Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spaghetti squash and ejaculate? Uh, no.

Tonight we had leftover spaghetti for supper. I have recently realized that I prefer spaghetti squash to 'real' I had spaghetti squash with red-pepper lentil spaghetti sauce topped with thinly sliced (and melted) vegan cheese.

We were discussing how I like this brand of cheese better than Daiya when my husband made a comment about how it looks 'weird'. I actually find that it melts better than the low-fat 'real' cheese I had been using prior to being dairy-free so I defended my meal and was prepared to ignore him.

Until he informed me that it looks like sperm. Yep. That's the kind of thing most people like discussing at the dinner table. So, naturally, all I could picture was ejaculate, which is not something I typically serve with spaghetti. (in case you were concerned). Uh, thanks dear. You've done wonders for my appetite.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This is why I don't cook

Once upon a time I used to bake a lot. But then at some point I became a klutzy and lazy. And I got married and allowed my husband to stake a claim on all things kitchen. Since becoming vegetarian I have slowly made my way back into the kitchen. I've had some success and some failures. Today was more catastrophe than anything else.

I am pretty picky with the recipes I'm willing to try. The ingredients can't be *too* weird or hard to find. The recipe can't be too complicated or time consuming. This rules out many recipes. However, today I had found a few different things I wanted to try.

(picture from original recipe,
not my watery mess)
I started with the crockpot honey lentils. This recipe is straight forward...and while I don't really like soy sauce at all, and I'm only 'meh' on honey, it looks like a good take-to-work lunch. My honey had crystallized so I put the jar in a bowl of hot water and moved on to the brownies. No big deal, right? Except that when I went back to the recipe I skipped a line and forgot to put in a whole can of beans. I did wonder why it was so watery but figured it would chunk up in the crockpot. Hours later I realized my error and have now thrown in the beans. Oops. The end product is ok. Not fantastic in my opinion. For whatever reason, mine ended up more watery than the recipe picture and I'm just not a huge fan and neither is my husband. Part of this may be that while I like honey, I don't *love* honey. Next time I will cut back on the water and maybe use maple syrup instead.

And the black bean brownies....This recipe also matched my above requirements and came recommended. While they have a great taste, the texture is *way off* because my blender couldn't handle it so I added a teensy amount of almond milk. The result? Brownies that won't cook through. I don't know that I will make these again because my blender isn't powerful enough. I skipped out on the coconut and sprinkled chocolate chips on top. I didn't tell the husband that they had black beans in them until he did the taste test. I did warn him that they weren't 'regular' brownies in advance. He said they are pretty good and convinced me not to throw them out due to texture. And he said that black bean brownies are better than no they passed his test.

I also made Vegan Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins. Mine didn't rise all nicely, but it's likely due to something I did wrong. The taste is ok but I wasn't wowed by them and because of that, I'm not sure that I would make them again. However, they did turn out better than the brownies. My husband thought they were ok but he also wasn't super impressed. And if you can keep a secret, I will tell you that the batter for these muffins tastes pretty good. Not that I tried the batter or anything....

Lastly, I made Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale from Appetite for Reduction. I'm not a huge fan of kale, and only tolerate mushrooms. But I made this recipe anyway because it didn't have too many weird ingredients. It turned out ok. I don't love the flavours but I didn't expect to since kale isn't my thing. I was surprised though at how crispy the kale ended up considering it looked kind of soggy. And man does that stuff shrink down as you cook it!! I would make this again being that it's healthy and I can share the kale with the bunnies (who seem to enjoy it). It is paired with a potato and tofu with sauce. My husband skipped out on the kale experiment.

And I realize that these four almost-flops make it look like I'm a disaster in the kitchen. But I can sometimes crank out something awesome. Like oreo truffles, or skor bars, or cheesecake. I do have my 'specialities'. They are just unhealthy and in no way vegan (and I do realize that not all of my shared recipes have been vegan so I don't need that pointed out). So, there you have it. My day in the kitchen.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Groceries & Food planning

I posted a few weeks ago about how was disappointed with my grocery cart. It was full of processed crap, except for the veggies (which were mainly for the rabbits) Today was a different story. Sure, we could do better but I'm still content.

This Ovo-Vegetarian's Grocery List
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Green pepper, red pepper
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Clementines
  • Grapefruit
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Salsa
  • Beans (lentils, black beans, mixed beans)
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Couscous
  • Eggs
  • Baking/Cooking stuff (bay leaves, ground flax, cumin, extra virgin olive oil, chocolate chips)
  • Frozen fruit (for smoothies)
  • Almond milk
  • Soy pudding (never had this before)
  • A new-to-me soy cheese (since I didn't like Daiya)
  • 1 container of coconut yogurt
  • Juice boxes (I know, not great)
  • Cookies (just ignore this one)
  • Dark chocolate (and this one too)
All in all, I think I did pretty good. I will likely spend a good chunk of time in the kitchen tomorrow. I hope to make either brownies and/or muffins, a recipe using kale, kale chips, and a lentil dish.

Meals this week will likely include spaghetti, a casserole, quesadillas, and loaded potatoes. Lunches will consist of leftovers, a raisin naan bread thing, veggies etc, and the lentil dish.

New-to-me foods

I tried a bunch of new stuff this week. It's like I'm a whole new person.
  • Pizza with no cheese at Boston Pizza: yummy.
  • Veggie burger (no feta) at Montana's:  so good that we are engaged to be married. My husband may need to move out. Unfortunately it has *a lot* of calories and fat.
  • Silk Chocolate almond milk: not a fan.
  • Amande coconut cultured almond milk (like a yogurt): very good. It's a bit sweet so I would probably have a smaller serving with a bunch of fruit.

Reviews to follow for: Crockpot Honey Lentils; Coconut Black Bean Brownies; Vegan Mocha Chip Muffins; and Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale from the cookbook Appetite for Reduction.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 3 Dairy-Free

So, I'm on day three. Thus far, it hasn't been so bad. I felt kind of gross day 1 and had a migraine day 2 but no struggles in figuring out what to eat....except at breakfast. Yesterday I had cereal with Silk almond milk. It was yummy. Unfortunately, I ran out and only have Almond Breeze (which I can't imagine tasting right on cereal).

I stopped after work to get more Silk and explore other breakfast options but left disappointed. Then I went to Tim Hortons and ordered a coffee with a flavour shot, no milk, and a bit of sugar. This was also disappointing. And I didn't win anything on the Roll up the Rim. Boo.

This weekend will likely bit a bit more of a challenge with avoiding dairy. Tomorrow we are having a work-lunch out. I have called ahead to check on three potential options. My first two got ruled out pretty quickly and I got a bit nervous. But apparently the pizza crust is dairy-free so I will be having a veggie pizza, no cheese. I'm only slightly disappointed.

And then my husband suggested we go out for supper this weekend and his top pick doesn't have an online menu. I'm procrastinating on calling them. On the plus side, being ovo-vegetarian is forcing me out of my ignore-the-public comfort zone. Yay for that.

Crap I've tried

I've slowed down on the documentaries because I've gotten wrapped up in trash-tv on Netflix. But I have continued my plan to read a bunch of vegetarian/vegan themed books and cookbooks.

Recently I finished Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet. It was an interested read and has *a lot* of information. At points I found it a bit much so I did a bunch of skimming. However, it would be a good book to have for reference.

I don't know that I have tried much new on the food front. I have used nutritional yeast in some recipes with success. Oh, and at the recommendation of a reader, I have switched from Almond Breeze to Silk True Almond. I only found the original but I do like it more than Almond Breeze Unsweetened. (I do realize that this isn't a truly fair comparison). I like this enough that I could probably have it in cereal and I do have it in my coffee.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Catching up

Early last week I noticed I was reacting to dairy. I had cut it out for a few days and felt better (mostly). However, I was away for the weekend and ate a bunch of tempting yummy stuff and then came home and kept at it. Today has been a not-so-great day because of it...and as of tomorrow I plan to eliminate dairy from my diet for 3 ish weeks. I'm hoping I will be able to re-introduce certain things (like cheese and milk-chocolate).

Today is family day in Ontario so treated it like a Sunday. On Sundays I tend to relax a bit and try a few new food things. Unfortunately, I didn't have the ingredients for any recipes. So I got creative. I sauteed some veggies and sliced up some potato, which I baked with a bit of oil and topped with nutritional yeast. And then because we had a naan bread left, I chopped up some garlic and made it into garlic bread. Yummy. :)

I also spent time today making the Yummy Couscous Salad that I have blogged about previously. I changed it up a bit so it is dairy free. I don't like it *as much* but it will pass for a few easy lunches.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Crap I've tried

Typically I use the home-made deodorant but I recently put in an order from and needed to add something to it to qualify for free shipping. I decided I wanted to try the salt-rock deodorant thing again because there will likely be times that it is more convenient to use.

It's something my sister had me try years ago. I was satisfied with it until I dropped the rock into the sink and it became all jagged-like and slightly unpleasant to use. So, I purchased this. It's the same thing, just with the stone inside a more typical deodorant container thing. This makes it much handier to use and reduces the chances of it breaking into lovely little shards. (Nothing says feeling fresh like running a jagged rock on your armpits).

Moving on.....I've noticed this week that I am becoming increasingly sensitive to dairy. My usual routine consists of having milk and a sweet-treat as my evening snack. I have since switched to almond milk. I previously blogged about Daiya and how it wasn't super fantastic (IMO) so I'm still doing the cheese thing. I was looking for other non-dairy products to try and came across So Delicious Coconut Almond Bars. They are pretty good. Sure, I'd prefer something like a Rolo ice cream bar but since it would likely come with bloating and general feelings of ickiness, it probably wouldn't be my first choice (anymore)...especially since my husband would probably be like, 'see, that's why you shouldn't eat dairy'. And then he would enjoy said dairy treat while sitting across from me. He's awesome that way.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh, dairy.

One of the more recent changes I've made is to reduce my dairy intake. I had no intentions to give it up completely. (Hello cheese, chocolate, and ice cream). And you know how I'm rewarded? By being extremely sensitive to dairy when I choose to consume it. Particularly pleasant are the stomach pains, bloating, and migraines (which I don't know for sure is a result of the dairy but I'm suspicious of it). With all of that, dairy may not be worth it. Food just became a lot less enjoyable. Who knows, that could be a good thing.

I won't be making any immediate changes overnight though. We have a cupboard full of chocolate and a tub of ice cream with my name on it. 'Ice cream headaches' just took on a whole new meaning.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekly plan

Things have been moving a bit more slowly this week because I have been plagued with migraines. I am not a fan. I likely overdid things yesterday by ignoring the migraine and living normal life. I finally got my hair cut, did a bit of shopping, and rearranged the rabbit room. It wasn't a good day.

I'm undecided on the haircut. I've had it tied back since I got home and am not up to brushing it to see what it looks like a day later. I'm not expecting to love it because, as usual, I cheaped out and opted for a last-minute less than $20 cut. I've only ever been happy with this approach once. Other times I try to fix it myself....and I'm not a hair dresser.

Oh well. Yesterday I explained what I wanted. I was really descriptive so she couldn't mess it up. I asked her to cut off a bunch, but not so much that I can't tie it back. And that I wanted layers. As she picked up the scissors and started chopping away, I realized that I do like my hair long but just want more shaping to it. That's how indecisive I am...I can change my mind in seconds. But being that she had already started, I just went with it.

Next up I went shopping. I wanted to go to the Bulk Barn to buy cardamom and nutritional yeast. And apparently their entire selection of Valentine's Day treats. You know, to show the husband how much I love him.....and sugar.

Then I went grocery shopping. I picked up a few new-to-me items that I will likely review down the road. And as I was at the check-out, I looked over my cart and was kind of disappointed at how much pre-packaged stuff we eat...especially when you consider that some of the fresh produce is shared with the bunnies.

Ah, yes, the bunnies....I spent the rest of the day rearranging their room. It took over five hours. My head hurt every time I moved and bunny Naveen was a little twerp who found her way into out-of-bounds areas. Not good times, especially since I'm dissatisfied with the finished product.

Anyway, that was yesterday. Today, I'm taking a quieter approach in hopes that my migraine will move along and let me prepare for a wonderful work-week. So far, I have cleaned up a tiny bit so my husband doesn't come home to a disaster zone. And I threw stuff in the crock pot for supper.

Because of my migraine, I'm not really super planned for the week. Tonight we will be having chili. For the rest of the week I'm thinking we might have a casserole, stir-fry, and flat-bread pizza. Lunches will likely be the same as last week.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


One of my goals has been to branch out and try new things. I'm not so great at this but I am happy with how it's going. Lately, I've tried:

  • Daiya: the products are used in place of cheese. It adjustment. I don't love it and mostly don't like it. However, it did give a bland mac & cheese recipe a bit of flavour. And I think part of my problem is that I use cheese as a main ingredient to things instead of a garnish. I will try this again and be less liberal with it. Hopefully that helps.
  • Tahini: It's a sesame seed paste. It's kind of bitter and will take adjustment. It can be used in recipes and as a nut/seed butter.
  • Cast iron cookware: I decided to buy a cast iron frying pan. Unfortunately, the one I bought is too big so I may need to try something smaller. My non-existent upper body strength makes it hard to handle such a heavy pan. Also, the one I bought was pre-seasoned. A lot of online stuff said to season it anyway. Well, I didn't. But you really should.
I'm not sure what's next on my list. I know I really need to expand my recipe choices but I keep getting stuck because most recipes call for stuff I don't have or ingredients that aren't allowed in the house (like icky eggplant).

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Week's Plan

Now that I'm cooking more, I do more of the meal planning. And by 'more' I mean this is actually a new thing for our house. Before, I'd call my husband before heading home and ask him what he was cooking for us, and he'd never tell me. I don't miss that. The new routine consists of discussing what meals we both want during the week and then figure out together 'when' they would happen. Roughly.

Sunday & Monday: stuffed peppers. I changed it up this time by using couscous instead of rice.
Tuesday (and maybe Wednesday): Tofu souvlaki on a pita
Thursday: spaghetti for the husband and spaghetti squash something for me
Friday: who knows. The reality is that the plan changes throughout the week so we'll see as it gets closer.

For lunches....(everything usually has a side of fruit or veggies)
Monday: left over loaded baked sweet potato
Tuesday: ants on a log, maybe some crackers, pudding
Wednesday: left over stuffed peppers (since I couldn't finish Sunday's portion)
Thursday: see Tuesday
Friday: usually lunch out, but if not I might have a raisin cinnamon flat bread with tahini and trail mix. I'm kind of hoping we don't go out for lunch. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More stuff to check out

Meet your Meat:

This is one of the more graphic videos on the meat industry. Some parts are really hard to watch. It has prompted me to make more vegan choices, but I think it would be more effective to have a longer documentary with a balance of in-your-face graphic stuff with more information-based stuff. At the same time, that would decrease the shock value. If you choose to watch this, you can't say I didn't warn you! I didn't embed the video due to the graphic content.

A Cow at my Table:

I don't really have a lot to say about this documentary. It looks into attitudes on the meat industry and the fight between the industry and animal rights activists. It was interesting because of the Canadian content but the documentary just didn't grab me, which is unfortunate because it does have valid points. I've embedded the trailer but the full-length documentary is linked in the title. Some parts may be difficult to watch.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Loaded Potato

Tonight we tried the Loaded Baked Sweet Potato from Skinny Taste. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture because we were trying to stuff our faces quickly in order to clean the house for possible guests...who likely aren't coming. But, on the plus side, the house is clean and tomorrow we can return to our lazy sloth habits. Win win.

Back to the's pretty good. My husband didn't want to be too adventurous, so he insisted that his be made with a regular potato, as opposed to a sweet potato. His loss. He was willing to try mine, without the Daiya bits, and thought it was 'ok'. The recipe was enjoyed enough that next time he's willing to skip his side of meat and just have the potato....with meat sprinkled on it (roll eyes now).