Thursday, May 26, 2011

Taco Thursday!

I saw this video on Tuesday, and I really liked it.

I love that it shows how people really do go about transitioning to a meatless lifestyle.  It often takes lots of different sources of different information, and it starts as simple as one meal.

I really wanted tacos right away after seeing it, but I had leftovers then, so I decided to wait for Thursday so I could be catchy.  I had some Gardein Beefless Tips in the freezer that I had no idea what to do with, and luckily the Gardein website had this great taco recipe.

Dinner on the porch.  Such a beautiful night. 

It's a little confusing in the format, but made sense once I read it.  The ingredients other than the tortillas up to the words "avocado salsa" are the marinade ingredients.  This meal comes together VERY quickly and easily and tastes so fresh and delicious.  I used slightly less green salsa than in called for in my avocado salsa, and I still thought it was too much, personally.  I also used a little more corn and will double the corn next time.  For defrosting, I defrosted the beefless tips in the microwave by cutting open the bag and cooking them for 1 minute, the corn I put in for about 40 seconds in a microwave safe bowl (because I used frozen corn).  For my cheese, I used just a touch of cheddar daiya.
Oddly, this is her "smile" of approval.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Just Want a Cupcake

When I first read that Natalie Portman stopped being vegan during her pregnancy because she was craving cakes and cookies, I scoffed.  I mean, she's Natalie-FREAKIN'-Portman.  She doesn't live/work near a vegan bakery?  She can't hire a personal chef to lavish her with amazing vegan baked goods?

Is there a movie out this year that she's NOT in?  Seriously?!

So it was annoying, and frustrating, and saddening because she became a vegan after reading the same book that changed my life to veganism, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  The worst part for me is that she's looking to buy these products from regular bakeries, which I have a feeling aren't getting their eggs from more humane farmers.  The same goes for butter/milk in those products.  So she's going from omitting these ingredients completely based on her ethics to purchasing products from likely the worst of the worst (see: lowest bidder).  I can understand making hard choices for your baby's health, but laughing about her choice really makes me wonder if we read the same book.  This article discusses the choice she and other vegans have made to give up veganism through pregnancy and the needlessness in most cases for indulging those cravings.

As a young girl, I looked up to Drew Barrymore for a million reasons and one, so she was my first vegetarian role model.  I remember as a teen being devastated when I read an article that she had started eating meat again so she could lose weight for Charlie's Angels.  What a beautiful woman, who felt she had to lose THIRTY POUNDS to look good enough.  She was gorgeous before, and now I just see a thin girl who doesn't know who she is anymore.  When she filmed a movie in my town this summer, one of the local articles said that she was reading a copy of Eating Animals in between takes, which gives me some hope.  But maybe it just doesn't have the same effect on others as it does on me.  Maybe reading it in the wake of a beautiful birth made me more receptive.  Who knows?

It's not like I don't remember just over a year ago when I was buying products and eating food without any regard for their origins or who was hurt along the way, so I understand the people out there still eating meat and choosing their battles.  It's a common excuse we tell ourselves that they, "just don't know," because the truth is that many people don't care about the suffering of animals.

But all that aside, the point of this post is that I want a cupcake.  There is nowhere in Anchorage for me to get a vegan cupcake, unless I spin the wheel of fate and one of two cafes that have once in a blue moon had vegan cupcakes just happen to have them on a day when I can get into a cafe.  I can make my own though, and that's my only choice.  The thing is, I'm over halfway pregnant, I'm cranky, my cravings are so strong I just ate 4 Tofutti Cuties, and I still want a cupcake.  But I'm not going to surrender my ethics because of that.  I'm not going to go down to the grocery store and get the gross bakery cupcakes.  I'm not going to say, "Oh, well I'm pregnant, so this doesn't count."

I'm not better or stronger or anything else than Natalie Portman, I'm just making a different choice.  I don't want to prove that I can do something she can't, I just want to point out that I can, and I do, and in the end it's not that big of a deal.  Like I said, I can make my own.  My cupcakes are better than most I've had store-baught anyway, thanks to my PPK girls and their Bible/cupcake cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  

So for any preggies out there: here's the recipe for a delicious chocolate cupcake.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother's Day: A Short Diary

Sunday May 8th, 2011 (Mother's Day)
2am-ish:  Violet woke up crying in a way that said she was scared of something.  Both my husband and I tried to take her back to bed, but were met with more fear.  So, we brought her back to our bed.  She snuggled in with me in my awesome pregnancy pillow and we fell asleep.

7am: I woke up in the most perfect picture of motherhood.  I had my right arm around my beautiful todder, and our foreheads were touching.  My left hand was on my belly, over my unborn child who shifted with us as we all woke up together.  I wish I had a photo of this, but the image is so clear in my mind.  I said to my husband, "This is what it is to be a mom."

Wednesday May 11th, 2011
2am:  We hear crying from Violet's room, so my husband goes in to check on her.  I hear him say, "Oh no!" and take her to the bathroom.  Then he calls to me and asks that I change her sheets.  She had thrown up in her sleep.  She threw up again in the bathroom (on her daddy of course, not in the toilet or sink).  When we brought her back to her room, she just wanted me to hold her.  The massage I had gotten the day before as a Mother's Day present faded away as I sat in the position most comfortable to her and least comfortable to me.   She threw up on me, then after I had to change my shirt I put a towel over my chest and got in the rocking chair with her.  It was clear she was not interested in getting back in her bed or leaving me for a second.  I spent the rest of the night in the rocking chair with my darling on my chest sleeping, but waking every half hour or so to moan and then throw up.  Luckily, it was in that order and I was able to catch it/shield myself in time.

Noon-ish:  The doctor has told us not to give fluids until she stops vomitting and she is begging for fluids.  She refuses to be not touching me, specifically enjoying being on my chest.  As a result, I can't drink or eat anything except if I sneak away for a minute to hide in the bathroom.  She is exhausted and is getting no calories, so she sleeps in tiny cat naps on me and throws up periodically.
This is what motherhood really looks like.

Thursday May 12th, 2011
10am:  We finally go to the doctor's office because it's been over 24 hours and she can't even keep small sips of water/tea/coconut water down.  When we were getting ready, I set her on my bed so she could still see me since she refuses to let me out of her sight.  She slept in her own bed last night, but as soon as she woke up it was back to the lap.  While I have my back turned to get clothes out of my dresser, I hear, "wa wa!"  I turn around to see she is chugging out of the water bottle I keep next to my bed.  She throws up on herself on the way to the office.  The doctor suggests a popsicle, which Violet has never had before, and she loves it.  The puke on the car ride over turns out to be her last.

8pm:  She's asleep.  We have been giving her 5ccs of Pedialyte at a time through a syringe (by mouth) and she isn't throwing up at all.  She nibbles a bit at some food.

Friday May 13th, 2011
8am:  I drop my husband off at the airport for his two weeks at work thinking that we are out of the woods and she will start eating and feel fine now.  She ate a lot of oatmeal this morning, as well as some of Daddy's cereal.  She's fine, finally.

10am:  She falls asleep for a very early nap, but of course she's tired.

11am:  She wouldn't stay asleep for more than a few minutes, so I get in her toddler bed with her.  She wakes up at 11 and starts moaning.  I think she is going to puke on me, so I grab a towel.  Instead, I hear an erruption in her pants.  I change her diaper and it's horrific and totally liquid.  The virus has moved south.

8pm:  She spent the rest of the day in good spirits, but with explosive diarrhea.  After that first diaper incident, she tells me first and goes in the toilet.  She is drinking a lot of water, but she's losing a LOT of water.  It's unbelievable that someone so small can poop so much.  She's not very interested in eating.

Saturday and Sunday
A blur of trips to the bathroom.  On Sunday she still wasn't eating much, but she was drinking soy milk and at least getting some nutrients with her fluids.  I try again and again to mix acidophilous with yogurt or apple sauce and she turns it down.  Finally she began eating some yogurt, then I started making her her usual morning drink which is a container of yogurt and about a cup of soy milk mixed together in a straw cup.  It's like a smoothie but without all the fruit.

Monday May 16th, 2011
11:30pm: I put her down for a nap but she cried, so I checked on her.  She said she had to poop and I prepared sadly for more explosions.  Instead, she pooped a solid turd.  Never have I been so happy to see a turd!  She was eating and drinking well today, and I had given her soy yogurt mixed with soy milk to help the cultures in her gut replenish.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baked Vegan Cheesecake: I Have No Idea What New Yorkers Eat

I like a good baked cheesecake as much as the next girl, but I hesitate to call this "New York Style" cheesecake the way so many big companies will do just because it's baked.  I'm just saying that it's baked, and that a New Yorker may or may not enjoy it.

My husband was a bit ho hum about my yummy no-bake vegan cheesecake ventures, and I finally got out of him that it's because he prefers the baked cheesecake.  Well that's no problem darlin', I just needed to know so I could create accordingly!  This recipe fills the bill of dense richness that he wants, and has a tang that reminds me of my grandmother's cheesecake which always included sour cream.  It would be great topped with cherry pie filling (canned or homemade) or a caramel and chocolate topping, but I decided to be a purist for this one.
This filling goes all the way to the top of the crust. 

Plain Baked Vegan Cheesecake
1 premade/storebought graham cracker crust (I haven't had a hard time finding vegan ones, just watch for honey)
2 tubs Tofutti cream cheese
1 single serving container of vanilla or plain soy yogurt (this is where that great sour cream tang comes from)
1/2 cup sugar/ evaporated cane juice
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (I get the big bag of Bob's Red Mill and it's cheaper than bottled)
1/2 cup soy creamer vanilla or plain
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  I use my standing mixer and combine everything but the crust until it's smooth and creamy, but I suppose this could be done by hand, so long as everything is combined well.  It helps to mix the arrowroot with the creamer separately, then combine in.  Arrowroot doesn't clump much, but it's still easier this way.  I haven't tried it with cornstarch instead of arrowroot, but I think it would yeild similar results, but maybe a slightly chalky taste.
Pour mixture into crust and smooth out the top and bake for 30-45 minutes.  The top should puff up all the way to the middle and turn slightly brown in patches.  Once it's all puffed up, turn off the oven and let it sit a few minutes so it can naturally sink without too big of a heat change.  Take out, let it cool, and then refrigerate overnight for best dense results.  Before it's cold it has an almost custard-like consistency, which isn't bad, but isn't that nice rich cheesecakey feel either.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegan Pregnancy: Part 4

It's a BOY!

Yesterday was the big 20 week ultrasound and we quickly discovered that we've got a little man on the way!  It's hard to say goodbye to my daughter's adorable little cothes, but I think it's probably best for our family.  We only wanted 2, so we'll get to have one of each and never wonder "what if we wanted to try for a ___."

I think Violet was on to the truth for a while though, as were we.  We get a monthly book through a program called Imagination Library.  It's free and fun, for the most part.  There have been some books I wasn't too fond of, but they were free, so I'm not complaining.  Anyway, a few months ago, we got Big Sister, Little Sister in the mail and we thought Violet would be really into it. It's a great book for siblings and has all pictures of real siblings doing different fun things and the text is in fun rhymes.  Violet let me read it to her all the way through one time, and then ripped one of the pages and won't get more than a page through it anymore.

Then the next month, we got Big Brother, Little Brother, which I figured she'd have the same lack of interest in.  I didn't really push it and I put it with her other books.  It quickly became a bedtime favorite and is sometimes repeated.  It's the same style, with pictures of real brothers playing together and rhymes to go along. One night after we read through it and she was so excited, I told her that no matter what the baby turned out to be, she could be a big brother if that's what she wanted.

We also had a name picked out for our boy long before we knew he was a boy.  We had been throwing names around and around, getting too narrowminded by our desire to have it fit into a certain box or style.  We wanted a name of something in nature, like Violet Rose.  Then we wanted an Irish name.  Then I was stuck on names that started with Q for a while and only wanted to discuss Q names for a boy or girl.  Then one day, we were listening to the Beatles and Obla Di came on and the first word is Desmond.  As soon as we heard it we both turned to one another and said, "What do you think of Desmond?"  Since then, I've been calling this baby Dez and trying to decide if I would be willing to call my daughter Desdemona if it turned out we were having a girl (the answer was no).

So we went into our ultrasound with all three of us expecting a boy, and lo and behold, we were right.  The evidence was clear as soon as the baby came up on the screen, and all my fears about having a small penis in my life came true.  How will I clean it?  Will he pee directly into my mouth while I'm changing him?  Will people treat him strangly because he is intact?  Will he knock up some girl that I don't like when he's 15?  I'm sure the answers will all come in time though, and I'm so excited that Violet gets a younger brother to play with and to be her brother for life.

We also had another nice surprise at our ultrasound.  Despite the fact that I have only gained 2lbs in the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy, Dez is measuring a little big.  This is great news, because it's a sign of health and strength.  What a lovely surprise.  No worries about him growing.  I was starting to wonder because until recently I didn't feel like I was showing much and I wondered how a whole baby was fitting in there.  I'm all round and robust now though, and it's good to know he is too.

Some day I will find time and energy to post some recipes again.  Until then, my boy and I are going to rest while big sis sleeps.