Monday, April 6, 2015

Where was I? I forgot what I was saying...

Oh, I remember! The short version? I suck. Allow me a moment of self-loathing. Oh, I know, that's taboo. Love thyself, and all that. I do love myself. If I didn't, would I write a navel-gazing blog? But it's a vegan navel-gazing blog, so it's okay.

But that vegan part: time for confession. I'm a good, albeit liberal Catholic, after all. I dabbled. Yes, yes. I dabbled in French cheese from St. James Company, and even, this Lent, in crawfish. Yes, it's true. I'll save you the catalog of my sins, and get to the point: I'm repenting. And if we are asked to be witnesses on this Earth, can I be so arrogant as to ask you to be my witness? Not as "accountability," but as champions of "authenticity," of "vulnerability," of that word we vegans hold so dear to our hearts, of compassion? 

So, all you readers that I don't have yet, here's what this blog is gonna cover:

1) Losing 100+ pounds. Oh yes, I am paying dearly for those sins. Actually, I think I can give a nod to the karma of my own misdeeds here, rather than divine punitive attention. Let's get this bit out of the way while I'm on the subject: I want to lose weight. I'm not saying you should. Attention all ye who enter here: I am body positive at any size. I heartily acknowledge that being overweight does not mean bad health. I do not equate skinniness with health, or disallow that obese persons can kick ass in the health department. I do not think that losing weight will solve all my problems. I do not think life begins at an "ideal weight." All I know is that I am, as of this morning, 237.2 pounds (how's that for authenticity?!) and that I don't want to be. I know that this does not feel like me, but that it has sadly been my reality (in varying degrees) for way too long. If I promise that I love myself, and love all of you, at any size, will you let me try this without believing that I'm lying to you about the whole self-love thing?

2) To prove the "life does not begin at goal weight" idea, I'm taking up yoga. If you see me in a class, my face gets really, really red at the slightest exertion, and you don't need to ask if I'm okay. It's gonna be ugly. Oh, whoops, it's going to be beautiful. I'll let you know how it goes, and I'll share my favorite links about yoga at any size very soon.

3) Cooking. As in, at home. I need to keep my butt out of all these restaurants for the sake of my waistline and my wallet. So, I'll share what I'm cooking, and cookbook reviews (new and "old"books)  and any original recipes I come up with. So, I won't be able to help you as much with NOLA vegans out on the town, kind of thing, but my friend Melissa Bastian at New Orleans in Green does an excellent job of that. I'll be cooking recipes that are going to help, rather than hurt, my weight loss efforts, but I'm not going to post "dinners" of a single apple, or some such nonsense. Like many overweight people, I know exactly what I need to do in order to do it right. Don't worry; I'll prove it to you.

A parting word about "health": I won't even begin to discuss the tired ol' subject about all the ways vegans can eat unhealthy foods. Duh. I won't say that there's no room for French Fries in your life, either. I do want to say that I think the vegan diet is the best on Earth, but it doesn't mean you'll never get sick. Or that, if you get sick, it's because you weren't on top of your diet. Or that you can cure cancer with kombucha. Good foods help us have a good life. Yes. Yes. Yes. But let's watch out that we do not cross the line where we treat veggies like a magical guarantee against illness. I know plenty--I mean plenty--of healthy, "plant powered" vegans who got cancer and other surprises. And it wasn't their fault. And it wasn't from a lack of antioxidants in their diets. The reason I'm bringing this up is that I don't want any comments popping up that makes anyone feel "less than" in the vegan department, the health department, the body positive department, or the "right" to eat the whole pan of brownies. Let's support each other, and keep our dogma to ourselves. That goes double for me. So that's my last bit of "advice." Stay tuned for vegan fun, and, unavoidably, vegan navel-gazing. I'll try to keep that related to navel oranges.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Truck Parade

I'm sure you've heard that Hubig's Pies burned down. By now, you may be wearing a shirt that says, "Lemon."  Perhaps, if you live here in New Orleans, or once did, you even changed your facebook profile pic to some sort of clever Hubig's Pie meme, i.e. (The South Will Rise Again) or posted a status about how devastated you are, vegan or not. Maybe you rode your bike to pastry ground zero and wondered about the fantastic guardian angels that protected the neighbors' houses, and how you might get you one of those angels.

New Orleans loves her food icons. But sometimes our bureaucratic bullshit, for which we are also famous, prevents New Orleans, and more to the point, New Orleanians from acheiving higher goals.

Roman Candy and Lucky Dog would never have reached nostalgic, cult status if the food cart rules and legislation of today existed when these folks opened shop. By the way, you may wonder why a vegan gives a hoot for Lucky Dog, and besides evangelizing about local ownership, blah blah blah, here is your honest answer: Ignatius Reilly.

And what about the iconic ice cream truck? (The creepy music has to go, though.)

We really need to make vegan food another New Orleans institution, y'all. I thought it was a very good sign that the vegan epañadas were the first to sell out at the Food Truck Rally.

Of course, it wasn't a good sign for my starving husband and myself, especially when the lines to everything else looked like this:

But really, I know we hear about other cities and all of their totally vegan restaurants and we wanna eat our heart out. Lord knows, we're making progress here, finally. Vegan food carts would help tremendously, but what would also help is for vegan food to make its appearance everywhere. Does it always have to be an "other?" Come on, New Orleans, let's just let great vegan food be "ours." Here's my new restaurant and grocery store M.O. No matter how unlikely the place seems to ever carry, or want to carry, vegan items, ASK ASK ASK. Make them hear that damn word, "vegan" all the time. Let them think daiya cheese must be the hottest thing, because all these people keep asking about it. Over and over again. And act like you expect results. "Did you get the daiya cheese yet that I asked about?" "Did you add the scrambled tofu to the breakfast menu yet?" Be nice; be consistent.

And hey, I know we're not millionaires. We can't eat out at restaurants everyday. Sheesh, some of us, like me, even LIKE to cook!! So, this tactic is especially important at grocery stores. Stay tuned for my upcoming post about Rouse's and the ever expanding "natural foods" sections at our neighborhood stores. Demand your tempeh and nooch people. Demand with a smile.

Last photo taken at Tout de Suite in the lovely Algiers Point.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Wandering Buddha

Can't Wait to Go Back to Wandering Buddha

We took advantage of the break in the rain and headed to Wandering Buddha's back patio for an early-ish dinner. The Hi-Ho Lounge, which shares space with WB was not yet open, but the server said we could get drinks from the neighboring lounge, Siberia. We opted for the iced tea of the day instead, which was a blossom white tea. Many hot teas are available, as well as homemade chai served hot or iced. (I got one of those fabulous iced beauties to go when we headed home.) 

I wanted everything on the menu--all the appetizers and all the entrées, but alas, one has to be reasonable. Besides, there will be many return visits. They also deliver to many areas of the city; good to know.

Here's what we finally decided to order:

Pajeon/ Scallion Pancakes with Korean Dipping Sauce 

These were pan-fried, and the littlest bit greasy, in a good way :) The sauce was a sesame soy sauce kind of thing.

Bimibap / Rice with Vegetables

steamed rice with sigumchi namul (seasoned spinach), oi muchim (spicy cucumbers), kimchi, kong namul (seasoned sprouts), carrots, zucchini, and a side a red pepper sauce (not pictured)

This was amazing. Great balance of strong flavors. The server warned that it had a kick, but as a born and bread yat, I don't need to tell you that I emptied that side bowl of hot sauce, do I?

Dubu Jorim/ Braised Tofu

tofu braised in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and korean hot peppers. Served with steamed rice, sigumuchi namul (seasoned spinach), oi muchim (spicy cucumbers), and kimchi

My husband loved this. He kept going on and on about the kimchi. It was the first time he ever had it. I told him that he lucked out, because I have had plenty kimchi but WB's was my favorite so far. WB sells jars of kimchi too FYI. 

A word about the rice. Ok, I know it's just plain rice but it was so tender and perfect. I have to find out what brand of rice cooker they use. Of course, I'm always looking for new kitchen "props," as my husband says. 

Apple Ginger Homemade Vegan Ice Cream

I guess I don't need to say it's vegan since the whole menu is vegan. This was light and refreshing    and the apple gave it a little texture, so it wasn't gelato smooth. They had several ice cream flavors and sorbets as well. I almost got the black sesame ice cream. Next time.

We had a wonderful meal with very friendly and helpful service. If you haven't tried Wandering Buddha yet, go, go now, and bring everyone. If an omni has anything to complain about dining here, then that person just enjoys being an idiot. ;) The food is perfection; and since it's vegan too, it's a godsend. My buddha belly is ready for another visit ASAP.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Upcoming NOLA Vegan Events


Although not exactly a vegan event, this is, by far, an issue that could positively impact the vegan culture of the city. Please come out to the symposium! Food (vegan tacos, empañadas, etc.) and beverages, even adult ones, will be available. Let's get this show on the road, folks!


I recently stopped drinking alcohol, but that won't stop me from attending this soirée!! Check it out!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Ingenious Idea for Breaking My Bad Health Habits: Acting Like I'm Pregnant

One major difference, besides, of course, not actually being pregnant is that my aim is to lose all this extra weight, not gain! I'm fed up with myself. You know that line from Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," --I'm nothing but tired, just tired and bored with myself--? Well, that's me. I drink beers that I don't want to drink; I eat food I don't want to eat, for no other reason besides laziness and being in a general rut. I'm tired of being overweight, (and other gripes), but stopping suddenly is hard, even with honest and passionate convictions. But then I thought, "Wait, if I were pregnant I would have to suddenly stop all this nonsense!" So, that's my version of WWJD right now. I need some habit overhauling and this little trick I'm playing on myself has been working out pretty well. Check out my new morning ritual instead of my morning reveille of four shots of espressso over ice with a splash of soy--and the $4 price tag.

The Big Easy Being Green Super Simple Smoothie. (Basic version, add your favorite pump up potions such as hemp seeds, flax, maca, spirulina, protein / probiotic powders)

I make mine in a Magic Bullet. Measurements are to give you an idea. I just fill the blender cup.

1/2 c. frozen very ripe bananas

1/2 c. frozen pineapple

1/2 c. frozen mango (mine were champagne mangoes)

handful fresh kale (mine is the pre-washed, chopped, bagged, curly kale)

splash of water to get things moving

Blend until smooth (duh!) Kale should be no larger than wee flakes

P.S. Check your teeth for kale bits after drinking. Ha!

Affectionately called "The Sludge." This photo explains why.