Friday, January 3, 2014

Our motivation and tools

We started down a path last year (2012, actually) of being more conscientious of where our food came from, and eating as little processed foods as possible for us and the kids. This was after Audrey and I watched Food, Inc. After this eye-opening documentary, we eliminated processed foods (with the exception of oils and sugar) from the house, and started buying all of our meat and dairy products either from the Farmer's Market or from the most humane sources (as far as we could determine) at H-E-B, Central Market and Whole Foods.

We were happy with this arrangement, but we still had some lingering physiological issues and Audrey didn't feel that she was loosing any weight. Last year, we watched Forks Over Knives, and that changed our lives (we feel) for the better.

Since watching that, we have radically changed everything. Audrey does all of the research, and the kids and I do all of the eating. One thing she has found is that the one nutrient we can't get from a 100% vegan diet is vitamin B12. Knowing that, and knowing how much I enjoy a good burger or steak, we've decided that I can have that about once a month. We make fish or shrimp about once a week, and I still go through about 6 eggs a week, too.

Currently, Audrey's "favorite" author/bloggist is Dreena Burton over at the Plant-Powered Kitchen - we've used a lot of her recipes, and Audrey now owns "Let Them Eat Vegan!". Audrey gets a lot of inspiration from her site, as well as the Forks Over Knives site linked above.

Last night, I mentioned my popcorn maker. The one I have was manufactured by Whirly-Pop for Crate and Barrel, and is about 7 years old. The plastic gears are starting to slip, and a certain female cook (who shall remain nameless) somehow burnt popcorn in it and has coated the interior with gunk I can't remove. I'm replacing it with the new stainless steel model (to go with our brand-spankin' new All-Clad d5 skillets and pots, but that's another post). Popcorn is a staple at our house, and I enjoy making it with this tool. It doesn't use much oil, and the popcorn tastes SO much better than anything that can come out of a microwave (which, incidentally, we don't own).

The other tool that gets used daily in our kitchen is our new Breville Compact Smart Oven toaster oven. After using this for a little over 3 weeks, it's another "Why did we wait so long?" moment - this thing is worlds better than the Krups it replaced.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2 Jan 2014: Dinner

Dinner tonight was low-key and simple. I had four dough balls from a messed up pizza dough batch in the fridge, so I rolled them out and brushed them lightly with olive oil and threw the remains of New Year's Eve dinner/ New Year's breakfast on them.

One note I wish to make clear - our goal is not 100% vegan, more along the lines of 85-90% vegan, and knowing as much as we can about the animal products we do eat.

With that said,  we topped our flatbread tonight with leftover pepperoni, olives, organic mozzarella and smoked gouda cheeses. Audrey and I also threw the leftover home fries on ours. Other than the bread being chewy,  it tasted ok (remember, I said the dough was from a batch that I messed up).

The salad was a salad, the only thing of note was that it contained fresh spinach from our garden.

Later,  I am making popcorn - the old fashioned way. This is my first post from my phone,  so I don't have all the posting tricks worked out yet, but I will eventually be posting links to the tools we use. Anyhow, I make popcorn with a Whirly-Pop stovetop popcorn maker, using either coconut or peanut oil and Central Market organic yellow popcorn, topped with nothing more than Morton sea salt. Occasionally we add some 70% cocoa chocolate chips, but not tonight. We're going to wash it down with an (expensive) organic dry cider from England.

As I sat here reflecting on our (mostly) vegan New Year's dinner and contemplating my vegan lunch, I decided to start a blog about it.

Audrey doesn't blog, and to be quite frank, neither do I. But I'm going to make an effort to chronicle our project, so all y'all naysayers can see that it is possible, and it works.

I'm going to the doc next week to have a physical. I've been 80% vegan for about 3 months now, so my numbers are probably already very good - but they'll be officially documented soon. That will give us a bit of a baseline.

So, these vegan meals I've mentioned already? The two concessions we made for tradition's sake yesterday were three (scrambled) eggs split between 5 people, and .75 pounds of bacon for 6 people (Audrey didn't eat any). I made 100% vegan pancakes, with a sautéed apple topping (apples, cinnamon, sugar, and 100% pure maple syrup) and my signature home fries (potatoes & onions pan fried in peanut oil, topped with fresh minced garlic).

Last night's dinner was vegan enchiladas - one pan was bean enchilada, the other was potato and spinach. With this, we had a black-eyed-pea salsa that Stacey made, and various forms of organic tortilla chips from Central Market, including a sweet-potato tortilla chip that was....different, but yummy, and home-made guacamole (avocado, salt, garlic powder, cilantro, and lemon juice).

Today for lunch, I'm eating an interesting leftover chili, made with red lentils and walnuts. I like it a LOT more than the regular veggie chili we make, but the kids like the other one.