I’ve been meaning to do this for a bit – say, about a month? – but have been taking care of personal stuff so haven’t had the chance. Until NOW, that is! I want to share with whomever reads this a few of my favourite vegan things from last year; I promise that when I say ‘a few’ a mean exactly that – my top three discoveries. Any one of these items has likely been around a lot longer than a year, but I just didn’t know about it until sometime within the last 13 or so months. So, without further ado, the first in my three-part series:
- Just Mayo, by Hampton Creek
Mayonnaise is probably my favourite condiment. I was about to say that I would literally put it on anything, but that’s not true. I don’t use mayo on my fruit, or in my oatmeal. But, um… yeah. Everything else. As a vegan who is steadfastly opposed to eggs and dairy, mayo has been the hardest for me to resist when eating out. To be honest, if I get a veggie burger from an omni restaurant, more often than not I will eat it with whatever mayo they put on it. Its the one thing I just can’t resist
When local vegans began posting that Just Mayo was available for an amazing price from our neighbourhood Costcos, I made sure to look for it as soon as I possibly could. And when I brought it home and gave it the first taste test, with some crinkle cut french fries piping hot just out of the oven, the sauce passed with flying colours. The smell, the taste, the colour, the texture – there is no way someone would notice any difference if every restaurant and fast food chain were to suddenly start using Just Mayo rather than the egg-and-dairy-based stuff.
Now, I’ll be honest – the health benefits to switching from egg-based mayo to Just Mayo are limited to one very key difference – Just Mayo has absolutely ZERO cholesterol. Bad cholesterol leads to heart disease, and with the amount of mayonnaise I can consume when I’m on a savory food bender I was at a serious risk for developing too much of the bad cholesterol that could cause me to suffer a stroke one day. While the calorie count and fat count are relatively similar between traditional mayonnaise and Just Mayo, when eaten in moderation, Just Mayo will make a much bigger difference to your health in the long run. Another benefit is not to your body, but actually to your wallet! Just Mayo is MUCH cheaper than regular mayonnaise. And, best of all, ZERO innocent animals were subjected to misery and torture to create this product. So now when I go out, I can bring a little container with this delicious stuff and use it on my restaurant food so I can have my cake (mayo) and eat it too!
As a little note – it was announced yesterday or today (who can remember anything these days?) that Hellman’s, the company that sued Just Mayo for calling itself mayonnaise even though it did not contain the traditional egg ingredient, is now set to release its OWN vegan mayonnaise. I’ll be sticking to Just Mayo as long as it is available to me, but it’s inspiring to see more and more vegan options become available.
Rather than reflecting on the last year, I just want to share something from a new favourite artist of mine. Is it too soon to pick my theme song for 2016?
I had a big bag o’ taters that I wanted to cook up before they started get all sprouty and happened upon this recipe on Facebook. It was shared by the Vegan Ireland FB page and you’d be hard pressed to find a recipe more Irish than this.
So, my results weren’t perfect, and certainly don’t mirror the pictures of perfection that accompany the recipe here: Vegan Potato Cakes. But, I ate three cakes the first day and saved the three remaining for lunch the next day. I had no troubles with the recipe. My only suggestion is that when following the recipe, the part where it says to add the flour, don’t add all the flour in at once. Maybe start with half and see how dry your batter gets before mixing in the rest. My potato/flour mixture was not fun to work with, so I’m thinking it was a little too dry. I mean everything still worked out, I just think next time I’m going to try with a little less flour and see what happens.
The filling was super easy and because I love mushrooms so much I probably tried to stuff too much into each cake! I actually liked leaving the ‘shrooms and onions to saute at a lower heat – I didn’t have to watch over the stove and could do other things while they were cooking.
When I first sampled my potato cakes, I ate them with just a touch of salt and pepper. But, when I had some for lunch the next day I had a little Just Mayo and ketchup mixed together for a dip to add a little extra flavour.
I was craving something sweet yesterday. Like, real bad. I’d actually been craving vegan donuts all weekend, but because I couldn’t make it to the south side to indulge in Frickin’ Delights donuts at the Strathcona Market. So, I decided to give the good ole college try with this vegan cupcake recipe I found on Babble: http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/the-best-vegan-cupcakes-ever/
Now, I’m not going to say that my cupcakes were the best ever. In fact, they were far from perfect. Next time I’m going to bake for a couple of minutes less as they were just a touch overdone. And while the icing was delicious as is, I wasn’t a fan of the colour, so I’d add some food colouring just to make the cupcakes a little more festive. Otherwise, my favourite vanilla on top of vanilla taste combination was more than satisfactory. My cravings were sated, and I still have cupcakes left to last me the next few days!
And, because its loosely related, I found this song on iTunes and its currently my favourite.
It feels weird to have a good day on Remembrance Day; I can’t help but think I should spend the day being contemplative and sad. But, today, I got to do all of the wonderful things that make me truly grateful for the sacrifices that have been made by those who came before me, and I am thankful for it.
I got to sleep in, curled up in bed with my puppy. I had a bad dream that my boyfriend helped chase away with kisses before he left for the office. I used the energy that is usually sucked out of my soul by my job to fold and put away laundry, to wash dishes, to sweep the floor, and put errant objects in their proper places. I took Annie for a walk in the beautiful but brief period of sun we had this afternoon; the air had a bite to it but it only made me feel more alive. Then, I watched cartoons while texting my best friend.
All of these activities must seem pretty insignificant to you real go-getters out there, but, to me they are the stuff of life.
You see, I’m currently going through a pretty intense depressive period. Things have been steadily declining – save for an inspiring and soul-saving trip to NYC that I’ll blog more on later – and its to the point where I am having difficulty just getting through the day in one piece.
I can’t help but wonder what the soldiers who fought in the world wars, who have fought in any wars on the side of good at any point throughout history, would think about me and my mental health. I wonder if they would judge me negatively for suffering from this invisible disease that so many people still dismiss. I spent years feeling guilt for not being as strong as everyone else, and I still feel the guilt on days like today. But, I try to focus on my gratitude, and make a stronger commitment to finding the beauty in every little thing. Cause, people died for these little things. For me. Thank you.
Name: Annie Forman
Age: 2 years, 10 months
Aliases: Tugboat Annie, Annabelle, Poodle, Baby, Sweetpea, Angel Face, Fur Face, Furry Butt, The Mad Pooper, Turkish Delight
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Likes: potato chips, ear scratchies, and trying to french kiss everyone she meets
Dislikes: other dogs invading her space, not getting her required daily amount of belly rubs
Last seen: pooping outside like a good girl
Approach with caution… and with a treat.
It has been awhile since I’ve posted so I thought I would check in. I am getting really excited- in about a month and a half I will be New York City bound! This trip has been in the works since last year so it is hard to believe that the wait is almost over.
My reason for visiting the most exciting city on this continent is to participate in Victoria Moran’s Mainstreet Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator Program. I first heard of Mainstreet Vegan through a post in one of the vegan Facebook groups I belong to. Its a fantastic organization and the woman behind it all – Victoria Moran – has quickly become a shining example for me to follow.
My vegan journey has been going great. I have almost none of my old cravings for animal-derived products, and when I do get a pang for something all I have to do is think of where it comes from and then there’s no more yen for the verboten. I have cleaned out any clothing and personal care products containing animal products or that were tested on animals. My home feels so much better already. And my body feels amazing!
But, I have to admit that there is something missing. I am tired of being a mere witness to what is happening in this world – I want to focus my life on actually doing things, making a difference. I just don’t know where to start. Most vegans who are making a living based on a compassionate life have something special to offer. There are nutritionists, chefs, raw foodists, bakers, cake masters, life coaches, fitness experts, bodybuilders and fitness models, smoothie mixologists, motivational speakers and writers, artists, musicians… and I am none of these things. I’m praying that being a part of the VLCE program will help me find my niche, a way to make a living by doing work that aligns with my moral and ethical beliefs.
Other than preparing for my trip I’ve just been working, enjoying the summer weather with my dog Annie, and trying to get fit. I am thankful for every day that I wake up, I am thankful for my body, my senses, everything good in my life. And every night I pray for a sign to let me know what I can do to contribute to changing this world for the better.