Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Struggling to Eat Whole Foods, Labor Day, and Obama Bird Family

OK, so, I'm serious about eating more whole foods.  More veggies, less oil, opting for rice or quinoa or other grains over bread.  And...baking... less...  NO, WANT TO BAKE, MUST BAKE!!  **No**I**must**bake**less**              But, but, but, but... cookies?
Really, it won't be 100%, but I have been making some changes.  Thanks a lot, Forks Over Knives, you jerk!

One thing about me, though, is that even when I update this blog consistently, I'm not updating as much as I actually could.  I get behind on stuff.  So, first I'm gonna show you something really tasty and not whole-foodsy at all.  Something that I made because it didn't require going to the store to get any, you know, fresh ingredients besides the garlic and onion I've always got on hand.  I was just a-flippin' through Vegan Brunch and I was like, "Oh hey!  I can make a few breakfast items without going to the store, yay!"

I made the Cherry Sage Sausages first.  I had navy beans in my freezer from having slow-cooked them and put them into freezer-safe baggies in 1 and 1/2 cup portions.  But the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup.  So I decided to triple the recipe and freeze the suckers, so I could enjoy vegan sausage-y goodness for weeks and weeks to come.  Only, I don't have the space to steam that many sausages all at once, and I didn't want to steam things all night.  So I googled about baking seitan sausages in the oven, and then, like an idiot, just followed what I found with so little thinking.  And I messed them up, man.  I overcooked the hell out of 'em.  I should have known better, but I was distracted, very distracted, by my dumb stupid life.  Oh well.  They weren't destroyed, they just aren't great.  And there are SO MANY of them.  Oh boo.

The next day, I made the Herbed Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits and the Navy Bean Gravy (another baggie of navy beans from the freezer).
Even overcooked, over-dry sausages are good when smothered in delicious, delicious gravy.  And those biscuits reheated so nicely in a toaster oven.  This tasted like yumz.  It was too good, and I ate it for days before I decided to GO GET SOME VEGETABLES ALREADY.

This past Thursday, on my new kick, we were ordering at a classic crap restaurant at work.  It's this place called Damons, and it's a chain sports bar that wants to be a TGI Fridays or something.  Their side salad is iceberg lettuce with diced tomatoes, cheese, and croutons.  Thumbs down frowny face, amiriteguys?  Usually, I get the portobello mushroom burger without the cheese and maybe the applesauce side.  It's the only vegetarian option!  But this time, I asked them to omit the cheese AND the bun and give me the "Garden Rice" instead, and I got a side of veggies.
Guess what.  It was good.  Really good.  I mean, who would think that I could get something so healthy and vegan from Damons, of all places in Pittsburgh?  I sure didn't think so.  But the veggies were steamed, not fried in oil or butter or anything.  I'd prefer multi-grain rice, but it was fine.  The mushroom was delicious.  I cut it up and mixed it all together and it was actually incredibly satisfying!

Most of the week I ate salads and fruit, though.  And I am not unhappy doing that.  I cooked some other stuff, but I'll save it for my next entry because, hey, Labor Day!  It's less appropriate to post about Labor Day in another week, you know?

So, you guy!  Labor Day!  I love a day off of work, don't you?  I didn't go to a barbeque or anything, but I did go to a Labor Day brunch.  Worried there would be nothing for me to eat, I both made Vegan Brunch's Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs and also the East Coast Coffee Cake for which I used both the banana variation (mix a mushed banana into the dough) and the jam swirl variation (swirl some jam in, ya' genius).  I failed to take a picture of the coffee cake.  And I also failed to take a picture of the Tempeh Puffs.  But, you may recall, I totally, like, just made these not very long ago.  And I also have a very nice photo from having made them, like, over two years ago, back in Phoenixville.
I made it a little tiny bit different this time, though.  First, I cut the amount of fennel seeds in half.  I contend that one does not need a mouthful of fennel to get that flavor!  But to each his or her own, I suppose.  Second, this time, I sauteed the veggies and tempeh in the tempeh marinade instead of using oil, because I figured the sinfully good, expensive puff pastry is high-fat enough, na'mean?

But also, check out this amazingly good raw "taco" this woman Emily brought.  I don't actually understand what all this stuff is, but it was grrrrreat.  Some kale stuff, some bean yum (that part isn't raw, I don't think), something involving beets(??). And I thought there'd be nothing else there I could eat there, ha!  The hosts even had soy milk for the coffee.

Considering that Labor Day is kinda supposed to be a grilling, all-American, whatever whatever day, though, and also because I'd reserved the new Alicia C. Simpson book Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food and the library finally had it for me, I made myself some Ballpark Hot Dogs, whole foods be damned!  And, OK, I ate them with salad.
I liked these dogs a lot!  I mean, they tasted good.  Better than the only other ones I've ever made, the one in 500 Vegan Recipes by Steen & Newman, although I generally dig that book a lot (500 is a lot of recipes, dude).

And, finally, before it's too late, let me tell you that even though the bird family doesn't fit in the nest anymore, The Tweets still live exclusively in the yard next door and both Mama and Daddy bird come 'round and hang out.  I've seen one of them feeding the little ones mouth-to-mouth, and I don't know if both Mom and Dad do that or what, but it seems like the babes just chill nervously until the one or both of the parents rejoins them and wants to chill.

Here are The Tweets alone:

And here are the four of them together.  Well, kinda together.  If they were the Obamas, it would be like Malia decided she just wanted to chill by herself a little bit.
The one of the right is all like, "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I guess I'll just go eat worms!"  Which is equally as absurd and gross for mourning doves as for angsty kids, cuz mourning doves are seed-eaters.


  1. You just made me remember Vegan Brunch. My love handles don't thank you, but my taste buds do. Also, here is a funny thing: I have recently decided to bake MORE, so get ready for lots of torture from my blog. Whole foods be damned! Gimme that fat and sugar, because it's almost winterfat time. (Ok, whole foods will not be damned, because I luff them the most, but I believe I need more cookies in my life.)

    1. I understand. I'm all like, "Cookies, I hate u! U make me want eat junk & refined sugars & flour & not veggies and ur such a jerk & stuff!" And then I'm all like, "Oh cookies, I could never stay mad at you!"

  2. So, in your opinion, what is your faaaaaaavorite hot dog recipe you've tried?? I want to try a DIY dog but I'm nervous! Smart Dogs are yummy!

    1. Well, like I said, of the two recipes I made myself, this one was better. But, admittedly, commercially-prepared ones like a Smart Dog are better. And they seem to be lower in carbohydrates/calories.


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