Archive for December, 2013

Hello there, I hope the holidays are treating you right so far!

This year we traveled up to Ohio for the holidays with our families, which can be tough somewhat, being that we are literally a thousand miles away & so it seems that we are at a distance where they can’t see our week-to-week progression through life(though we do keep them up to date via phone calls).  It isn’t usually so tough when it comes to vegan food options; my partner’s parents are vegan & vegetarian and mine ask for specific items to buy(I typically make it easy on them & tell them hummus or veggie plates).  My family is pretty anti-kale(might have been the way they tried to cook it we suggested), but got me a cooking with kale cookbook anyway.  Just gives you an idea of where I’m coming from.  I deal with a lot of silly vegan jokes from my family, and I just laugh at the jokesters, not necessarily the jokes.  Then I give them a bit of information that surprises them on how beneficial a plant based diet really is for you.

Just remember that if anyone is poking fun at your veganism/vegetarianism/choices in life–laugh at them just enough to make them believe that you are laughing with them, and then enlighten them just a bit.  If they aren’t responsive to that tidbit of information, just continue laughing at them & don’t ever let anyone persuade you to think you are doing something wrong when you know in your heart that it is right.  Just be.

That’s our holiday in a nutshell.  Now we are back in Florida & enjoying tons of vegan options & warmer, sunny weather.

But that’s not why we are here, is it?

I’m here today because of a newer obsession–Macrobiotics.

Pretty cool stuff overall.  I was at a taproom recently and a new friend started telling me about his experiences at a certain Macrobiotic institute where he learned so many cool new things about food & the spiritual/scientific background of it all.  The really cool stuff is that it is all pretty much one big thing–not just spiritual, not just scientific, not just food, & not just a way of life–it’s all of it put together(at least from what I have gathered in our conversation & then further reading into the subject matter).

If anyone that reads this has any input on Macrobiotics, I’d love to hear it(especially if you know of any specialists in the north Florida area).  I’m definitely still learning myself, and always will be, but this is really something I’d love to get a better dialogue on.

Oh yeah, and right before we left for Ohio, we adopted a new part of our family:

His name is Little Baby Alec Burrito Baldwin, or Alec BB for short.

His name is Little Baby Alec Burrito Baldwin, or Alec BB for short.

He definitely fell asleep on my lap while I was working on some art yesterday.  We do have another adopted family member who you may know as Cinder:

She's a bright one, & quite a smiley pup too.

She’s a bright one, & quite a smiley pup too.

Cinder has been part of our family for four years now & has needed a companion for when we are out at work.  She shows a bit of separation anxiety & is quite a hyperactive friend.  Now that the two of them are together, getting them acclimated to each other is the next process.

One is a morning pup, the other not so much.  Guess which is which.

One is a morning pup, the other not so much. Guess which is which.

We’ve definitely given Cinder a lot more love, knowing she is probably thinking this is her replacement.  I don’t think she is necessarily showing signs of trepidation at the fact, just more along the lines of a jealous thing.  Not because of the attention, either.  Probably because in Alec BB’s potty training process, he gets to knowingly defecate on the carpet & get into much less trouble than Cinder.  Or I’m just reading into it too much & Cinder is just temporarily depressed that she isn’t the only baby.  The main thing is to show them both love & not play favorites.

Which we aren’t.

Alec BB just happens to be sleeping in my lap against my will.  So now I have to take a lot of breaks to pet & brush Cinder.

Enough of that cuteness though….

New Year’s Eve is tonight, are you celebrating?

If you are, that typically makes you more prone to the morning bug tomorrow, typically known in layman’s as a hangover.  I’ll spare you the Hangover movie .jpg & get right to it.

If you are trying to alleviate or avoid a hangover, here are some options you should try either the morning of or the night before(after drinking, of course).

Water.  Lots of water.  Alcohol takes it away from your body, being a diuretic of a sort, so put that stuff that composes something like 98% of your body back.  That might explain dryness of skin too, but I can’t be positive on that, just my own observation.

Fruit juice or smoothies.  Your body’s metabolism will speed up with the sugars in these, so it will give the bum’s rush to any hangover(I’ve always heard tomato juice is really good because of the vitamin B you lose during drinking as well–might give you an excuse for a bloody mary, just make sure they make it without Worchestershire sauce, that is essentially anchovie ketchup).

Bananas & potatoes(skin on).  Have a banana, they pack a potassium punch & are a great start to any day.   Make some homemade hashed browns with the skin on, they are good too!  Plus they might get some of that grease to your body that it is craving, coating a stomach & making it less upset.

Sports drinks.  We used to drink a 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade before going to sleep & woke up with no hangover at all.  That was back around the college days, so I’m pretty sure hangovers were non-existent considering the constant BAC running through our veins.  I have to be more careful with my brain & liver now.

That’s just a few ideas to keep you going into 2014 without too much pain.  That’s about it from me, still working on a bunch of recipes, so I have a ton of subject matter to delve into soon for some easy vegan tastiness.  Be safe out there & enjoy the rest of the year!

I still have an Alec BB sleeping on my lap.

 

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Wow.  It’s been nearly three months since I last had a chance to post anything.  In that time, I’ve been working the regular job(got a promotion there a bit ago & with that promotion, more hours to about 60/week and an hour-long commute one-way), I’ve been helping this awesome company working farmers markets & developing new menu items, quit the job I got a promotion with & started working full-time with Fresh.

It really wasn’t a tough decision in letting the great paying job go, considering the fact that even though I didn’t directly have to work with animal product, I still had to deal with it in regards to people asking me what is better-the chicken salad or the steak kabobs, most times the resulting answer involving me announcing that I was vegan & the resulting reaction of the customer being either an awkward silence with a inquisitively tilted head or a complete disregard of my answer & a dismissive approach at any other questions to me and an order of kabobs.

Bottom line was that I didn’t want to do that on a daily basis, whether I was a general manager of a restaurant or not.  So the other company asked if I would be interested in full-time with them & I was on board instantly.  The job consisted of working with organic plant-based food, working farmer’s markets in the area, and just working on menu items until the first store opens in the late spring of 2014.

Not bad, huh?  I’m pretty stoked, especially now that I only have the one job & work about forty hours a week(give or take, but if you love the job, it isn’t really work, now is it?).

That isn’t why we are here today though, is it(I guess it kind of is, considering this is the first day off I’ve had for months)?

We’re here to talk falafel.  I was craving some good falafel for a full day after I left my group at a bar to go home while they continued to a local Mediterranean bar & had food late night.  The place has some awesome food & I’m just a big fan of falafel, so what was stopping me from making some from scratch?  Certainly not a hangover, that almost required some garbanzo beans & spices fried in some oil.

So here we go.  Grab all of this:

2 cups chickpeas, fully cooked & drained(or just a can if you are short on time)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour(you can use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour as well if you want to make this a gluten-free meal)

Take the chickpeas & start mashing them in a bowl(or use a blender, I just like having a bit of a hand crafted consistency).

In another bowl, take the remaining ingredients except for the flour and mix them together.  When that is all done, add the chickpeas & flour and mix that well.  You should have a pretty good pasty mix going now, looking a bit like this:

It might not look like much here, but just wait...

It might not look like much here, but just wait…

Get a small pan & heat some oil in it(just enough to cover the bottom & then some).  Grab a handful of the chickpea mixture, roll it into a ball, flatten it a bit & carefully place it in the pan, like this:

Almost there....

Almost there….

Let that go for about five minutes, flip, five minutes more & put the patty on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.

I almost couldn't wait to make a sandwich out of these things.

I almost couldn’t wait to make a sandwich out of these things.

While you are waiting on some of the falafel patties, work on the tahini sauce-it’s really easy.  Basically mix these ingredients in a bowl:

1 cup sesame seed paste (tahini)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix them for a couple of minutes until it is completely incorporated.

This tahini sauce is awesome on veggies too!

This tahini sauce is awesome on veggies too!

Grab some pita, leaf lettuce, cut some tomato slices and build a tasty sandwich like this:

You might want to make a couple of these.

You might want to make a couple of these.

Now, this took me a total of three hours, mainly because I cooked the chickpeas from dried state, but it gave me plenty of time to play with the seasonings & tweak them nicely.  If you already have the chickpeas cooked or just a can of them, it should only take about twenty minutes to whip this up.  It’s just that easy!!  If you want to go gluten-free with the final product, just use lettuce as a wrap–it works just as well as the pita!

Enjoy, and expect some more posts from me with this extra time on my hands.  I’m reading up on Macrobiotics now, so I hope to have some awesome stuff on that side of the food spectrum as well!