The Top 3 Questions I Get Asked

Lunch for my abbreviated work week: North-South Chili from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health.  I replaced the kidney beans with pinto beans (’cause I like ’em), but otherwise stayed faithful to the original.  Next time, the only modification I will make is to add more spices!  I’m not sure where the “North” comes from, but you can certainly see the “South” portion, chock full of sweet potatoes, okra, and bell pepper goodness.  The spices were reminiscent of gumbo.  I enjoy taking soups for lunch because 1) my office is chilly and, duh, soup is warming and 2) soup is filling without costing you a lot of calories.

Moosewood Restaurant's North-South Chili

Yes, I pretty much rely on other peoples’ recipes, whether I find them online or in cookbooks.  And, I confess, I typically choose recipes that contain nutritional information.  That information could be completely arbitrary, but I feel better with a reference point (so I have some quirks, I admit!).  I have 3 cookbooks that are my go-to for meals: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Vegan Table, and 2 Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks, Cooking for Health and Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites.  The Moosewood cookbooks are not totally vegan, but are easily adjusted.  As you may have noticed, I also use Colleen’s Joy of Vegan Baking a good bit and I’m learning my way around Robin Robertson’s Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  My favorite websites for recipes are listed over to the right.

I’m constantly surprised by how many people know what “vegan” means…and also how FEW people know what “vegan” means.  “So you don’t eat eggs?”  Well, last time I checked, eggs DO come from an animal and I try NOT to eat animal products, so….  The top 3 questions or comments I normally get are (and I know this is a general vegetarian favorite): “Where do you get your protein?”, “Don’t you ever crave a big, juicy hamburger?”, and “That seems very restrictive”.  Only the protein question bothers me.  Let’s be clear.  Given my height and weight, I need 44 g of protein a day.  1 serving of tofu has 40 g.  I think I’ll make it.  Not to mention that too much protein is what most Americans suffer from, resulting in kidney issues and osteoporosis.  But I digress.  Actually, no, I don’t ‘miss’ any meat dish.  And if I did, I could eat it, I just choose not to!  I really and truly do not have any cravings for meat.  In fact, when I came back from Iraq and went 100% vegetarian, my first stop was the grocery store, where I spent $70 on 3-days worth of fresh vegetables and fruits!  Finally, I would posit that eat a much greater variety of foods than most ominvores.  I didn’t know what quinoa or bulgur or winter squash or kale looked like until I became vegetarian, and now these items are kitchen staples. 

Anyways, I actually enjoy and appreciate questions and comments because it gives me a chance to think through my reasoning and most people are just genuinely curious.  I was the same way before I transitioned!  I don’t mean to sound smug or pretentious or know-it-all-ish, so please forgive me if this came across as a soapbox diatribe.

On a completely different subject, I’m off to enjoy the rest of a rainy Sunday with Season 3 of The Tudors.  Fantastic historical soap opera if you take it for what it is–soft-core porn loosely based on history.  I leave you with this photo of the world’s hardiest pansies.  I have not watered or fertilized these suckers since I planted them in September.  They’ve had 2+ feet of snow on top of them, but look, they’re still going strong! 

Still Going Strong!

Oh, and one final question.  KitchenAid mixers?  Worth the investment?  How are they better than a hand mixer?

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