Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

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back to food

January 26, 2009

It’s so easy for us to get in a rut and make the same meals week after week. Same goes with getting accustomed to buying snack foods that someone else has prepared.  It’s so expensive and thinking about the changes this next year is going to bring I’ve finally convinced myself that it’s time for a change.

In the past month we’ve been eating more vegan meals (three to five days a week) and I’m getting back to baking.  It’s so great to have more than 2 cookies to choose from and to revisit some of my favourite muffin recipes from before.  And of course saving moolah never hurts!

Early on in our relationship I was introduced to a beat up version of the Purity Cookbook that Kevin’s mom used religiously when he lived at home.  When I saw a reprinted version of it last year I decided to take a chance and try it out.   The organization and index aren’t overly user friendly but I’ve found some great traditional cookie recipes that are hard to find anywhere else.  On Sunday night I tried  these:

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Thimble cookies, but not the way my mother made them (she always used blackberry jelly which I never liked as a kid).

The wheat free version I created is definitely going in the next edition of my cookbook, although I’ll likely double the recipe.  Here’s what the 16 cookie recipe I tried last night looks like:

1/2 cup vegan margarine

1/4 cup raw sugar

2 tsp lemon juice (that’s not even a substitution!)

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp water)

1 cup whole spelt flour

1 cup crushed nuts

a little bit of berry jam

It’s pretty simple.  Cream margarine and sugar, then mix in lemon juice and HALF of the flax egg.   Add the flour and you’ve got a fairly gooey cookie.  Roll the dough into 2-3 cm diameter balls and then roll them in the remaining flax egg, before coating them in the crushed nuts.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Before popping them in a 350 F oven, use your finger to create a divot in the middle (the jam will go here later).  They bake for 15- 17 minutes and while I didn’t need to deepen the hole partway through the cooking you might want to check after the first 5-7 minutes of cooking.  As soon as they come out of the oven, fill the holes with jam. Mmm mmm good!

I know they contain a good amount of oil but I’m preferring this nutty raspberry jam cookie to the margarine coated popcorn I eat when there’s nothing else in the cupboard.  Plus they’re surprisingly quick and easy to make with ingredients we always have in stock.  They’re going quickly too – I’m already down to 9 and I’m the only one who can eat them.

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Freedom from Allergies

January 7, 2009

There certainly have been times in my life when I wished I was free from allergies and the like but lately I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve gained courtesy of having to watch what I eat and where I spend my time. The crazy part is that I’m writing this while suffering from a food induced headache right now, thanks to a work lunch earlier in the day.

Dietary restrictions have the biggest impact on our daily lifes since Kevin and I both have them. It turns out the impacts aren’t all negative. Some of the great things we’ve gained from having to watch what we eat include:

  • how to cook!
  • how to make things from scratch
  • how to balance our diets
  • new friends (it’s easy to spot another special diet person when you are one yourself)
  • proficiency in adapting recipes to our own tastes
  • a greater awareness of where our food comes from and what’s in it
  • a taste for ethnic dishes (sort of – I can’t eat rice)
  • an appreciation for local foods
  • the knowledge for where to find “odd” ingredients
  • increased environmental awareness
  • increased social awareness
  • less packaging
  • less waste
  • a commitment to growing our own produce
  • motivation to maintain our own compost – more on that in another post!

… and I’m sure many other things I haven’t thought deeply enough about yet.

All this is not to say it’s all peaches and cream having special diets, but really, the benefits are now starting to outweigh the annoyances of bringing our own food or dealing with inept kitchen staff on those rare occassions when we eat out.

There are some handy things we’ve come across in our journey to eat healthy. By far, the most helpful cookbook has been Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer’s How it all Vegan.

How it all Vegan

No, we’re not vegan but vegan recipes are a great place to start when you can’t tolerate milk or eggs. This book is especially helpful because it includes recipes for the sorts of things most people buy in a jar with a label of foreign names. Some of my favourite recipes are zesty garlic toss for pasta, cajun spice and perogies.