So, while drinking my soy latte and doing some deep soul searching at Panera (aka people watching and Youtubing), I decided that I am officially becoming a vegetarian with some provisions. And I warped this into “I want to go vegan for Lent” but as I debated last night, I can’t afford that. So I started thinking and thinking… Lent, while I am not religious, is a part of my life as I was raised in the church. To me, it now signifies more of a personal challenge to strip away something in your life and challenge yourself to live without it. Since I want to go vegetarian anyways, it is a perfect time to officially bring it into my life and phase into it. Also, a good way to let Mona and Jeff know why I’m not eating the shrimp they made tonight.
Caveat: this weekend I’m visiting my uncle and aunt (the chef) and Mona, Jeff, and one of their twins/one of my best friends Jeremy are coming to the house to meet my aunt and uncle and have a meal. Which is paella. My favorite and one of my aunt’s best dishes. SO I am a vegetarian with the exception of visiting my aunt and uncle this weekend as they had already planned meals on me coming before I decided this on a whim at Panera today.
Back to the vegan part… I am certainly not going to go totally vegan any time soon, I just like eggs and some dairy and I have a hard time grappling with that when it is not directly killing an animal (I know, I know their conditions are still abysmal…). But, something is better than nothing I suppose. And since I can’t afford to do it for the 40 days of Lent, I’ve decided to challenge myself to explore new vegan alternatives a week/until my supply runs out and I have to buy something new. Exhibit A: Vegan cheese. I’ve always been scared of soy cheese.
I wanted to amp up the class, so clearly microwaving soy cheese is the way to go. It was good but the texture was too much like American cheese for my liking. I bet this would be good on a sandwich or melted and mixed into another dish. I give this a B-.
I should mention that on my way home from Panera, after making these decisions, I stopped at the grocery store for a few things, one important one being tofu. I’ve never prepared it myself but I’ve heard good things about the Nasoya pre-cubed super firm tofu, so I gave it a try for dinner. I was craving BBQ, so I marinated the tofu in 2 types of BBQ sauce and made baked parsnip fries. AMAZING. I wish I had made more tofu, but I wasn’t sure. I used about 1/4 of the package (it says 3 servings are in it).
For all interested, I let the tofu marinate in the BBQ sauces for about 20 minutes (while I prepared the parsnip and let the oven preheat). I then both together at 425* for 25 minutes. I wish the tofu had been pre-cubed into bigger cubes, but seriously this is a keeper.
Then I tried my next vegan adventure: vegan “ice cream”. I was super skeptical and opted for the vanilla flavor to play it safe. This was the only brand that Harris Teeter had, but it especially caught my eye because on the side of the carton it talks about saving sea turtles! While I lived in Mexico, I spent a week living on a beach in a hammock and saving turtles, so this “ice cream” holds a new special place in my heart. And did I mention it was SO DELICIOUS!?
This version of pear crisp > regular. Seriously. The faux-cream has a really clean taste to it. Does that make sense? Can food taste clean? It wasn’t as sticky as normal ice cream and didn’t leave me feeling sticky and sugary. And it has 5g fiber in 1/2 cup. Wow! This is a keeper. Thank you, Purely Decadent, for this amazing product. A-.
Anyone have fun vegan food suggestions? Good cookie or muffin recipes? Good store-bought products?