Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Home Is Where the Heart Is

The postings have been pretty sparse for the last month mainly because I have been doing a bit of traveling, after the week back in Chicago to see my mom and friends I was home for a bit and then left for Colorado to celebrate my sister Lena's graduation from Colorado College.  For me traveling typically means eating out a lot and this isn't always a good thing, I would say that I have a "sensitive" digestive system that can easily get thrown off from the heaviness and unhealthiness that dining out usually entails.  This has been magnified even greater this last week since I decided to do a 2 week vegan trial, I'll admit this was not the best timing on my part. 

The vegan diet has always intrigued me and as I continue to learn about different diets in my nutrition studies I am always tempted to try them out on myself to see how my body reacts.  So when I decided to embark on this vegan adventure last Monday I wasn't thinking about the upcoming trip to Colorado and how difficult it would be to give vegan a go while eating most of our meals out.  For those of you who aren't familiar with a vegan diet, it is based upon zero consumption of animal products or byproducts.  I knew going into this trial that the meat wouldn't be difficult for me to give up, it was the cheese that was going to get me!! I LOVE me some cheese- sliced, shredded, crumbled, grated, you name it I eat it : )  And typically if I am eating a veggie based meal I like to "beef it up" with some sort of cheese so I knew that part was going to be difficult for me.  While I was at home I had control over my meals and access to lots of non-meat based foods so it was much easier for me to create vegan meals but once I stepped into the world of dining out it became much more difficult, way more than I anticipated.  I can see how a lot of vegans slip into a diet heavy in carbohydrates and processed foods if they aren't conscious and prepared, I also knew that I didn't want to open the door to the world of artificial meats.  Two days in a row I had bean and rice burritos for breakfast, not my ideal way of starting out the day especially before heading out to explore the natural beauty that is Garden of the Gods.

My other meals revolved heavily around hummus, I love hummus and eat hummus regularly but I've had my fill for the rest of the month in the last couple days.  I also noticed I was eating a lot more bread than I usually do, something I am normally aware of eating in moderation.  We attended a lot of parties, dinners, and cocktail hours while in Colorado and I can say that my vegan diet kept me from eating a lot of crap but it also left me quite hungry since I didn't have many options.  We had a pizza dinner at our vacation rental one night and D'mom was nice enough to get me a mini vegan pizza, many thanks to D for that because I probably would have caved if I hadn't had it. 

I still have a week to go and although I have wanted to quit quite a few times I think the second half will be much easier now that I am back home and in the kitchen.  So far this experiment has made me realize a couple things, one that there is animal products in almost everything we eat especially when dining out, and two that I really do enjoy small amounts of meat and cheese in my diet.  I am looking forward to this next week and cooking up some healthy tasty vegan eats!

I did spend some time in the kitchen right before we left and I was SUPER pumped to make a fava bean soup that was part of the Mexican recipe collection from Savour magazine but it turned out to be a major FAIL, major.  First off I forgot to shell the dried beans before cooking them but once I realized this I removed the shells and continued on, the recipe didn't seem to call for enough liquid and the soup was so thick I had to add in about 4 cups of chicken broth to make it more than a paste.  The soup wasn't inedible but it definitely wasn't something I would make again, pretty disappointing considering I love fava beans and I love soup, it could have been a match made in heaven for me.

But this whole meal wasn't a disaster, there was a purple lining to this dinner cloud.  I found this box of organic purple corn flour on a recent trip to Whole Foods and I just had to get it.

What could be a more perfect accompaniment to a Mexican bean soup than purple corn cakes!!  I transformed this gorgeous purple flour into lovely little cakes, and topped them with sour cream and cilantro.  Now I didn't get to try these first hand because of the egg and milk in them but my eaters said they were great.

Purple Corn Cakes
-1 cup purple corn flour
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1 tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-3/4 cup milk
-2 tbsp honey
-1 egg
-2 tbsp vegetable oil


One last shout out to my little sis, congrats Bean we are all so very proud of you!!

Wren designed this layout of Lena photos which we had everyone write a special note on the mat and then framed it for her, she has been a rock star since birth!

1 comment:

  1. First, a huge congratulations to Lena on her graduation! It was a fun, family-filled weekend with a special flair only Lena can bring (ahem, human pyramid?). Another interesting part of the weekend was helping our own Ms. Enjoyable navigate menus during her vegan experiment, which I learned a lot from as an observer, though I can't say I was particularly envious of what she got to eat. By the last night at dinner, I felt compelled to tell the waiter (when Joya asked if the chef could prepare a vegan dish for her) that if he arrived at the table with anything containing hummus, he should probably duck out of the way when she threw it back at him. Ok, I wasn't quite that forward about it, but by the end of the weekend I could barely look at hummus anymore so I can imagine how Joya felt. Despite the sad vegan dish that eventually arrived, if you non-vegan readers ever find yourselves in Manitou Springs, definitely check out Coquette's. Right on the very cute main drag of town, this place serves remarkably delicious gluten-free savory and dessert crepes, soups and salads. Try the Lavender Love chocolate mousse crepe - but only with friends! My final comment on this action-packed post is to indeed recommend the purple corn cakes, which to me were a combination between a buckwheat pancake and a thick, homemade corn tortilla, which is my favorite kind.