Good to Grill!

I’ve been planning this post for a few days, so it is purely coincidental that on a day when I’d like to talk a bit about outdoor grilling it happens to be raining heavily! Honestly, I can’t complain about the weather where I live. People joke about how Edmontonians only have two seasons – winter and construction – but this year we’ve been blessed. Much to my city’s delight, we have enjoyed a distinct spring, summer, and are in the throes of fall as I speak. Another aspect of our good fortune, at least temperature wise, is that we’ve had an early fall warm-up, reaching plus 24 degrees (celsius) a few times. This makes for some fantastic evenings outdoors around the barbecue, enjoying the changing of the leaves, the light fall breezes, and the smell of fresh-grilled foods.

Barbecue season can be tough for vegans. I’ll admit it – I’m not at that place yet where the smell of grilling meat makes me sick. SEEING it can, but the smell of seared steak sets of an instinctive hunger. I’ve heard this will pass, but in the mean time, walking through my neighbourhood the past few months has been occasionally difficult. Fortunately, while the aromas are different, putting colorful veggies on the barbecue has helped negate that undesired hunger for flesh while at the same time satisfying my gusto for the grill.

I’m including a link that has been an amazing resource for me as a beginner cook; this article and its gorgeous infographics gave me some great tips and techniques, and even a few simple recipes. Check out Robyn Medlin Lindars’ super helpful information here: http://www.fix.com/blog/how-to-grill-vegetables/. A couple of the recipes contain cheese as an ingredient but you can easily replace those with non-dairy cheeses to make them vegan, or omit the cheese altogether (which is what I prefer- a like just a dusting of nutritional yeast over the finished product).

asparagus-grill

Also, here is a link to a fantastic recipe for grilled asparagus http://carpeseason.com/grilled-asparagus-with-lemon-chive-vinaigrette/. The image above belongs to Liz @ Carpe Season, as does the recipe for Grilled Asparagus With Lemon Chive Vinaigrette. Enjoy!

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Back in School

This blog post isn’t exactly about veganism, per se. More of just an update.

In September I started two courses that are part of a program offered at a college in Vermilion, Alberta. The program is called Renewable Energy and Conservation and my first two classes (taken online) are Principles of Energy and Energy and Environment. The Principles of Energy class has my brain melting with math and science – two areas where I have never excelled. I doubt anyone who knows me understands why I’m taking this course, and part of me feels the same way – why would I take a program that requires a strong knowledge of those subjects I did so miserably at in high school? You know, biology, physics, chemistry, trigonometry, calculus, etc.? If someone were to ask me ‘why’? I don’t know if I could provide an answer, other than that the realm of renewable energy interests me. I hope that one day the renewable industry will be the headliner of the show, and not just the warm-up act (so to speak).

The other class, Energy and Environment, focuses on the earth and its cycles, and how human interference has changed our ecosystems and structures and the bio- and geological processes which have made our world run so smoothly (well, until we came along). I was just learning about the carbon cycle, and I’m sorry to say that at the advanced age of 33 years, I only know understand exactly what the greenhouse effect is, and how it is causing global warming. Don’t judge- like I mentioned above, I’ve never been a science-y girl; the lack of confidence I have always had in the logical and computational abilities of my brain has kept me from thinking too hard about a lot of things. But ignorance in this case is certainly not bliss. So, now that I *get* what is happening in the atmosphere above us, I am more concerned about how we humans are contributing to the problem. Agriculture is so damaging to the earth. It scares me that while vegan and vegetarianism is growing as a movement, we are still so vastly outnumbered. I’m worried that the future of the environment is dependent on the majority, who seem mostly content with the current status quo.

I am not perfect, and I don’t even consider myself vegan yet. I am ashamed to admit that I have eaten meat in the last month, so I can’t preach to anyone. But every day I try to make the right choices, and I do my best to choose compassionately. Some days, my mind is preoccupied with selfish needs and I fail to uphold the values I aspire to. But fortunately for me so far, there’s been a next day, and that next day, I try again. That’s all I can do. If everyone in the world just TRIED, then we could make so much difference in the future of the planet.  If you’re reading this, please comment with some of the things you do in your life to make less of a negative impact on our environment.