Here is what you can do when you get home from yoga at nine and haven’t planned dinner:

1. Find leftover brown rice and trader joes green chili sauce in fridge.

2. Put fake chicken and real broccoli in Tupperware with a sprinkle of water, cover with plastic wrap, poke holes in it and microwave for two minutes.

3. Add leftover grape tomatoes and chili sauce to rice. Microwave mixture for about 2 minutes. Add fake chicken and real broccoli mixture.

4. Eat vegan microwave dinner while watching The Bachelor.

Done.

Easily yours,

-C

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So this was dinner tonight.  I feel like I’ve definitely gotten better at whipping things together, which is way more my style (for better or for worse) than undertaking elaborate cooking projects.  I’ve been reading some fantastic blogs written by fantastic vegans lately, and while all of their cooking projects seem like the best idea in the world when I’m reading them on Sunday morning, in practice I’ve been getting home from work and really been too tired to attempt a culinary masterpiece.

That is most certainly not to say that I won’t be doing a lot of cooking this month, but it is nice to know that when I feel like something easy, I can get there without my default chicken breast and salad.

I bought some organic sprouted tofu last week, and I wanted to try it in something.  I happened to have tomatoes and kalamata olives (a fave ingredient of mine) in the fridge, and I picked up some spinach and pita bread (turns out my usual pita brand contains honey!  Surprising!).

First I sauteed the spinach just until it got soft in a little olive oil and garlic, then I added the chopped olives and tomatoes.  

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Then I diced the tofu and I added that.

ImageI toasted the pita bread, spread the inside with just a smidge of hummus, and filled the pocket up with this delicious little greek inspired stir fry.

It was good, if a little salty.  Both my sous chef and I agreed that it could use a little textural variation.  Maybe some flax seeds sprinkled in there or some other sort of crunchy grain.  I don’t really know, because my culinary repertoire is fairly limited.  If you have any ideas then throw them at me!

It’s a work in progress, but I was satisfied with my efforts for the evening!

-C

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For my fourth day of veganism I made a variation of sweet potato black bean hash.  I found it in the Moosewood Cookbook (amaaaazzziiiinnnggggg recipes – all either vegan or vegetarian), and didn’t quite have every ingredient so I improvised a little.

I have been noticing the distinct psychological adjustment that comes with eating mainly one dish meals.  As a meat eater, I could use salmon or chicken or some kind of meat as the main part of the meal, and then have side dishes like vegetables and salad and bread with it.  I have noticed that many of the vegan recipes that appeal to me are kind of everything all mixed in one.  I’ve been liking the idea of different kinds of soups and stews, stir-frys and casseroles, and plating something that is only one dish can be a challenge. I have been attempting to add side dishes by experimenting with vegetables prepared in different ways, fruits, vegan friendly bread, and of course salads.  Ultimately, since this is primarily a psychological hurdle, I would like to be able to just get over it.  I have been having fun experimenting with different styles of cooking though!

Last night, to surmount this problem, I made Kale.  I washed and destemmed the leaves, sauteed them with garlic and olive oil or a few minutes, then poured some balsamic on them and put a lid over the pan for about 8 minutes.  I sprinkled on a little sea salt and it ended up being a spicy, hearty side dish that went really well with the soft and sweet yams I put in my sweet potato hash (told you I improvised).

Since I have been animal product free, I have already just 5 days later started to feel so good.  I have had a seriously finicky stomach for about 6 years now, and for the past week, I haven’t had any serious stomach problems at all.  I have had this sense of buoyancy in my body that I haven’t had in a long time. Part of me suspects this may really change my eating habits – for more than thirty days.

Comfortably yours,
C