The Vegan Experiment

Hi!  I’m here!

Guess what I’ve been doing?   Well, you probably already figured it out from the title.  I’m eating vegan!

What does this mean?  It means no dairy, meat, or eggs.  I’m eating honey (some vegans don’t).  But yeah, like, mostly nothing animal-derived.

When did I start?  Gosh, darn-it.  I forget.  Vegetarian Week is May 19th – May 25th, but I started a few days before – I think it was the… 15th?  So yeah.  I’m gonna finish on the 25th.

How do I feel?  Great!  I miss some creaminess, but that’s all.  I feel less gross and “bleh” than normal.  And I haven’t had any trouble adjusting to the drop in protein – I think my 4 months without dairy taught my body how to handle the change.

Am I gonna stick with it?

I don’t know yet.  Probably not really.  I might try to do LESS, but I definitely want some cheese, and maybe some tuna, come 5/26.

I’ve talked about eventually being a casual vegan – someone who is mostly vegan at home, but doesn’t stress about eating lasagna at a friend’s house or getting an ice cream cake for their birthday.  And that is still my goal, but this wasn’t enough time to get ready.  I haven’t put the forethought into it that I would need to create livably creative menus, and I haven’t gotten up the guts to go out and buy some tofu or something.  I haven’t sat down and poured through hours of vegan recipes.  I haven’t gone to the grocery store and filled my cart with things from the health food section.  So my diet has been pretty limited.

I have, however, already lost 5 pounds, which was nice, since it has been many months since I’ve rid myself of any of my birthing fat.  I’m playing with the idea of having a Vegan Week once a month, to help clean out my body and lose a little weight without committing to a long-term lifestyle change just yet.

Anybody wanna do it with me?

Makeshift Monday: Crazy-Easy Yogurt Smoothie

I went to Fred Meyer a couple days ago, and, because I get ravenously hungry quite often (hurray for breastfeeding!?) and because I am a selfish little thang, I bought myself a drinkable yogurt “smoothie.” I drank about half of it, and then stuck it in the fridge when I got home.

So, today, when Ariel needed a snack, the yogurt smoothie caught my eye, and I poured it into one of her glasses and gave it to her. But when she started asking for “mo’ moothie,” I had to get creative.

Enter the tub of vanilla yogurt, milk, Ovaltine, and a re-purposed jar.

I’ve been saving glass jars to use as food storage, and I pulled out a 2-cup (more or less) jar and the corresponding lid. I spooned in some yogurt, poured in some milk, added a couple teaspoons of Ovaltine (a very popular drink around here), and shook it hard. It poured out into her glass with the same slightly-creamy texture that the yogurt had, and, although I didn’t personally try any ( I was trying to resist dairy because I have a cold), she assured me that it was “mmm, yummy! Yummy moothie!”

So there you go! An easy, drinkable treat that is healthy (Ovaltine isn’t perfect, but it isn’t bad), inexpensive, and doesn’t require the use of a blender or more than a few seconds of prep time. Whee!

WFMW: Stick-free Eggs Without Teflon

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Let me begin this post by saying that some of you may read this and say, “Duh! Everybody knows that!”

Um, no. Not everybody.

Thanks to the feminist movement and the rise in boxed dinners, fast food, and other monstrosities, many of us made it through childhood without learning even what was once considered the very basics of cooking. I’ll never forget the first time I made a soup that was supposed to contain squash. The recipe didn’t tell me directly to cook the squash, and it was only after cutting into it that I realized that I was making a mistake. A quick Google search told me what I had missed, and I shamefully hid the squash deep within our garbage can, serving the soup without mention of what it was supposed to contain. Somehow, we as women feel that we’re supposed to intuitively know how to cook. How are we supposed to know what we haven’t been taught??

Okay, enough with my rant! Back to eggs!

When Dan and I were first married, I got a sexy set of Teflon-free pans. But after months of laboriously scrubbing eggs off of my omelet pan, and then months more of refusing to make eggs, we finally bought some Teflon. When it started chipping a few months ago, I started looking for an alternative, and, a few weeks ago, I found the solution!

I now use that same omelet pan to cook scrambled eggs, and clean-up is as simple as it was with the Teflon pan.

The secret?

Start with a hot pan. I mean hot. Stick that thing on the burner with nothing in it, and heat it until it is hot enough to cook on. THEN, only then, add some butter. One or two tablespoons. It should melt quickly, then bubble, and it might even brown within a minute. Good. You did it right.

Now add your eggs and cook ’em. See? Isn’t that amazing? It’s like you’re using Teflon, but without the cancer-causing toxins!

Apparently, the problem lies with oil and water and their inability to mix, according to a website I found. When your pan is cold, microscopic particles of water sit on it or in the pores and tiny cracks in the metal. You put the oil or butter on, but it can’t perfectly coat the pan because of the water. When you heat it first, the metal expands, allowing the release of every last drop of quickly-evaporating water. NOW you add your oil or butter, and it can truly coat the pan and prevent sticking. At least, that’s what I was told.

But in reality, who cares WHY it works, as long as it works! Anything that lets me make food safely works for me!

Tasty Tuesday: Calling All Cooks!

As some of you may know, I’m really trying to decrease the amount of meat in our diets over here at Makeshift Manor. The trouble is, it’s hard for me to find many hearty, filling meals that do not incorporate meat. Yeah, I do a lot of meatless burritos, chili, and vegetable soups, but beyond that, it’s easy to get stumped.

Mr. Makeshift wants dinners to be “real dinner” – that means, from scratch, delicious, filling, and decidedly dinner-esque (not something that a person might just as easily have for breakfast or lunch, at least not most of the time). So tossing some veggies and hummus on the table and telling him to “dig in” isn’t really an option.

(Please, no hate comments for Dan. He’s a great guy, and me cooking real dinners was an original part of the plan when we got married. I’m happy to have that job, even though I don’t always feel particularly energetic about it.)

SO, I want to ask you all today – what are your favorite vegetarian, vegan, or near-vegetarian dinners? Oh, and I should say that I am not allowed to cook with tofu, by order of the lord of the manor.

You can leave a comment here with your recipe or a link to it, or you can email me at makeshiftmeals at gmail dot com. I’ll try any recipes that sound edible to both of us, take pictures (assuming you haven’t already blogged the meal with pictures), and review it with a link back to your blog. Not that I get a ton of traffic over here, but hey, every little bit helps, right?

Hurry! Dan’s starting to get hungry! 😉

Thanks, all!

Tasty Tuesday: Healthy Banana Bread

There was a great clamor (read: 2 comments) for my banana bread recipe last week, and I would hate to disappoint! Come on over and see why two loaves are gone in two days over here!

WFMW: Banana Bread Made Easy

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First of all, let me just let you all know that, while this button says Rocks In My Dryer, this week is actually being hosted by Don’t Try This At Home, so that’s where the button will actually take you.

Okay, this almost seems too obvious to post, but since it took me so long to realize the advantage of this method, I thought maybe a few of you would appreciate it, too. Don’t slap your forehead too hard!

Okay, so here’s what you do. You line your bread pan with a generous amount of tin foil. Like so.

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See how the foil reaches the bottom of the pan on the OUTSIDE on either side? So the original piece was about as long as 5 times the width of the pan.

When the banana bread (or other quick bread) comes out of the oven, you can easily lift it from the pan using the foil edges. This allows it to cool more quickly, so that it will be ready to slice.

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When you’re ready to store the loaf, you can simply fold the foil back over it to seal out the air and keep it moist.

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Look at your pans! No scrubbing!

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Remind me why I ever made banana bread without foil?

Tasty Tuesday: Indulgent Chocolate Energy Bars

Head on over to Makeshift Meals for these not-so-sinful chocolate delights!