Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recipe:Black bean pizza

This was THE BEST vegan pizza I have ever had! I found the picture and a brief description and I had to make the rest up. I have written up the recipe for my friend Renee and I decided that other people might enjoy it too.

1 12" pizza crust (I made mine from scratch)
1 can black beans
3 cloves of garlic, minced
small can of corn
olive oil
red onion
6 stalks of asparagus, tough part removed and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 link vegan sausage (I used chipotle for the spice)
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1/2 T soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 425.
Puree the black beans and garlic in a blender until smooth.
Start sweating the onions in a pan with 2T of olive oil (medium heat) until very soft.
Put the corn and asparagus on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil. Roast them in the oven until soft (about 10 minutes).
Chop the vegan sausage into crumbles.
Make the balsamic reduction by putting the vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a small pan over high heat until it boils. Reduce heat to low, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To assemble the pizza, spread the crust with black bean puree and top with the corn, asparagus, and vegan sausage crumbles. Drizzle the pizza with the balsamic reduction. Bake the pizza in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy! And try not to eat the whole thing!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Vegan Bakery, Anyone?

Over the past two weeks I have been experimenting with vegan baking. I have made raspberry tiramisu cupcakes, spice cake cupcakes, and carrot cake. The raspberry tiramisu needs some tweaking, but the other two were home runs, even for the non-vegans that tested them for me.

A co-worker and I have been chatting about the possibility of creating a coffee shop/bakery for the area surrounding the college since there is a market and not a lot of competition. I know it is a pie in the sky idea (vegan of course), but it is nice to dream.

My friend Deanna came over tonight and she was brave enough to try some of my vegan cuisine. In her quest to find foods that are not overly processed and contain ingredients that she can pronounce, she was interested in what went into the dinner I prepared. I made her my old stand-by.... Veggie pot pie (From Skinny Bitch in the Kitch), mashed potatoes, and "buttery green beans with almonds" (from the same book). I think she was pleasantly surprised.

Since I love baking, it is easier for me to get used to baking with vegan ingredients. Because the baking is so good, I think I am not losing weight as I would like to. Regular cupcake or vegan cupcake, it is still a cupcake and has a lot of calories.

True change is a process and I am constantly looking for ways to improve and to get closer to my ultimate goal.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I feel like I have been swept up in a whirlwind. Life is crazy busy with teaching, family, and of course delicious vegan food. Since I wrote last, I had a great dinner with Rachel and her friend. We were able to talk about food and share some tips. It was refreshing and something that I could use more of.

I have also gone to a football party where the food was mostly meat (I brought my own) and the people were not so open to my new lifestyle (I wore my thick skin). It still surprises me how much people care about what I eat. I don't say anything about how gross I think it is that they are gnawing on a chicken wing (I've hated that since before I gave up meat), why does it matter that I am eating fake meat?

All in all - things are going well. I am prepped for the week. A meal plan is in place, I have prepared all my breakfasts for the week so all I have to do in the morning is reheat my breakfast sandwich and make my smoothie and coffee. I made a fresh batch of vegan sausage from the book Vegan Comfort Food (which I love!).

I am also caught up on laundry and most cleaning. I know it doesn't seem like that has a lot to do with my vegan diet, but a cluttered house and a mile-long to do list make me less productive and therefore less motivated to keep up with the healthy changes.

Here's to a great week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Just keep on going"

I am embarrassed to say this, but my inspiration for this blog post comes from non other than an episode of The Backyardigans.

I fell off the wagon a bit today and ate something with an animal product in it. I'm not going to dwell on it because it is in the past and I am choosing to look ahead. I had to know that this transition would not be without its missteps. Being a perfectionist, that is difficult for me to wrap my head around, but I continue to work at it.

Anyway, the episode of Backyardigans was about two of the characters fighting about who was a faster racer/climber/jumper etc. The point was to get to the Mississippi River first. A third character - riding a burro instead of an elegant steed - joined the competition. While the first two characters were zooming towards the finish line, the burro's rider kept reassuring the donkey, saying, "Just keep going." In the end...big surprise... the donkey and his rider won.

I choose to model my mantra after the burro "Molasses" (appropriate, no?) and to "just keep going." Yeah, I messed up. Does that mean I have to give up? I think not.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vegan Pilgrimage

Yesterday Rachel and I went to Portland to shop at Whole Foods and eat at The Green Elephant ( It was a wonderfully relaxing trip and refreshing to be around like minded people that enjoy healthy, tasty, animal-free foods. Although I wish we lived closer to such great resources, Rachel and I are planning another trip in a couple of weeks for Vegan Fest at Whole Foods.

Despite how wonderful my day was yesterday, I came home and feel even more frustrated with my husband for his meat-loving tendencies. In my past attempts at veganism and vegetarianism, my excuse for stopping has been Matt. He has a very limited variety of foods he is willing to eat, none of which involve tofu or even vegetables. It is a difficult thing for us - to have such different ideas about food and the age old question, "What's for dinner?"

This time it is different. Although I still feel frustrated with having to cook two different meals and the faces he makes when trying my food, I refuse to give this up. It is something I need to do for myself.

Food for thought:
"If everyone became a vegetarian for just one day, the United States would save:
* 100 billion gallons of water
*1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock
*70 million gallons of gas - enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico, with plenty to spare
*3 million acres of land
*33 tons of antibiotics
* Greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide - as much as produced by all of France
* 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages
* 4.5 million tons of animal excrement
*Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant
-According to Environmental Defense, as written in The Compassionate Diet by Aaron Stephens

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I bet you thought I was going to write about an addiction to bad food, right? Not so. I am completely and utterly addicted to cinnamon sugar kettle corn! It is a delicious snack that was introduced to me by a friend and coworker (Ashley - I know you're following my blog now :)). I ate a bowl of these crunchy bites from heaven for dinner last night and I have already eaten more today as a snack.

If you're looking for them - in the natural living section of Hannaford. Indiana Popcorn. Yum-O!

Another new addiction, again, thanks to Ashley (see a theme here?) -! What a great resource for vegan cooking and lifestyle tips.

Plop me down in front of my laptop with a bowl of cinnamon sugar popcorn and you won't hear a peep out of me for hours (and I'm not exaggerating).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Never a Dull Moment

I know I have not posted for the past few days. Never fear, I have not given up. It has been a trying few days, my plate being as full as it is, and this blog, sadly, had to take a back seat. I am able to write now because my husband (and non-vegan) has quarantined me to the bedroom for a night off from chores and other household duties. (Thank you, Honey).

I have encountered my fair share of challenges in the week with regards to my pledge to veganism. On Friday, my students earned an ice cream party for being the top collectors of non-perishible food for the food pantry. Instead of just ice cream, the PTO bought us a giant ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. Yum-O! I of course, with my will power of steel, refrained from having any. I think the kids were just excited because it meant bigger pieces for them.

Not to say that I haven't had cravings or questioned what it is that I'm doing, but this time around it is MUCH easier to hold my ground. I still can't quite put my finger on why - because I only made the year commitment? Because I have used the label 'vegan'? Because I have told everyone and their grandmother about my experiment? Regardless, I am still going strong and have not cheated (knowingly) even once.

I celebrated my first week completed and proudly told Matt, "One week down and only 51 more to go!" It would figure that this year is a leap year, but what's one more day?

For anyone looking into the vegan lifestyle or just starting out, I would highly recommend Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's book, Vegan's Daily Companion. I know I sort of made fun of it earlier, but all in all it is a great inspiration and a daily reminder of the greater good I am working towards.

Peace, love, and plant-based food!