This is the post you all think will be super annoying; preachy, holier-than-thou on our new vegan pedestal type post. But NO, this will not be that. This is not a post written to convert anyone to veganism. It will be an honest “what is great and what is not”. I want to share a couple of things because it is so much fun experimenting with new recipes to try (I’ll give you one of my everyday staples at the end of this). Maybe it’ll just inspire you to play with a vegan recipe or two. And also I am getting a lot of questions. 1) Yes, we are still eating vegan. 2) Yes, Dev loves it. And yes, so do I–it’s clearly my new obsession now that the major work in the house is all done. I need something to focus my energy on aside from the obvious family commitments. It’s my escape. 3) Yes, I feel better. 4) Yes, it can be hard, but also it can be easy (?!). Read on for more details there. 5) Hmmm, I’m not sure if it’s just a phase so I can’t answer that one. But yes, I know vegan eating will be a part of this house in some aspect forever. My sister-in-law used the term “Flex-vegan” to describe her new eating behaviour (Katie, I think you mentioned that term to describe your dad too??) and that seems so totally attainable long-term! You know, busy week night/sport practice type days where picking up Swiss Chalet is so easy…that might be a non-vegan day. Ah but here I go again, in my head thinking, “Picking up a vegan burrito from any burrito joint or the Falafel special from Pita Deli is just as easy!!!” 6) WHY? I will not get preachy here, and to avoid doing so I will simply say I listened to a pod cast. Bottom line, the host is a new mom who is currently nursing her baby–and so am I–and it opened my eyes to a few things. And so I thought, “Why not? I need a challenge anyway.” That’s why. 7) Why STILL? Because after only 2 months, I have learned more reasons why. I also have discovered the tricks. And I love the cooking, the baking, and trying new recipes. And finally 8) No, the kids are not vegan, but they are enjoying this food in addition to their per usual. They don’t really like meat anyway aside from the occasional cold cuts or chicken pot pie so I’m still giving them the meat they will eat, and they are eating yogurt and cheese and eggs (I can’t deny them french toast!). They are super reaping the health benefits of their parents eating vegan, with so many more veggie options and beans/nuts/legumes. It’s fun to watch Mais crush a bowl of oatmeal, hemp seeds, and nuts lol.
You already eat vegan (sometimes). It’s true. You just didn’t know it. Eat an Oreo lately? Vegan. Tortilla chips with guac or salsa? Vegan. Hummus and crackers or carrots? You actually don’t need to overthink it, or spend $10 on quinoa chocolate crisps (shout out to Heather, I love you). It’s right in front of you. Sometimes it is as simple as omitting cheese from a recipe, sometimes it is a simple move-your-hand-to-the-left-and-buy-the-vegan-version-instead (think milk, coffee whitener, yogurt, mayo, cheese, etc). Sometimes it’s more complicated (but actually not at all once you understand it).
Ok so honestly are the replacement products as good? The ONE thing I am trying to like is the cheese. I’m really trying. But as a cheese LOVER it is just not the same. It’s great on a grilled cheese (totally brings me back to kraft single slices), and add Dev’s homemade relish and you are laughing. But you will NOT catch me eating a slice of vegan cheese just on a whim. Otherwise, I’m loving everything else–even the almond milk for coffee despite being religiously addicted to cream.
So WHAT do we eat?? Breakfast and lunch are so easy, a smoothie or oats every morning, and usually avocado toast with hummus for lunch. Or leftovers. But dinner is where I focus a lot of energy; I could have a few recipes that I use over again but we really haven’t had any exact repeats aside from a couple of frozen leftover reheats. We’ve had curries and stews and soups like crazy. Burritos and wraps and sandwiches and salads. Rice bowls!!! A vegan Big Mac. Everything has some sort of protein included, like a bean or lentil or maybe some tofu, with tons of veg and often brown rice or other grain base (quinoa or bulgar, etc), or at least a hearty bread for dipping. Hemp seeds sprinkled on everything. Most breads are good, you just have to check the labels (usually Naan has milk). I have a whole new appreciation for spices and a WHOLE new appreciation for nuts. You can do anything with nuts! Walnuts soaked = ground meat for tacos. Cashews ground with some salt, pepper, garlic powder = parmesan cheese. Cashew caesar salad dressing is like my new favourite thing. Chia seeds and flax make baking and desserts possible. I do imagine that if I use an egg or milk for anything anytime soon it will be for baking. Not even really for taste, but I was at a point where I didn’t really need to think to bake something pretty damn good, and now I have to pay attention to every single detail. Also, I really want my girls to be able to experience and appreciate my baking! LOL. I’ve had some great success with vegan baking, but it’s not as relaxing as baking used to be.
I’ve really enjoyed breaking out some old cookbooks (Moosewood! Makes me feel like a hippie back at Jane Bond in Waterloo. It’s a vegetarian book but many recipes are vegan or can be altered) and new ones (“Oh She Glows Everyday”…Thanks Leanne) and some apps as well (Deliciously Ella, Oh She Glows). “Fresh at Home” is great, or “Rebar” has been awesome too. Both are books. And of course Pinterest is always a great place to find good ideas.
Any-who-be, here’s a recipe to try. Just casual, nothing crazy, but super versatile and EASY. The best ever Hummus, adapted over many years from the one my mom used to make! Enjoy 🙂