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One last thing…

I already mentioned that you’ll need to update your email subscription, but you might also need to update your RSS feed, if that’s how you get your bloggy notifications! Just head over to www.thatwasvegan.com!

We’re Moving!

No, not IRL… (well, we are moving there too)… But this time I’m referring just to the blog!

All of your favorite TWV? recipes and posts can now be found on our new, self-hosted site: www.thatwasvegan.com!

If you have anything bookmarked, that’s okay, it’ll redirect automatically. But, if you subscribe to the blog via email or RSS (i.e. Google Reader, etc) you’ll need to update your subscription. So head on over– there’s a place to sign up for the email subscription on the right side of the page, and the RSS button is up top along with Twitter, FB, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

The Best Fall Casserole

The Best Vegan Fall Casserole

The Best Fall Casserole

Hello all! I’m back, and feeling much stronger. Thank you SO MUCH for all your kind words about Betty’s passing, your support really meant a lot to me. I’m in a really good place. I miss her terribly, but I feel certain that I made the right choice, at the right time, for her. That gives me a lot of comfort. I’ve also been focusing on celebrating her life, rather than mourning her death. I’ll miss her forever, and I’m sure there are more tears in my future, but I feel strong.

It was a busy week- in addition to remembering Betty and, you know, crying,  I also had to pack myself on a plane and head to DC for work. I ate lots of vegan food and  got to see some old friends, which was very therapeutic.

Also therapeutic? This Fall Casserole! Or, if you’re like me and love the word ‘autumnal’, you can call this The Best Autumnal Casserole. Either way, with its hearty potatoes and thickly sliced vegan sausage, it’s perfect for these crisp autumn evenings.  Whether you spent the afternoon hiking and enjoying the changing leaves, or camped out on the couch watching football, once the divine smell of this casserole starts wafting through your house you’ll want to dig in like you haven’t eaten in a week!

Olive oil and a bit of melted earth balance add a rich layer to the flavorful veggie broth. Really, this dish is all flavor! It’s a new take on the roasts many of us used to make in our crock pots during our pre-gan days, right?

The Best Vegan Fall Casserole

My secret ingredient is vegan worcestershire sauce, and if you were so inclined, a couple glugs of wine would be really nice too. In the dish I mean, although in your glass is also a great idea!

Side note: Isn’t that little casserole dish adorably retro? I got it for $1 at a nearby thrift shop- a shop which donates their profits to local animal rescues! Isn’t that just the best?


The Best Fall Casserole (makes 5-6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes (this is approximate, I used 1.2 lbs I think)
  • 1 lb bag of baby carrots
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 T Earth Balance, melted
  • 4 Tablespoons worcestershire
  • 4 pack Tofurky Italian sausages, each chopped into thirds (or quarters if you’re feeding smaller kiddos)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash, peel and chop potatoes into large (but still bite-size) pieces. This is a hearty casserole! Add with carrots to a 9×13 glass baking dish. Chop and add bell pepper and onion- keeping the pieces nice and big-bite-sized.
  2. In a medium bowl mix all the spices with the veggie stock, melted earth balance and worcestershire, then pour over the veggies in your baking dish. Mix very well, and add a bit of salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add the sausage, stir everything together, cover and put back in for another 20 minutes. Remove and let cool for just a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Sometimes in life it falls on us to make the most difficult of decisions, and that’s what happened to me last week.  I’ve talked about Betty, my darling, elderly Basset hound, a couple of times, and how she’s been suffering from Megaesophagus for nearly 2 years. It finally got to the point where her body was beginning to shut down, and while I don’t think she was in constant pain, she was clearly miserable. As hard as it was for me to let her go, I could no longer be responsible for prolonging her suffering. She deserved better than that, but even more so, I just love her too much.

I’m so grateful that we were able to find a vet who would come to our home and help Betty to pass over where she was most comfortable and surrounded by her entire family. I hope it was also helpful for our other pets to be able to smell her after she had gone, I hope that gives them some understanding of what happened, and that their sister is gone.

I’m going to take the rest of this week off from blogging to be alone with my memories of Betty, but in the meantime please give all of your pets a big hug because the only thing I know for certain is that they always leave us too soon.

Goodbye my sweet Betty. I’ll miss you forever.


Weep Not For Me

Weep not for me though I am gone

Into that gentle night

Grieve if you will, but not for long

Upon my soul’s sweet flight

I am at peace, my soul’s at rest

There is no need for tears

For with your love I was so blessed.

There is no pain, I suffer not

The fear is now all gone.

Put now these things out of your thoughts

In your memory I live on.

Remember not my fight for breath

Remember not the strife

Please do not dwell upon my death,

But celebrate my life.

-Author unknown

Vegan Tortilla Chips with Black Beans, Corn and Spicy Cilantro Cream

Tortilla Chips with Black Beans, Corn and Spicy Cilantro Cream

I mentioned the other day that I had thrown a fabulous open house for our friends and neighbors- a way to say goodbye and brag a little about all the work we did on the house. The entire menu was made up of finger-foods (makes for easier entertaining!), and these Tortilla Chips with Black Beans, Corn and Spicy Cilantro Cream were one of my favorite dishes. The recipe is adapted from Rachael Ray, veganized and compassionized and healthified for your eating pleasure!

The Cilantro Cream is zesty and just a little spicy. The bean and corn mixture is sweet with a bit of lime that makes the whole bite taste just… fresh.  Light.  Not at all heavy or overwhelming. Plus you can prepare the bean & corn mix, and the cilantro cream a day ahead and just leave them in the fridge until it’s time to assemble. One tip though- you’ll want to make them just before your guests start to arrive so that the chips wont get soggy.

Vegan Tortilla Chips with Black Beans, Corn and Spicy Cilantro Cream


Tortilla Chips with Black Beans, Corn and Spicy Cilantro Cream  (makes 8 servings, 2 chips per person)

Adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1.5 Tablespoons dried cilantro (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or a little less if you’re heat-averse)
  • 1/3 cup sweet canned corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Zest and juice  of 1 large lime
  • Sea salt (about a pinch)
  • 16 round tortilla chips (the kind that lie almost flat)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the sour cream with the cilantro, cumin and chili powder. Taste and consider adding more chili powder 😉
  2. In a separate bowl combine the corn, beans, lime and salt. Let both bowls sit in the fridge for at least an hour (or overnight).
  3. To assemble, spread 1 teaspoon of the cream mix onto each chip, then top with about 2 teaspoons of the bean mix, and sprinkle with the extra cilantro and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Vegan Tortilla Chips with Black Beans, Corn and Spicy Cilantro Cream

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup

Vegan Broccoli Cheeeeese Soup

Whew… what a weekend! As you already know we put our house on the market and it went under contract really fast- faster than we had anticipated.  As in, we thought we’d probably be moving next spring but now we’re moving this fall, and we wanted a chance to say goodbye to all our neighbors. We also wanted to give them (and our friends) a chance to “snoop” around the house and see all the changes we’ve made, so obviously I had to throw a party, right? Right.

I’m going to fill in some of these recipes over the next few weeks, because they all came out amazingly. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them (even though I actually wrote “vegan” on the little buffet name cards) which was a wonderful feeling. Even my cattle rancher neighbors were spotted chowing down on some of my spinach dip 🙂  And the best surprise was learning that my wonderful next-door neighbors (who always take care of our dogs and kitty cat when we’re out of town) have been eating vegan! I sent them home with some cookbooks and I think I might make them a batch of my chicken-style seitan this week…  But anyway, here’s a list of everything I made:

Yep- it was all vegan! And all sooooo yummy!

But enough about finger foods- I have the “fall bug” and I only want to think about soups. Especially the thick, rich, creamy kind that would make any omnivore say “That Was Vegan?”

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup

True story: After Jason ate this soup he accused me of being some kind of sorcerer for being able to make it taste so cheesy 🙂


Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup (makes 6-7 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1.5 cups soy cream
  • 1/5 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or water plus 1 bouillon cube)
  • 1 head of broccoli (about 1/2 lb, or a little bit more), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 bag Daiya Cheddar shreds
  • 1/3 cup Daiya Jack wedge, cubed
  • Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Water sautee onion for 6-7 minutes, then add powdered garlic and leave in for another minute or so.  Melt in the butter, then sprinkle in the flour, mixing everything together into a paste. Keep stirring for at least a minute or two.
  2. Add the cream, milk and stock and bring to a boil, then add the chopped broccoli (even the itty-tiny pieces!). Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer covered for about 10 minutes or until the broccoli is soft. It’ll be nice and thick now!
  3. Stir in the spices and cheese until the whole thing is melty and gooey and you can’t wait another second. Top with some fresh ground pepper and serve with a chunk of crusty bread!

Enjoy!

I know I kind of went quiet on the subject after posting the original Do Vegans & Vegetarians Think They’re Better Than Everyone Else post… but I wasn’t ignoring you and all your great comments. I was just ruminating. Stewing. Marinating, if you will.

I have some really strong feelings about this, and have had some really negative experiences, and I just couldn’t decide if/how much I should share.
But here I am, and I’m going to share. At least a little.

The original post included quotes from a recent NPR story discussing whether we, as vegans and vegetarians, think we’re somehow superior to meat eaters. Some of us do, some of us don’t. As much as the haters would like to lump us all together as if we’re one person, that’s not the case.  Bruce Friedrich from Farm Sanctuary really summed it up when he said “Everyone knows there are saintly meat-eaters and cruel vegetarians…” No matter what we eat, there is no one size fits all.

But what actually defines “thinking we’re better“? Is it when we badger others about their eating choices, or is it simply when we try to share information? The definition is going to vary from person to person, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of omnivores would say that all vegans and vegetarians think we’re better, even if we never make a peep about it. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think some people hear the word “vegan” and automatically insert the word “militant” ahead of it. Or “crazy”. Or “annoying”, etc.

And I’m sure there are these big, bad militant vegans out there, somewhere- but I’ve never met them. I’m not going to say that there isn’t a single one (because there are) but I think they’ve become a bit of an urban legend being bandied about by a certain group of omnivores trying to justify their own food choices.  I’ve had the privilege of meeting and getting to know many vegans and vegetarians through my local meetup group as well as through the blog, and I feel pretty confident when I say that none of them would ever physically or verbally attack a stranger for ordering meat in a restaurant, or yell at some random child on the street about the horror stories of slaughterhouses (and yes- I actually read that on a message board once, that vegans had done this to someone’s child.)

Do we want to share our passion for animal welfare and the benefits of a plant-based diet? Yes, absolutely. Are we annoying about it sometimes? Sure, probably.

Wanna know what else is annoying (not to mention insulting and hurtful)? Omnivores verbally attacking vegans, unprovoked, for our food choices. I’m going on record right here, right now that I believe this happens far more often than the other way around. (Let the flaming begin! But before it does, please know I’m not generalizing all omnis. I have plenty of friends with whom I can freely discuss food and not come to blows!)

I have two stories where this has happened to me. I try not to let things bother me, but these 2 instances have kind of stuck in my craw. They are also instances where I, the vegan, did absolutely nothing to provoke either attack. Honestly!

The first happened last year. Picture three couples sitting around a table, 2.5 of which are omnivores. I’m the lone vegan. Now, I knew that certain members of the group had the potential to be hostile, so I had actually resolved ahead of time to not even mention the “v” word- and I didn’t until a few of the others started asking me questions about what I eat, how much weight I’ve lost, etc. They were honest, good-natured questions and I’d answer each one, then change the subject. I was actively trying to turn the conversation away from veganism. So we’re eating lunch, and I’m minding my own business, crunching away  on my salad (the only veg item on the menu- a fact I didn’t complain about or even mention!) when all of a sudden one of the other girls, out of nowhere, bursts out with “Vegetarians are so annoying. What’s their problem? God it makes me so mad!

Now, she knows I’m a vegan- and I can only surmise that vegans were included in her statement about vegetarians- but what could I do? Get into a brawl? I’ll admit I considered that option, but instead I looked at her and said “Seriously?” then looked around at everyone else to see if I was the only one witnessing this ridiculousness. Dead silence at the table for about 30 seconds until someone, thankfully, changed the subject. Now, if in the middle of her eating her lunch I had started talking about slaughterhouses, factory farms, animal cruelty, or even cholesterol, I would’ve been labeled as a Militant Vegan, right? I would’ve become the story she told to her friend over cheeseburgers and milkshakes, in an attempt to rationalize her food choices. “Vegans are horrible, you wouldn’t believe how rude this one vegan was to me at lunch the other day…I could never be vegan.”

Yet she, as an omnivore, is allowed to say that to me? The most maddening part is that even just defending myself probably would’ve earned me the militant title too, I’m pretty sure.

Incident #2 was a bit more recent and a lot more tricky. I was going to be surrounded by a lot of people (which I find difficult to begin with), and there were two in particular that I knew were just itching to start trouble. Picture the Mean Girls animal fight scene  (and no, it’s not often that I compare myself to LiLo). Again, I went into it keeping to myself. I really just tried to not talk to anyone about anything. A few people asked me questions about my diet, and I was actually the recipient of some very unexpected kindness, which was a nice surprise. But, of course, the close-minded mean girls always rear their ugly heads. It was just one comment but it was directed directly at me, and it was mean. And it was 100% related to my dietary and lifestyle choices. Did I mention it was really mean? This time brawling wasn’t an option at all (which sucks because this time I was assured a win!)… and neither was defending myself. It was late, there were too many people around, so I just turned on my heel and left the room. What else could I do?

People want to complain about “Militant Vegans” and “Vegan Police”, but my experiences have been the opposite.  Granted, these are just my experiences- other people’s may be vastly different.

I do want to say though, that while this type of situation makes me sad and angry, I wouldn’t give up being a vegan for the world- I love it and I’m proud of the way I live my life. I have no problem standing up for my beliefs and I love talking to (open-minded) people about animals and veganism and health, but sometimes we have to choose our battles. And I’m madly in love with the vibrant communities of vegans that are springing up all over the world, both online and IRL! You guys are all so awesome!

And, if you’re really good, maybe I’ll share some stories about the times I did decide to brawl 🙂