Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Vegan Week - Day 3

Fruit plate: Cara Cara oranges, prunes, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts drizzled with pomegranate molasses.

I made some progress with the morning adventure: trying to drink tolerable coffee. I combined the vanilla soy creamer with a splash of the insipid caramel almond creamer, and it was not bad. It wasn't my usual rich vanilla bourbon pound cake-flavored Coffee-Mate-infused coffee. But we had definite improvement today!

Being a vegan doesn't necessarily mean you're eating health food - remember, the Fritos and mint faux-reos are vegan. Just as vegetarians can still be eating mac 'n' cheese and fried ice cream, while omnivores might be carefully eating lean proteins and salads, it's all about the choices you make.

And I've been choosing to eat Fritos and faux-reos a) because I like them, and b) likely as a bit of compensation for all the foods I'm currently depriving myself of, like cheese. I miss cheese. I haven't eaten pasta yet, despite it being on my "to do" list, because the thought of not even sprinkling a bit of parmesan on top of it is just kinda heart-breaking.

Now, this is my own personal little experiment and I could change the terms of my mission: I could allow the Coffee-Mate, with its bit of cream, or the parmesan. My personal feeling is that cows are producing milk, chickens are laying eggs, and bees are making honey no matter what; there's no reason not to eat these products, though you'd certainly want to be conscientious about the animals' living conditions and happiness. However, this particular lab rat is very goal-oriented and disciplined when she has to be, so I'm stickin' with it. I set the plan in motion - vegan, pure and simple - and will see it through.

And that means no cheese. Whimper ... :(

So, anyway .... Instead of lots of carbs like oatmeal or rice or noodles or muffins - which seem to have dominated my meals these past two days - for breakfast I ate a simple fruit plate: Cara Cara oranges, which I love, topped with prunes, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and a drizzle of my beloved pomegranate molasses. This is an integral ingredient in Middle Eastern and Persian dishes. It is sweet and tart and a fabulous condiment - go get some! Use it in salad dressings, sauces, as a glaze, or even just dribbled into club soda. Do it. You'll thank me!

Fennel slaw, assorted olives, baguette spread with Earth Balance butter substitute.

After today's photo shoot (three different menu options I couldn't eat!), my kitchen was its usual disaster of dishes and bowls and scraps and mess. By the time I got that cleaned up and threw a load of laundry in, I just made a simple lunch: the last of the olives, some more of the fennel slaw, and a chunk of good bread spread with Earth Balance butter substitute. (It has a kinda grey-ish aura to it, but tastes pretty good.) Nothing glamorous, but nice nonetheless.

Chocolate Banana Almond Milk Shake

For a snack mid-afternoon, as I typed with three stories due tomorrow (and needing a few more details before I can file two of them), I made a milkshake: banana, chocolate almond milk-based ice cream (which is so dark and chocolaty!), and vanilla almond milk. This, I have to say, was really, really good! Not a compromise at all ... :)

Chopped salad with toasted pita chips.

Still trying to finish Tuesday's feature story for the Food page, I just made a simple Israeli-style chopped salad for dinner. Chop lots of vegetables - in this case, carrots, cucumber, celery, broccoli, tomato, and red onion - in small pieces ... that's it. I thought about sprinkling it with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil, but decided instead to use Garlic Expressions salad dressing, made in Perrysburg (which is just outside Toledo).

If I get my story filed tonight (please, please, please!), I'll reward myself with a dessert. I'll include that in tomorrow's post ....

Chocolate Banana Almond Milk Shake

1 banana
1 generous scoop chocolate-flavored So Delicious almond milk non-dairy frozen dessert
Generous splash of Silk caramel-flavored almond milk creamer
Vanilla-flavored almond milk

Place the banana and the ice cream into the blender. Pour in a splash of creamer, then pour in enough almond milk to reach half-way up the banana and ice cream. Blend, drink, enjoy.

Yield: 1 serving
Source: Mary Bilyeu

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