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Days Eleven & Eighteen through Twenty

It’s been a while since I have written on my progress with Vegan in 30 Days by Sarah Taylor.  I have used her book as a guide for the 30 steps it takes to go vegan.  I couldn’t do it in 30 days straight because I was interrupted by a trip to Europe and I have been too busy since, but I think it’s the final result that matters, not how I got there.

Day 11:  Fruit and veg cleanse

I didn’t write about this because I wrote about the first one and this went pretty much the same way.

Day 18:  Buy a veggie chopper

I looked into a food processor because it would have multiple functions (chopping veggies, making sauces, making hummus).  I just haven’t made a purchase yet because I think I would like to invest in a higher quality one and I need to allow some time to save up.

Day 19:  Treat yourself!

Taylor suggests showing your vegan pride and purchasing a shirt, or buying a new vegan cookbook to treat yourself.  I already have an awesome vegan cookbook that I’m working through, so I bought myself some non-dairy chocolate hazelnut spread.  I love Nutella, which was only reinforced on our trip to Paris, but it has dairy in it.  I came across a non-dairy version at Target called Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter for just under $10.  It’s quite oily, but it kind of reminds me of the natural peanut butter my mom bought when I was a kid.  It’s a little nuttier tasting, but I like it.  It’s about three times the price of Nutella, so I’ll just take care not to purchase a lot of it.  Probably a good idea in general anyway.

Day 20:  Eliminate eggs

I haven’t eaten eggs on their own since before we went to Europe, but I have consumed items that use egg as an ingredient since then.  That seems to be the toughest part of veganism.  I can avoid all animal products in food that I prepare myself because I have the ingredients in front of me, but when out at a restaurant or at a friend’s for dinner, I wonder what exactly is in the bread. To deal with this, I am making an effort to plan ahead and, failing that, I make safe choices.

Our friend had a barbeque for his birthday last weekend, so Eric and I planned ahead.  We brought loads of corn and a yellow watermelon to share.  Seriously!  I never knew that yellow watermelons existed!  I also made the black bean burgers, wrapped in foil and ready to toss on the grill, along with vegan hamburger buns and a little Daiya cheese.  I really loved my meal, had plenty to eat, and felt good about myself.

 

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the update!

Vegan Recipe – Black Bean Burgers and Mexican rice

We had a friend over to hang out on Labor Day and the boys felt like barbequing, so I decided to try another burger recipe.  I found this recipe for Vegan Black Bean Burgers with Cornmeal.

Ingredients:
2 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup salsa
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic salt

Like many recipes I have come across recently, this one called for a food processor to mix up the patty ingredients.  I’m relatively new to this “cooking from scratch” thing, so I don’t have a food processor yet.  I used some good old fashioned elbow grease and mashed the black beans with a fork, which took a hot, sweaty while, and then mixed the rest of the ingredients in with the beans.

Directions:
1.  Place beans in food processor; process until fairly smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, salsa, cumin and garlic salt. Process until well combined.
2.  Spoon mixture into 6 balls on a large plate and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours before cooking.  (I didn’t have one to four hours, so I put the plate in the freezer for about half an hour.)
3.  Heat barbecue grill or ridged grill pan over medium heat. Coat grill or pan lightly with oil. Form each ball into a 4-inch patty about 1/2-inch thick. Place the patties on the grill or in pan and cook until browned and heated through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

These came out so delicious.  Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, with a spicy flavor.  I melted a little Daiya pepperjack cheese on the bun, added a slice of tomato, and some salsa verde.  These will be my regular vegan burgers for quite a while I think, much better than store bought ones.

Black Bean Burger | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Black Bean Burger

In addition to the burgers, I enjoyed grilled corn and bell peppers, watermelon, strawberries.  Take a look at our omnivore/vegan friendly spread!  We are going to be having leftovers all week!

Vegan Mexican Rice | A Vegan in Progress

Our Labor Day spread – the pie was even vegan!

Eric really wanted some Mexican rice like his grandma always makes, but that calls for chicken stock.  I substituted vegetable stock and added some vegan chicken flavored bouillon.  You can see it in the blue pot above.  The original recipe is located here and the adapted recipe is below.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 of a medium onion
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon vegan chicken flavored bullion
1 cup plain tomato sauce
4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:
1.  In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh onion.  Sauté for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add dry rice and cook with the onions for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Add in the garlic to the rice and sauté for one more minute.
2.  Mix broth and bouillon.  Add in broth/bouillon mixture and tomato sauce (add slowly into the rice, not directly onto hot pan!)  And then add in the parsley if you’re using it.  Stir it up and bring to a boil.
3.  Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover.  Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork.