingestion from traditional water bottles. The mouth is wide like a drinking glass so it's easy to clean. And the thing is about 80% metal once the top is screwed on. The bottom is thick like a wine bottle, so it's pretty darn durable. Drawbacks? I won't be taking this thing on a hike.

Lastly, and very importantly, it's made of recyclable materials: metal and glass. And vegan.