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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bringing Vegan Treats

It's always been interesting to me how people react to vegan treats.

I baked some vegan brownies (no pics because my camera is MIA -- I think it's in California with Kevin and Mary Ruth) and brought them to work on Friday. I walked into our break room, said, "Have some brownies" to the two people who were there, and set them on the table and walked away.

I don't like to make a big deal of the vegan thing. But, since everyone knows I'm a vegan, most of them are going to put two and two together and figure out that the brownies are probably vegan too. The only person whom I pointed out the "vegan brownies" to was another vegan who crosses through the cath lab every so often.

Brave or more worldly omnivores will try a brownie and enjoy. And, of course those people who have no idea that they're vegan will see brownies and try one. I don't EVER bring mediocre vegan food -- I hate to give vegans a bad name.

Those who are less experienced might laugh and stay away from the vegan brownies out of fear that they're going to taste funny. They might "dare" someone else to try one. Then that person will try one, say "mmmm that's good!" and get laughed at -- "Ha ha ha you ate vegan brownies!"

All in all, though, I like bringing treats to work. I love baking, and I love eating, but if I didn't share, I'd eat the whole tray of brownies myself. On top of that, people learn that you don't need animal products to have a tasty sinful snack.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Vegan Restaurants and Fake Meat

I love a vegan restaurant, but I have a pet peeve about most of them: Their menus are filled with fake meats!

For example, many asian cuisine vegan restaurants will serve curries with a choice of "soy chicken" or "vegi-beef"' and so forth. I find them quite tasty, don't get me wrong.

But, the problem that I have is that these menu descriptions play into the typical omnivore's belief that a meal is not a meal unless there's meat in it. So, they would believe, as we don't eat meat, we have to eat "fake meat" to replace it.

I'm all for veggie burgers and Tofurky and fake meat options at the grocery store. I think they're great choices for people who are deciding to go vegetarian and don't quite know yet what to replace meat with.

However, in a vegetarian restaurant, can't we be a bit more creative? Perhaps broaden peoples' perspectives of what a healthy, plant-based diet is? How about descriptions of our protein choices as, say, textured soy protein? Or better yet, how about dishes that don't rely on fake meat at all?

Can a vegetarian or vegan eating establishment thrive without fake meat???

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vegan House in Los Angeles

Greetings from California!

Vegan House, on West Sunset Blvd and Benton Way, opened two months ago. It's healthy vegan food with a taste of Thai. The menu has everything from burgers to curries to sushi and hash browns. Mom and I had the fish burger and chicken burger respectively with french fries. Both were awesome. The food didn't taste greasy at all.

I would definitely go back and try some of their curries or appetizers.

Tonight's dinner: California Vegan!!!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

What was I THINKING???

I feel like a total dufus.

I could go back and delete today's earlier post. You know, the stuff about toughing it out and running on a sprained ankle.

Bad idea. REALLY bad idea.

Now I know that I should have stopped, come home immediately and iced and elevated my ankle. Instead, I did a little ice, took a nap, and then went to Faneuil Hall where I stood around for an hour, and then walked from Faneuil Hall to my apartment in Chinatown.

Tonight I came to my senses, and am elevating and icing my ankle. No running tomorrow. Maybe a spinning class, minus the jumps.

Sprained My Ankle and then Ran Up Heartbreak Hill

Today was my first long run with members of the team. It ended up being me and two girls, and both run a bit faster than I do. But, I kept up with them, for the most part, and we ran 6.68 miles at a 10:15/mile pace.

About three miles in, I landed on the outside of my right ankle and then fell to the ground. Owww it hurt a LOT! I knew I sprained my ankle. I sat down, and the two girls I was with said they'd run ahead and get me some ice. As they took off, I got up, took a few steps, which weren't so bad. Then I started jogging again. Minimal pain. So I yelled, "I'm ok, I'm going to keep running."

"Are you sure?"

Of course I'm sure. I'm tough as nails. Not gonna let some silly ankle sprain keep me from finishing my run. We ran four more miles, including Heartbreak Hill. It was a good run, but as soon as I stopped running, the pain in the right ankle came back.

I've definitely sprained my ankle, but I don't think it's too bad. Hopefully, some ice and stretching should be sufficient to keep me running.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Why I Don't Play Poker

I'm sitting at a nursing station, looking at a patient chart. Some patient's family member has his own web site for archery equipment. A physician's assistant is looking at the web site, with the family member standing behind him, holding his young, maybe 4 year-old, son.

On the screen appears this small child smiling with a dead deer. Dad says proudly, "That's his first kill!"

I look up, and I guess I got a pretty horrified look on my face, as the Dad puts his hand on my shoulder, "I take it you don't like hunting."

I didn't say a word. I just smiled uncomfortably.

Vegan Pizza


With great toppings, who needs cheese? Seriously!

Whole Foods pizza dough (from the freezer section), Whole Foods organic pasta sauce, frozen spinach, frozen mushrooms, and leftover Lightlife burger crumbles. Baked in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. I should have baked it longer, as it came out a bit doughey, but it tasted great.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nachos!!!


The ultimate comfort food and a great use for leftovers (see the Bean and Cheese Burrito below).
I put Guiltless Gourmet chips, leftover vegetarian refried beans, Lightlife burger crumbles (no my blogger friends they haven't sent me anything yet, I just happened to have this in my fridge), and leftover cheese sauce, and microwaved for 1 minute. Then, I added some Whole Foods mild salsa.
It's like Taco Bell.... minus the meat and the e. coli!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pumpkin Pancakes and Scrambled Tofu

The pancakes were made with Bisquick light mix. Instead of the 1 1/4 cups of milk that are called for, I used 1 cup of soy milk and 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin mix. And, instead of the egg, I used the equivalent of one egg in the form of Ener-G Egg Replacer.

The scrambled tofu is a mix of lots of things, whatever I felt like throwing in -- onion, garlic, mashed firm tofu, spinach, edamame, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bean and Cheese Burrito


I've never been crazy about the nutritional yeast-based "cheese" sauces. This one, Easy Cheezy Sauce, from How it all Vegan, is decent. I put it in a burrito with refried beans, salsa, and spinach, which made for a good combo.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dedicated or Crazy?

I'm not sure which I am.

On Saturday morning, I was up at 7 am to do a long run of about 6 miles on my treadmill in my spare bedroom. With 22 degrees fahrenheit and plenty of wind, there was no way I was going to run outside.

I did it and I'm proud of myself. My running pace this week has been incredibly slow, probably due to a significant increase in distance over last week, a few temporary injuries (the IT band is totally better, thanks Deb), and a transition to strictly treadmill running because it's been so friggin cold out.

Tomorrow it'll be in the 50's, and I look forward to running a few 800's on the Esplanade. Woo hoooo!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sweet Potato Cornbread

Mmmmm! I haven't baked cornbread in a long time. It is soooo good! I got this recipe from How it All Vegan. Since I have no willpower, I'll be sharing my sweet potato cornbread with the cath lab tomorrow.

If it's not one thing....

.... it's gotta be something else.

The plantar fasciitis is all gone. Completely. No foot pain whatsoever.

BUT, now I've got iliotibial band pain. Ack! After my run today, I rolled out that part of my leg on the floor on a roller, and hopefully that will do the trick.

I'd like to motor ahead and do all that my trainer has said for me to do this week, but I know from past experience that I have to listen to my body and not be stubborn. My goal for this week is to run 250 minutes. I may be a bit short of this. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm doing my first real cooking since Thanksgiving. Once the cornbread is out of the oven, a beautiful picture of it will be going up!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bad Restaurant Experience

I went out to dinner tonight with some vegetarian friends. We had a great time. I was looking forward to taking pictures and featuring the restaurant on this blog, because I love to help a vegetarian restaurant, and I know that most people who visit this blog do so via a search engine.

I won't name the restaurant, because I don't want to give them negative publicity. But the service was terrible! The waitress wouldn't let us order unless we gave the "number" of the dish -- in order, I couldn't say, "I want pad thai", I would have to say "I want number 38". She kept trying to clear off the extra placemat, even though we kept telling her that we were waiting on one more person. Then, one of our friends who didn't get soup, asked that her entree be brought out with the soups because she was hungry. Not only was it not brought out with soup, but it was the absolute last dish to come out! Food items were just dropped on the table, rather than them asking who it belonged to and walking around our table of five people and delivering the food. Entrees didn't come out together, but were haphazardly dropped off over a period of fifteen minutes. And, finally, the avocado coconut milkshake was not good at all. It was all so impersonal.

We were all quite disappointed. I'd like to find some way to provide feedback to the restaurant, in a constructive manner. After all, I'd like to see a vegetarian restaurant do well and stay in business, especially in Boston where we only have 5 or 6 veg restaurants.