Sunday, July 11, 2010

For every up there is a down

by Anne

Yesterday I attempted carob chip cookies. They were, as Beyonce would say, uh DIS-AS-TUH. They were definitely cooked too long, but I even cooked them less than the recipe called for. The carob chips melted and burnt, and over all, the cookies didn't have a great taste or texture. I would blame the carob  chips but the dough tasted fine. Next time (if there is a next time), I will find a different recipe, especially one that does not call for cinnamon.

But! I had a new success today. 

I have never had kale, but it's one of those health foods that the average American doesn't eat. I've never had it as it always seemed like it was probably going to be disgusting. I imagine that raw it probably doesn't taste very good. However, like many things, coated with a little oil, salt, and apple cider vinegar, and baked, kale tastes pretty good. They crisp up nicely and taste a bit like veggie chips or veggie crisps if you like those. However, no matter what anyone says, they don't taste like potato chips.

If you're so inclined, here's the (practically doesn't count as a) recipe. 

A few cups of kale, chopped into chip-sized pieces (I bought bagged, pre-cut)
1 T canola/vegetable oil (slightly less works well)
1T apple cider vinegar
1/2 t salt (or less) (I used 1 t and it was too salty)

clean and very thoroughly dry the kale. put in large bowl, add oil, salt, and vinegar and toss to coat. Spread on cookie sheet in one layer, probably best to do it in  a few batches. Bake for 12-14 minutes in a 350 degree oven and eat. They look strange on the cookie sheet and they should be mostly crispy. You might have a soggy bit here or there, but for the most part they should crisp up. They're very crumbly.

Kale has a good deal of calcium in it which is a concern for vegans, and obviously these are a lower fat and calorie snack than potato chips.

Here's a photo stolen from one of my favorite recipe websites, VegWeb.com

Don't judge them based on their looks

I realized I never wrote about my macaroni and cheese attempts. The frozen Amy's mac and cheese was very thick but tasty. I attempted to make my own but it was not good. It was completely bland, I'm interested to know more about how Amy's makes their cheese sauce because mine tasted absolutely nothing like theirs. I'm tempted to try Daiya vegan cheese to make up a small batch of macaroni and cheese to see how it works. It seems too good to be true, but I figure if I make a b├ęchamel with enough vegan butter, salt, and black pepper, it will probably get close to the right texture. The only problem is is that Daiya cheese costs about $5 per 2-cup bag. The most expensive things I've bought are the dairy imitations. Fortunately, I discovered that BJ's, our local wholesale store sells almond milk in half gallons which definitely drops the price. They're only $1.75 as opposed to the over $2.00 for the smaller box.
Daiya is lower in calories and fat (not drastically lower, 20 fewer calories per ounce, 3 fewer grams of fat). But it doesn't have much in the way of nutrients, no calcium, iron, vitamins, etc. It's lower in saturated fat, is cholesterol free and is free of all preservatives, hormones, and soy. I will report back on it's success or failure as a cheese substitute.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One month

by Anne

Whoops, I haven't written in here in a bit. And I almost posted this on Queen City Sabres. Haha that would've been confusing.

Today marks one month of me being a vegan. So far, so good. I must confess that I inadvertently drank a regular milk frappuccino the other day because I was distracted while I was ordering and forgot to ask for soy milk. Oh well, I felt guilty but better to drink it than let it go to waste. My Mom was more than happy to drink some and help alleviate some of my guilt.

So far after one month I've lost seven pounds, feel pretty good and haven't really missed much. I don't miss meat at all, I don't miss eggs, I miss cheese the most, but if I don't see it, I don't really miss it much. Homemade macaroni and cheese is the thing that makes me the most nostalgic for dairy. Other than that, it's been pretty uneventful. A friend of mine is a long time vegetarian who is trying out being a vegan for a while. She texted me this morning to ask about sub rolls at Subway, haha. For the record, their italian and hearty italian are okay, as well as the regular wheat but the honey oat is not as well as all of the cheese breads and the flatbreads. Hopefully she likes italian or plain wheat.

Tonight my sister leaves for Chicago for a few weeks. I'm going to try to whip up my first batch of carob chip cookies. My vegan birthday cake was good. The cake was vanilla and rather dense, almost like a pound cake. I really liked it but it wasn't a universal success. My Mom didn't really like it, but the rest of the family seemed to. My Mom has never been a huge cake fan.

On to the carob chip cookies! I was amazed by how long they have to cook, most recipes called for at least 25-30 minutes. I'm going to keep a close eye on them to see if that isn't a little too long. I shall report back on their success or failure.