Monday, June 29, 2009

Broccoli and Potato Curry on Quinoa

This Indian-style curry can be adjusted to your tastes by tinkering with the spices. Cayenne/red pepper will increase the heat, while using more turmeric will make it more mild. Curries are generally very flexible, if you want to add more vegetables go right ahead. You could also replace some of the water for coconut milk to give it a sweet vibe (I ended up topping it with some shredded coconut).
I made this on quinoa, but you could make it on brown rice as well, they cook the same exact way.
This recipe will should serve about 3 people, or 2 hungry people, or 1 person who is very hungry and likes midnight snacks :) This recipe is one of my new favorites so enjoy!

1 small onion, diced
2 TBS olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
1/2 red/green bell pepper, diced
1 medium or large potato, skinned and cut into half-inch cubes
1.5 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen
1 carrot (or a couple baby carrots)
1 cup water (for curry)

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water (for quinoa)

Use as much or as little of each spice to suit your tastes. I used about a tablespoon of each (except for the salt and black pepper).
Red pepper flakes / Cayenne
Ground ginger
Curry Powder (Indian yellow)
Black Pepper

1. Rinse quinoa if not already prerinsed, and then add to two cups of water in a small saucepan (preferably nonstick). Cover on low heat until all the water is absorbed (like rice).
2. The quinoa will probably be down around the same time as the curry if you start right away!

1. Saute garlic, onion, and bell pepper in the oil on medium heat until onions are translucent.
2. Add water, potato, and spices. Cook on medium until potatoes are nearly tender.
3. Add broccoli and carrot and simmer until tender. You may need to add more water if too much has simmered away, and thus you may need more spices.

Voila, enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ants On A Log!

Ants On A Log were always my favorite preschool snack, and I still love them today! With only 3 ingredients, they're so easy to make. Just spread the peanut butter and sprinkle some raisins, voila!

They're actually not bad for you either. Peanut butter has healthy fats and protein, celery is low-calorie (actually negative calorie, it takes more energy to digest it than it provides), and raisins have concentrated nutrients.

On Monday my boyfriend and I were hungry at his house with hardly anything to eat, vegan or not. We were able to scrounge up the ingredients for these (he was going to eat some blood sausage but I threatened with no kisses for the rest of the day if he did. It was promptly returned to the fridge.) The picture is of him stuffing his face and holding part of our masterpiece.

What's your favorite childhood snack?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vegetables? What are those?

With all the processed and prepackaged foods out there, no wonder why it seems like everyone is gaining weight and becoming sickly. Many would think that vegetarians (and vegans) would be safe, with our healthy plant-based diets. However, after watching what my vegetarian friends eat, and analyzing my own diet, I have noticed that it is very easy to eat vegetarian without getting a lot of nutrients.Furthermore, it is quite possible to be a vegetarian and rarely touch a vegetable!

How can this be? Well, this concept has long been discussed in articles against teen vegetarianism, but most vegetarians brush it aside and say "That won't happen to me." After all, we've done our research, we bought that new avant-garde cookbook, and invested in foods we can hardly pronounce, like "tempeh" and "quinoa". Surely we're never going to be that vegetarian, who lives off cheese pizza and french fries. Heck, I don't even like fast food!

So maybe most of us are above pizza, fries, and cola, but I am willing to bet a lot of vegetarians aren't as healthy as they think they are. And yes, I am going to be honest, it was my own self who rudely awakened me to this predicament.

It wasn't all my fault that I wasn't eating great. I had finals to worry about, end of year projects and assessments to do, track and field was getting more and more competitive as the season went on, my animal rights group was doing a fundraiser, and I had about 5 different events for the National Honor Society. Plus my job, and my social life. My mom started working nights, which left me to make my own dinners (whereas when she was home there would always be some sort of vegetation as a side dish).

My diet wasn't exactly unhealthy, it just was missing things. I would eat a veggie burger at school most days for lunch, and if I was lucky I'd get a bit of iceberg salad on the side. If I had time to make lunch, I'd bring peanut butter and jelly (with wheat germ). Or if I was feeling ambitious, a faux ham and veggie sandwich (with a piece of lettuce, a slice each of tomato and onion, some mustard, and hots). For dinner, I'd make something quick. Quick meaning one dish, no sides. My main main always had to include protein (I need it for running), so it often focused around beans or pasta. I had carb-protein-fat down pat, but what about nutrients? And vitamins? And minerals? After a few weeks, I started to say "Hey, I'm a vegan, but I can hardly count on one hand how many vegetables I've eaten this week!"

And its not just me. At least I tried to make what I had healthy on its own for the most part. I have friends that get cheese pizza or a veggie burger with an ice pop and soda for lunch and eat oriental ramen noodles and mashed potatoes for dinner. Yay, no animals, but no nutrients either.

We are not safe from this obesity epidemic if we continue along this path. We cannot sit on this high horse if our bodies are being filled with the same crap of the people below (let's not break the horses back with out fat behinds, okay?)

Time is the big issue. Adults have it better off than students. Yes, they work, but we have school then sports and extra-curriculars (need em for college!), homework and projects. Oh and okay, Facebook & Myspace too, but still. Teenagers also have a hard time because we do not make a lot of money, and sometimes parents aren't the most helpful when it comes to eating healthily (and on top of that, veganly).

My summer goal is to get back on track. Tonight for dinner I made broccoli curry with quinoa. I wasn't left feeling tired and lethargic after eating (look how much I've written!) With the garden coming along, there will be fresh picked lettuce for salads, and tastier grilled veggie burgers and tofu pups (less fat then frying, plus if they taste better I'll ditch the white bread for whole wheat). Plus I'll have time to drive 30 minutes away to grocery stores with better vegan specialties (like quinoa, curry sauces, local vegetable specialties, etc).

Overall, I'm optimistic. I've identified my problem, the things that triggered it are gone, and I'm going to tackle it head on. Plus, this has only been a recent occurrence for me, I'm usually quite healthy. But I know not everyone who's fallen into this trap is going to be as lucky. Its a misconception that being vegetarian/vegan automatically equals healthy. I'd say about 7 out of 10 times it is, but especially for Generation Y and Generation Z, where a cardboard box or a can and a microwave are our best friends, it's not always so. Before we can tout that our diet is the best (besides for animal welfare), we need step back, take off our rose-colored glasses, and make sure it really is.


And if you do happen to have a rockin' veg diet, keep up the good work! (and let us know how you stick to it when the times get tough!)

School Is Out!

Well, just about. I have to marshal the graduation and then I'm done for a bit. Then I must go to a school-sponsored summer camp (27-2). But for the time being, I'm enjoying my freedom, despite the looming summer homework (read three books by Joseph Heller and "The Lively Art of Writing"and college searching.

I'm looking forward to having more time to experiment with vegan recipes, blog, and just help animals in general.

This school year, our Students For Animal Advocacy group was quite successful in its first year. We sponsored a school-wide Meat Out (over 100 people participated, around 1/5 of the school). We also did a coin-drive for our local animal control center, and we raised almost $200! I'm very excited about this and next year we should be able to do even more.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Soy Yogurt Substitution

A lot of vegan recipes are calling for soy yogurt, which can be very hard to find in most supermarkets (and many people just don't like it plain). Here's a replacement for it, thanks to Celine from who found it on the Post Punk Kitchen boards.

6 oz. soymilk
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
Splash of either lemon juice or vinegar

1. Add soymilk and cornstarch, microwave for 30 seconds.
2. Stir and microwave for 15-20 seconds.
3. Add lemon juice or vinegar, stir, and let sit for 3 minutes. Voila!

Now I can go make some vegan chocolate lava cakes!

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