The Broke Vegan

Laughter and Spinach are the Best Medicines


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The Hummus Man

On Wednesdays, my town hosts a local farmer’s market about 3 blocks from my house. During the season, I do 90% of my shopping there, as, let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than farm-fresh food. 

While they do have non-vegan foods (including a local butcher, who advertises “organic rabbits” and YES I do cringe as I walk by and avoid eye contact) this year they’ve brought on a restaurant, Taiim Falafel Shack, which I was convinced sold delicious fried amazing-ness wrapped in a pita. 

Falafels have to be one of my top 10 favorite foods. If you paired falafels with avocado my mind might actually explode. 

To my dismay – Taiim was only selling their in-house hummus (bummer) – no falafels for me. 

BUT – 

after purchasing my first container (house specialty of Masabacha) – The Hummus Man gave me the almost full sample taster, AND a container of Babaganoush to apologize for not having falafels. 

AND he gave me 3 pitas

I am literally swimming in delicious hummus. 

Oh yea – I still got it 🙂 


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2013 Green Grammys : A Recap

This post initially appeared on One Green Planet on Feb 11th

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While staying up until 12:30 to catch all the “behind, during, post, pre-show” commentary makes for a very bleary-eyed Monday morning employee, the 2013 Grammys didn’t disappoint, and was worth losing sleep over!

Before we even get into the Grammys – let’s take a step back, to last weekend’s Beyonce concert   SuperBowl halftime show. In interest of full disclosure, I will shamelessly admit that when Beyonce started performing, I started singing along. And, when Destiny’s Child reunited for that brief 3 minute slice of heaven, I got up off my couch and danced… in my pj’s….alone in my living room. I really don’t think you’re ready for my jelly.

Overall a flawless performance (and if you disagree than I will unfriend you from Facebook) – but Beyonce – why, why did choose to wear something so unfabulous?! As reported by The Guardian, Beyonce’s outfit consisted of (totally unnecessary) snake, cow and iguana. Wearing 3 (ok, maybe 2 – cows are not fierce) fierce animals doesn’t make you Sasha Fierce! This isn’t the only time Beyonce has made some unfriendly fashion choices – at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, Beyonce arrived wearing a Christian Dior mink coat, FYI Bey – you’re supposed to wear faux fur and sing live – not the other way around!

As for last night’s Grammy extravaganza, vegan songbird and Grammy collector Carrie Underwood took home the award for Best Country Solo Performance – and wore a projection screen around her waist during her musical number. But her red carpet look was all old-Hollywood glam – including a diamond necklace of 380 carats. 380. Carats. She could have bought old-Hollywood for that much.

Normally I watch award shows while noshing on kale chips and hanging out with my rabbit – but it’s an annual tradition amongst my musically-inclined friends that we celebrate “music’s biggest night” and make snarky comments together! My non-vegan friends had buffalo wings, and I ate guacamole. Lots, and lots of guac. So this week’s Best & Worst Dressed comes from a collective vote (so you know it’s not just my own biased opinion).

Best Dressed : CARRIE UNDERWOOD!! There was no room for error with this gown, and she pulls it off flawlessly. Not to mention how fantastic her booty looks! (Hey – I have to give credit where credit is due!) Honorable mentions go to Taylor Swift in J. Mendel – (although she really needs to rethink that ‘do – that’s how I wear my hair to work when I haven’t washed recently) and Kelly Rowland in Georges Chakra Couture for literally laughing in the face of CBS’ Dress Code memo

Worst Dressed: A collective groan went up whenAdele arrived in my dead grandmother’s apron, Katy Perry looked like a stick of Minty Fresh gum with a breast-plate, and Florence Welch came as a metallic stegosaurus. For a full list of the red-carpet horror show, please enjoy this photo montage.

Oh, and Jennifer Lopez’s right leg came naked. Who’s leg is better – J. Lo or Angelina!?


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CrockPot Diaries : Hodge-Podge Soup

After the emotional roller coaster that was this week – I’m not really up for cooking. And since I don’t have a dishwasher in my shoebox-sized apartment, I’m not thrilled about the possibility of cleaning either.

Luckily – I had some leftover “Hodge-Podge Soup” in my freezer, easily defrostable and microwavable for a hearty & filling meal, either alone or with a side of rice. This recipe isn’t an exact replication…. I took some creative liberties with this interpretation 🙂 I used the proportions from THIS (non-vegan) recipe – and modified it based on the ingredients of my pantry.

The beauty of hodge-podge is that it’s so versatile. Don’t have a sweet potato? Use butternut squash. Don’t have chickpeas? Use lentils. Don’t have vegetable broth? Too bad, you’re out of luck. 🙂 (but seriously – you have to have that….)

FYI – you will need some sort of “smoothing” tool – an immersion blender works best & is the least messy, but if you’re in a pinch, (and don’t mind the extra clean-up) you can use a food processor or a blender. But not a potato masher, that will not work. Just warning you….

It was good! I swear!

Ingredients :

  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 (or 3 – whatever) cloves of garlic – minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth/stock (what is the difference between a stock and a broth? Anyone?)
  • 1 decent sized sweet potato (cubed, skin on or off, whatever you prefer)
  • diced onion (depending on how much you like onions)
  • 1 can of chickpeas (drain ’em danno)
  • dash o’ parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of “Italian Spice Mix” (this is negotiable – but remember, the “main” ingredients are all pretty mild in flavors, so go easy on the spices, you don’t want to over-season)

Directions : 

  • Put all ingredients into the crockpot.
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Look! All the ingredients in the crock pot!

 

 

  • Put soup on “low” for 6 hours (or until potatoes et. al are very tender)
  • Celebrate excellent soup-making skills with a trip to Starbucks for a unsweetened-soy-green-tea-latte, and admit to yourself that you’re a 2013 hippie

6 hours later…..

Soup is ready for it's close up

Soup is ready for it’s close up – also – stir it. Don’t leave the spices floating at the top….

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Get out your handy-dandy smoothing tool. (And let’s all take a moment to appreciate that I actually HAD/HAVE an immersion blender!)
  • Use it on soup (I left some texture in mine, so it was more stew-esque, rather than soup-esque)
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Post-Smoothing!

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be honest – the flash on my camera makes it look more orangey than it was. It was more brown (thanks to the black beans) – so don’t panic if yours looks more like mud. It’s still good.

  • NOM on your delicious soup!!!

One side note for those of us who like any excuse to add more greens to a meal – for this soup, that is not a good idea. When I tried reheating it on the stove, I added in some kale for an extra boost of vitamins… for some reason I thought, “this time my greens will be good in soup!”.

I was wrong. Yet again – greens in soups/stews turn into stringy green snot and I hate them. (whaaa!)  I’m thinking that next time I’ll juice the greens and substitute the green juice for some of the broth first, instead of adding them in at the end.  Unless one of you lovely folks has a better idea… 🙂


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Celeb Buzz : The (Not So Green) Golden Globes!

This post initially appeared on One Green Planet, on Jan 15th. Enjoy!

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Last night kicked off every fashionista’s favorite season – Awards Season! Its here in full swing, and if last night’s Golden Globes were any indication, it should be a great one!

If you haven’t already heard, fellow veg-heads Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain won for “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Actress” (I don’t think that’s a coincidence people!)

Hathaway’s co-star Hugh Jackman took “Best Supporting Actor” and, the always stoic, Daniel Day Lewis took home “Best Actor”. You’ve got to love beautiful people in beautiful clothing – but my favorite moment? Tina Fey & Amy Poehler’s opening monologue – do yourself a favor and (re)watch it – clearly these SNL alums haven’t lost their touch.

Does anyone actually watch these shows for the awards? Let’s all admit it – no, no we don’t. Now that we’ve got that out of the way – on to the best parts!

The Fashion : Last night, actress Julianne Hough of Rock of Ages fame, caused me to “bug out” at the sight of her jewelry. You’ll excuse my horrible pun, but you can’t excuse her choices. Jewelry designer Daniela Villegas created a pair of beetle earrings and a stick bug cartilage piece made from… you guessed it… ACTUAL beetles and an ACTUAL stick bug. Her rational to E!’s Giuliana Rancic? “We decided to go a little bit more edgy…” Really?! No. Words.

Bradley Cooper dons an “eco-friendly tux” created by Tom Ford. It’s actually the third tux he’s designed for eco-conscious celebs, he was also the mastermind behind Anne Hathaway’s thigh-high, dominatrix-inspired boots at the Les Mis premier. If the “Sexiest Man Alive” says it – I think we can all agree, Green is Sexy! I wonder how it would look on my boyfriend….

As if being on the “Best Dressed” list isn’t enough – Anne Hathaway rocked another pair of vegan shoes, this time by Aldo. Now – where can I buy a pair? A non-vegan nod to my personal, “Best Dressed” of the night – Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery looking flawless in Alexandre Vauthier Fall 2012. Anne Hathaway can do no wrong, but Michelle stole the fashion spotlight in my book.

The biggest fashion moment of the night? No, not a “wardrobe malfunction”, and no, Angelina Jolie’s leg didn’t return. It was that no one (let me repeat) NO ONE wore fur. Times are a’changing people!! Bunnies around the world are celebrating!

The Food : The celebrities did their cruelty-free part, what about the venue? You’d think that if Best Actress (Jessica Chastain) and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway) were coming, you’d make sure at least one menu option was veg-head friendly. Nope. Perusing The Beverly Hilton menu – not a single vegan option in sight. I bet you think they whipped something up special for these ladies -(again)- Nope. Mayim Bialik reveals in her blog that she had to nosh on some vegan mac & cheese before hitting the red carpet. Not to mention Woody Harrelson and the darkly handsome Joaquin Phoenix also went hungry. When will people learn? All we need is some kale!

The Fun : What’s an awards show without some good old fashion snark? My personal favorite? Taylor Swift’s stink-eye stare at Diva/Mom Adele after she won “Best Song” for “Skyfall”. I’d recommend watching her entire acceptance speech (who doesn’t want to be this woman’s best friend?) but skip to :50 for the token “mean-girl” look from Taylor. I’d watch your back Adele – next thing you know you’ll join the ranks of Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer and have a sassy tween-girl anthem written about you.

The talk of the town (and my twitter feed) was Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. No one is really sure what, exactly, she was trying to say. Something about privacy, and perhaps she was coming out of the closet, and/or going back in? I laughed, I cried, I admired her toned arms, and, at the end of 7 minutes, still had no idea what she was talking about. (Do we see hints of activism in your future Jodie?!) The one thing I did understand, was that she loves her family. And really – what more do you need to know?

Up Next : Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) Awards – (I hear it’s just one big party!!)


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A Jam by any other name is…. a Spread? a Paste?

This has been a bizarre week – my entire management chain (up to the guy who runs Marketing and Communications – whom I consider to be a minor celebrity) is taking their summer vacation. So it’s all quiet on the Westchester front.

Too quiet.

I’m working from home these 4 days, which makes impromptu cooking much easier!

During my lunch hour today (aka my 1 hour to try and avoid cabin fever) I stumbled across the White Plains farmer’s market! Don’t ask me why – but the farmer’s market in WP is held on Wednesdays from 8am – 12pm. (Tomorrow is a holiday, hence the reschedule)

Who in their right mind has a farmer’s market in A) the middle of the work week & B) the middle of the work day? – but it was nice. Considering I just spent an arm & a leg at Whole Foods, I bought some sugar plums (YES LIKE FROM THE XMAS STORY!!!) from an Amish farm and was hit on by a Kettle Corn seller. All in a day’s work I guess 🙂

New recipe test for ya’ll!
Blueberry Vegan Spready-Jam* (bberries were on sale at Whole Foods 🙂
Ingredients –
1 pint of blueberries
2 tbsp of chia seeds (OK – so I didn’t use Chia seeds. I used Flax Seed, which came out to about the same thing – I think. You should all know I sort of wing these recipes)
3 tbsp Maple Syrup/Agave/Liquid Sweetner
Dash o’ Vanilla Extract

Directions –
1. Mix the blueberries & liquid sweetner in a small pot on the stove. Mash up the bberries, (use a potato masher – works better than a fork). Leave some bberries for texture. Cook at boiling for about 5 minutes.

Pre-Flax seed. It was a beautiful blue/purple color

2. Mix in seeds (chia or otherwise – the seeds, when combined with a liquid, are used as a thinkener) and cook on a med/low heat for about 15 minutes.
3. Stir frequently. This is muy importante b/c you don’t want the sugar to burn
4. Once it’s been cooked to the desired consistency, remove from heat & mix in vanilla extract.
5. Store in an air-tight container in el fridge. I put mine in a glass mason jar which made me feel super-hippy 🙂

*Fair warning – you may need to add more maple syrup/sweetner to your own taste preferences. My spread ended up not as sweet as jelly/jam (duh) so if you want something sweeter – you may need to add extra.

Verdict
– it’s an OK vegan substitute – I’ve been wary of foods that could pectin/lecithin/gelatin – as pectin is vegan, but the others aren’t. Plus, some of those jams/jellies have a lot of added sugar. I think it needs something more to enhance the natural sugars in the blueberries. Maybe a mashed banana or some applesauce next time.

Also – LB did not enjoy it. I tried to get her to taste some. Womp Womp. She’s going to stick with raisins and bananas.


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Italian Comfort Food – Vegan Version

After my Vegan Dinner #Fail yesterday – I wasn’t ready to be beaten by the kitchen just yet. I peeled myself off my mattress last night (it was only 8:30 folks – I’m such an old lady) and headed back to the battlefield.

Last Saturday I bought these 2 beautiful tomatoes from a local mom&pop store in a neighboring town. The first went to the awesome arugula salad, & I made my second favorite Italian comfort food (ICF) with the other.

Obviously, my first favorite ICF is my family’s homemade pasta, sauce & meatballs. You cannot do anything for the rest of the day after you eat it, because it takes a solid 8 hours for the bowling ball of carbohydrates to leave your stomach – but it’s so worth it. Every plate licking calorie. The pasta is so good that even our dogs eat it. No joke.

My second favorite ICF is stuffed vegetables – specifically artichokes & tomatoes. My Nonni (Italian grandmother) was the resident cook, and she used to make these for me – if I asked nicely. My Nonni passed away in 2006 – and one of my last memories of her, as the healthy, loving and vital Non she was – was sitting in her kitchen as she baked me a tray of stuffed tomatoes. 🙂

As the cruddy cook I was/am – I never thought stuffed tomatoes were in my realm of ability. They looked so fancy & foo-foo – I thought I would ruin them for sure.

UNTIL! I went to North Carolina and my aunt offered to teach me. I was stoked! I was all prepared with a pad of paper and my cooking hat – to master the finesse & tact required to tackle such an illustrious task as “the stuffed tomato”

……until I realized how dead-a$$ easy they are to make.

Here it is folks – ICF: Vegan Style!

Step 1: Purchase tomatoes. Cut off the little green stems and cut tomatoes in half. Not longways – sideways – this is important.
Step 2: Pick up half of tomato. Mush it. Seriously – pretend you are making a fist around the tomato. This will get messy – but all the little seed pockets will loosen up.
Step 3: Fling your wrist into the sink – without letting go of the tomato! (This does require some practice) But the point is to launch some of the tomato seed pockets into the sink. You can also achieve this in a slightly more civilized manner by using a spoon & removing the seeds.
Step 4: Once each half is seedless – set aside.
Step 5: Make the filling. Dump some breadcrumbs into a bowl (Note: to healthify this – use Panko crumbs, 1/2 crumbs & 1/2 flax seed, really anything that will get a nice crust when baking). Add some parsley flakes & garlic (I used minced – hey – I’m resourceful) and whatever seasoning you’ve got lying around.
Step 6
: Add some EVOO – probably like – 3 or 4tbs (we’re not big on measurements in my family apparently…) Again – to healthify – flax seed & water should do the same thing. Mix well with a fork until the crumbs make a crunchy sort of sound. (again – we don’t do specifics in my family… just mix well – you’ll be fine)
Step 7: Fill the tomatoes! Use a wooden spoon to fill and round the tops of the tomatoes

Pre-Baking

Bake the tomatoes at 350 for about 10 minutes – depending on the type of oven you have. They’re done when the filling turns golden brown.

now – STOP! DO NOT EAT TOMATOES ONCE DONE COOKING!!!

Seriously – eat 1, and only 1 tomato out of the oven. Cover the other(s) and put in fridge overnight. They better the next day!

Reheat for 1 minute in the microwave the next day.

Enjoy perfection on a plate. ❤