New Year Happenings and Ramblings

It’s been a long time. In addition to life, and a job, I’ve been involved in a time-consuming volunteer project (it ended last week, smile, smile).  I  was also having terrible slowness with my laptop. To the point where I just didn’t want to use it. I love my iPad, but I really prefer the laptop for the blog. Well, thanks to my husband for really cleaning the “gunk” out of this thing. Thanks to his hard work, it finally works like when it was new.

I had been percolating some blog ideas in my mind recently. I wanted to share a recipe that I shared with some relatives over the holidays, which they really liked.

Un-tuna–there are many recipes out there like this one. My favorite happens to not be available on the internet, it’s from Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan. But they are all pretty similar. Basically use the chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned), mash them with a fork, mix in vegan mayo (Vegenaise is definitely the best brand in my opinion), add relish, celery, grated carrot, or whatever you like. It’s an easy, delicious, healthy lunch. The protein helps it stay with you for the afternoon.  I usually just put it on any bread I have around, but I’m sure it keeps you full and energized longest if it’s on a whole-grain bread. Sorry for the bad photo-I had put it on Instagram for the vegcookbookclub (this version was from Isa Does It, which I was trying to not mention for one blog post). Oh well, that failed! And I guess I deleted it off my phone after I posted it. My Instagram user name is jules_luvsveg if you are into such things. It’s food pictures with an occasional dog or life picture.

chickpea un tuna

Here’s another vegan, animal-product free discovery I’ve made, and I’m baking it for the third time today. Wacky Cake!! I don’t have a photo, but just picture awesome chocolate cake in your mind.  This chocolate cake is amazing, easy and inexpensive, and  has been around since the 1940’s, when eggs and butter were scarce. I’ll link you to a version of Wacky Cake  (they all vary a tiny bit if you look it up on the web). I will say, the version I have–not on the web–does not require sifting (so skip that!!) and uses 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda. I sprinkle chocolate chips on the top of the cake before I bake it for more goodness. Try those changes for what I hope is perfection.

Another thought I’ve had recently is how thankful I am to be a vegetarian. Well, thanks to lots of news stories like this one lately–VERY thankful!!

And lastly, I think I might be vegan now. I don’t really like labels, but why beat around the bush?  Trust me that was never even in the thought process for me when I started this journey. I had my first round of vegetarianism in my 20’s (let’s just broadly say that’s more than a decade ago to provide some perspective) and did not have any awareness of what vegan was back then. I really don’t think I had much of an ethical thought process behind being vegetarian at that time. It was more of a “wow, I think that would be healthy, definitely ‘cool’ and alternative, and…I do kind of like my cat”. I remember a mention of “strict vegetarian” in my nutrition classes (my first major), but that was about it. I think I must have been in college right before PETA got big on campuses.

When I decided about four years ago I was done forever with meat for ethical and health reasons, I had a complete lack of knowledge about veganism. I truly thought, hey I’m not eating them anymore. I don’t hurt animals when I eat some yogurt, enjoy cheese, or scramble eggs. I will even admit I was a little ticked off when I bought a “vegetarian” cookbook during that period that really was vegan! I had no knowledge or even a bit of awareness about the lives that cows were living to bring me my cheese, living their lives constantly pregnant (artificially) and never getting to be with their babies. And then if you start to learn about the chickens in their horrific conditions…

I have to admit I was open to learning about these things and I did seek out more information as I learned bits and pieces. There’s a lot of information out there, and I took it in slowly and even skeptically, at times. But the conclusion I’ve made is that I just don’t want to be part of it all. I am at peace with knowing that my food choices don’t include animals in the equation. I’m not the type to tell anyone what they have to do. But if you are open to learning about the reasoning behind eating a fully plant-based diet, you just might surprise yourself at where it might take you. I know I am.

Have a great week!