Vegan Road Update (first week)

 

IMG_0705We were vegan when we got chickens. Their eggs tasted so amazing, pasture raised chickens, organic feed from our own spoiled girls. We hadn’t consumed eggs in over two years. Even now, I don’t know if those eggs affected us all that adversely. The problem was that once you open that door, you allow yourself to eat eggs at restaurants and at places. All or nothing.

emily and Flower

Then we got goats. Oh my, they were cute. We believed and touted and taught that raw milk was not nearly as bad as pasteurized milk. Never mind the fact that we knew, of course, that we are the only mammals that will kick the babies off (and send them off to slaughter) so that we can have milk from another animals’ boobies. But cheese, though…mmm…did you know that cheese has the same effect on the brain as heroin? Indeed, it is that addictive. A chemical reaction takes place that makes it quite difficult to stop eating cheese.

And then we’ll only eat chickens that a local farmer produced, only….pretty soon we are just eating everything because that is how humans work. All or nothing. We didn’t want to just go vegetarian, because the dairy industry IS the meat industry. We prayed diligently that we wouldn’t have boy goats. Their fate is not great. In larger goat milk dairies there is not a large community wanting young goat. You can imagine what happens to the babies. They just get disposed of. The girls become lucky, until they stop producing well in a few years. Milk cows rarely sit or lay down. Their babies are taken and become veal. Being a righteous vegetarian is incredibly hypocritical. We’ve been there. We were the spouting vegetarians unknowingly causing so much harm.

Well, that is all well and good but if you can’t see the animals suffering it is easy to convince ourselves that maybe the research on animal products causing the majority of disease is wrong! Maybe the animals aren’t suffering that much. Maybe….it’s easy to not “see”. So, we needed health to be our guide.

After we started drinking our righteous raw milk Doug got a serious sinus issue. Post nasal drip, choking, bloating, he seems sick. It got worse at night. Seemed to be linked to eating. Or sitting.  Or whatever we blamed it on. After one week vegan he didn’t have it yesterday. We’ll see what happens as we stay dairy free.

Jpeg

Shyanne’s vegan lemon mint cake

Doug lost three pounds this week. I lost two. I have a pretty good figure so I won’t lose much more but I do want to get rid of the inflammation and circulatory issues in my body.

We walked each day. We need to incorporate a little more exercise into our routine. It’s funny, the healthy eating triggers more healthy habits. I don’t want to wear makeup or color my hair. I am more mindful. I feel better when I see wildlife. More compassionate. A deeper connection. I can’t explain it really. But I feel closer to the natural world. I haven’t needed as much herbal antidepressant this week. We just feel better.

It’s only been a week. We can expect to detox still. That can scare folks if they aren’t used to it but we know what to expect. You know, we are actually looking forward to it?

We had our fun, ate everything in sight, and are now seeing how just eating meat and dairy for a few years could so profoundly affect our health.

Jpeg

Next week I’ll preview a few cookbooks and I may put mine back into print. We have started every morning with a smoothie with any of the following combination:

Frozen fruit, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens, carrots, oatmeal (grinds up, adds sustenance), honey, almond butter, peanut butter, ice, honey.

This morning we had a smoothie for two.

Add to blender, 2 bananas, ½ cup of oats, ½ cup of cold coffee, 1 cup of frozen pineapple, 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 ½ cups of cashew milk. Roughly, I just eyeballed it all. Just throw in what you love.

Jpeg

Last night we dined on miso soup and fried asparagus with drinks as we talked about our days.

This is good eating.  This is a good life.

Curry Chickpea Sandwiches on the Hiking Trail

This idea was in not one, but two of my favorite magazines last month.  Though I do not particularly care for the squeaky dryness of garbanzo beans out of a can, the idea looked great to me.  Fiber, vegetables, protein, vegetarian, and something new?  So, I took the idea and ran with it.  I ended up with curry chickpea salad.  I also do not care for sandwiches, but I cannot get enough of this one.  Delicious.

Start with a can of organic garbanzo beans.  Strain and pour into bowl.  Crush it with a fork.  We don’t want to puree it or we have hummus, just crush it so you have a nice chunky base.

This base can be changed and improved upon depending on taste.

I added a good dollop of mayonnaise (and a bit of chipotle mayo too).

Add a chopped celery stick and half a shredded carrot.

Sprinkle on garlic powder, dried minced onions, a little salt, lemon pepper, and a tablespoon of curry powder.

Blend well.  Smear on seeded whole grain sandwich bread.

Other ideas:  Use grapes and almonds for “chicken” salad. Or add relish and a bit of mustard, and a good sprinkling of fresh dill.  Be creative!

Some days now are perfect to pack a basket of sandwiches, fruit, and drinks and head to the hiking trails.  We did this just this last weekend and it was beautiful.  Good to know spring always comes. (Doug took some great photos.)

 

Lemon Curry Cornish Hen with Dried Fruit Rice Pilaf

lemon

I wish I had a photograph of this fine meal but I rather fear it was gone before it could be staged!  Next time I will double this recipe and prepare a chicken!  The flavors of this dish were just mouthwatering, a perfect blend of sweet, savory, salty, sour, and umami.  About the most delicious meat dish I have ever made!

Lemon Curry Cornish Hen

Take one Cornish hen and stuff the cavity with  3 slices of lemon, 3 cloves of sliced garlic, and 1 inch of sliced ginger root.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 Tablespoon of curry powder (we like Simply Organic’s blend), 3 cloves of minced garlic and rub under the skin.  Salt and pepper the outside of bird.

Place hen on slices of lemon in a baking dish and bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

Rice Pilaf

Cook rice in broth and a bit of coconut oil with a pinch of saffron, pinch of cardamom, and salt and pepper.  When rice is done cooking add chopped apricots, dates, and toasted pine nuts.

Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

IMG_0056

Our group of close friends has began giving each other more homemade gifts for holidays.  It is really fun to see what crafts, homemade items, and creativity we can come up with.  At Christmas we sat around my living room opening presents.  I opened the wrapping revealing a canning jar with a garnet colored liquid with something gelatinous floating within.  I excitedly yelped, as I knew precisely what it was.  A mother.

To start vinegar, as in many other cases, one must have a mother.  Rodney started his many months prior with an apple cider vinegar mother simply taken from a bottle of organic apple cider that says the mother is included.  Bragg’s makes one.  Seclude the gelatinous being floating about the jar (boy, this is getting more and more appetizing as we write, but stay with me now, good things are coming…) and place in a large glass container.  For me, I got part of the red wine mother that was floating in Rodney’s vinegar after several months of brewing.

IMG_0054

I placed the pint jar of old wine that became vinegar with the mother in a large glass container, added 1 cup of water, and the remaining wine in the bottle of red that had just started to turn.  I covered it with cheesecloth to keep fruit flies out (Lord, those guys like to drink) and any cat hair floating through the air.

I am the sole wine drinker here at the farm unless I have friends or students over so I always have that last cup of wine lurking at the bottom of the bottle by the fourth day.  It is not quite vinegar, not quite drinkable.  And that last bit of precious wine does not go down the drain any longer but into the vat of vinegar on the counter.  Oh, it is a lovely sight.  I am not wasting wine, and I am making a product to give to friends, use myself in my farm kitchen, and sell at the farmer’s markets.  In two months that first seven cups of wine, water, and mother have become the most delicious red wine vinegar.  Just keep adding wine to the mixture.

IMG_0053

White wine makes white wine vinegar, champagne makes champagne vinegar, beer makes malt vinegar, etc.  It is superior to the stuff in the store and a lot cheaper than the fine vinegars at the market.  I have made lovely salads for two days now with this vinegar that went something like this;

Tear up fresh butter lettuce, sprinkle on blue cheese, add slivered almonds, sliced strawberries.  In a bowl mix 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar, a dollop of grainy mustard, a large dollop of jam (I used raspberry jalapeno), and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla salt.  Mix well and drizzle over salad.  A perfect combination of sweet, sour, savory, salt, and spice.  Serve with Pinot Grigio.