Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Everyone Ought to Know About the Vegetarian Option

I've always loved fruits and vegetables, but when it came to what should be on my dinner plate, it didn't look complete without a serving of meat.  The vegetarian option at a restaurant menu was off-limits, only for those strange vegetarian-types.  It wasn't something I would give two seconds of consideration, basically I felt like it would be a rip-off.  Now through my food journey to becoming plant-based, my first consideration is what is vegetarian on the menu.  And I've learned something interesting.

The vegetarian option is not weird!  It is often way more creative and delicious than the meat options.  I feel so silly about being afraid of considering the vegetarian choices and sad that I've missed out on new a creative dishes because getting chicken was my go-to.

So my message to you is check out the vegetarian option, give it the same amount of thought as the chicken sandwich or the steak fajitas.  You don't always have to order it, but at least let it sink into your brain as an option.  I found out that I love lentils, that falafel is amazing on a burrito, and portobello mushroom sandwiches are super delicious.  Choosing the vegetarian option has actually made me a more adventurous eater.  Eliminating meat doesn't limit you, it can actually set you free to try new things.

Next time you open a menu make sure that meatless is not off limits.  You make find a new favorite food.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy Herbivore Gingerbread Mini-Loaf Review

I've been itching to make these gingerbread mini-loaves from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook since I got the cook book at Christmas, mostly because of the "mini" aspect and that it uses molasses.  I have rarely baked with molasses, and it seemed mysteriously tasty to me.  And it all seemed cuter in two little loaf pans.

Make sure you have a lot of ground ginger on hand (I don't know why I was surprised... it is gingerbread), it takes 4 teaspoons.  It all came together quickly, though I'm left with some extra pureed pumpkin.  Not sure what I'm going to make with it, maybe some pumpkin chili, pumpkin muffins or biscuits.  I found pureed pumpkin tasty in oatmeal but not very palatable in smoothie form, maybe I was making the wrong smoothie recipe though.

Back to the bread - delicious.  Thanks to the pumpkin as the binder/egg-substitute it has a moist, luxurious texture.  You can substitute applesauce instead, but I think that the texture would really be sacrificed.  I love pumpkin bread, but the Happy Herbivore recipe is a little bland to me.  Growing up on my mom's non-plant-based version of pumpkin bread, I guess my tastebuds are looking for some butter and eggs.  But this is an amazing alternative.  Because of all the spices, my tastebuds aren't looking for more and the texture is just like pumpkin bread.  I think this would be good with a few walnuts thrown in as well.  Next recipe on my agenda is a quinoa salad from Veganomicon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Graduate, Surf, Paint, Network, Bake Raisin Walnut Bread

I graduated with my Master of Science in Biomedical Visualization.  For the first time since preschool, I will not be going back to school this fall.  To celebrate, I visited Maui, Hawaii and went surfing!  Plenty of other activities as well, but nothing beats the feeling of successfully catching and riding a wave.

I was inspired to finish a painting I had started before grad school of a view of Hawaii.  The particular small island in the painting is seen off the road to Hana.

My job search is on, and I got a good boost of inspiration from the Association of Medical Illustrators Conference at the Mayo Clinic this July.  I saw 55 TED-inspired 20 minute speeches ranging from facial transplants, anatomy sculpting, and copyright infringement of illustrations.  I got to catch up with both undergrad and grad school friends.  It is quite the medical illustrators reunion.

Of course, cooking and baking have happened as well.  I most recently made the Raisin Walnut Bread recipe from The China Study Cookbook.  I've also made the Lemon Poppy Muffins from the cookbook.  Followed both recipes verbatim with great results.  I definitely recommend the cookbook as a basic go to for plant-based cooking.  Nothing too fancy, it works with pantry ingredients and short amounts of time.  I've been thinking about buying the Oh She Glows Cookbook, but I'm unsure because of the amount of oil in her recipes as well as more "boutique" ingredients.  I'm not sure if I want to worry about having spelt four and coconut oil stocked in my kitchen, so the purchase it still a maybe.