Hurricane Sandy and Vegan Pizza

It’s been a weird week with Hurricane Sandy. There’s still no power at my work office in NYC, so I’ve been out all week and cabin fever is setting in! I finally ventured out today and it was nice not to be stuck inside. Luckily, there was no damage where I am, but it’s sad to see all the photos from New York, Hoboken, the Jersey Shore and all the places that were badly affected by the storm. Hope you all fared ok if you were in the path of Hurricane Sandy!

I wanted to share a tasty meal I made during the storm. I’ve posted about homemade pizza in the past, but I figured I would share this new combo. I bought pizza dough from Trader Joe’s before the storm hit. I sauteed some garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in vegan butter. I used this as a garlic butter base rather than tomato sauce. Then I topped that with sauteed onions, vegan sausage, fresh slices of cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. It made for a yummy and quick meal in the midst of all the rain and wind.

The storm left me thinking…how do vegans prepare for emergency situations? We stocked up on vegan granola bars, vegan soups and chili, almond milk, cereal, pasta and sauce, Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks, and all the usuals like water, bread, etc. What do you stock up on when a storm is headed your way? Anyone have any good tips?

Also, keep an eye out for the Virtual Vegan Potluck taking place tomorrow. There should be lots of yummy recipes!

The Cat Food Dilemma

So you may remember a while back when I posted a photo of a little 11 week old kitten I adopted. He’s now 9 months old, 12 pounds, and still growing. The “Tucker Then” photo is actually before I got him, so he’s younger than 11 weeks there.

It’s obvious that the boy likes to eat. I’m a Vegan Kat, but he’s not. He doesn’t even stick to actual food and enjoys chowing down on shoe laces and plastic bags…two habits I’m really trying to curb. He oddly also really likes kale to the point that he begs for it and steals it if I don’t give him any (maybe there’s a little vegan in him somewhere). He even chewed open a bag of kale that I had defrosting on the counter just to eat some little frozen kale bits. What can I say…he’s an odd cat.

It’s a dilemma though, for a vegan with a cat, what to feed them. Cats are carnivores, not omnivores, so I recognize that difference and his need to eat meat despite his kale loving ways. I know that there are vegan cat foods out there, but there’s also conflicting information about whether a cat can be healthy on a vegan diet. Omnivores can live healthily off of a plant based diet, but carnivores aren’t built that way. I’m okay with carnivores eating meat. That’s nature and that’s what they have to do.

The challenge for me, however is that commercial pet foods buy into the same factory farming system that is cruel to animals. It brings up a moral dilemma of giving this little guy a home (he was a stray), but having to feed him food that causes pain and suffering to other animals. A second issue is that most commercial cat foods are kind of atrocious as far as quality of ingredients.

So, shortly after I adopted him, I spent some time researching the best food solution. What I ended up choosing to feed Tucker is Orijen cat food. It’s made in Canada using sustainably farmed free-run/free-range/wild caught fish, red meats, and poultry. It’s all food that would be fit for human consumption, not by-products and who-knows-what found in most pet foods. Orijen is meant to match what cats would naturally eat, rather than just finding a way to use what’s leftover from processed food manufacturing.

It’s a little bit pricey, but a bag lasts a while. I’m willing to shell out the extra cash for what seems to be more humane and better quality cat food. But it’s still meat! I think this is the best option, but what do you think? Do any of you have pets? As a vegan or vegetarian, how do you go about deciding what to feed them?

Vegan Breakfast Month – Odd n’ Ends Breakfast Tips

My vegan breakfast themed month is nearing an end. Hopefully some of the recipes I’ve posted have given you some inspiration for new vegan breakfast options. I’ll wrap up the theme with a few odds n’ ends vegan breakfast tips that didn’t seem worthy of a entire blog post individually.

Pancakes:

I didn’t include a pancake recipe in the breakfast month, because vegan pancake recipes are pretty abundant and easy to find. I like making regular pancakes from scratch as well as various flavors like banana, apple oatmeal, etc. It’s pretty easy and quick to make pancakes from scratch, but if you want them even quicker, try out Cherrybrook Kitchen’s vegan pancake and waffle mix. It really can’t get much easier, and they turn out pretty well.

 

For veganizing baked goods recipes, I usually just switch out Ener-G Egg Replacer powder for the eggs, soy or almond milk for the milk, agave for honey, and Earth Balance vegan butter for butter or margarine. Most of the time recipes can be easily veganized using these or other substitutes.

Soy or Coconut Yogurt Parfait:

Making a parfait out of soy or coconut yogurt, some defrosted frozen berries, and your favorite granola is a simple and satisfying vegan breakfast. I like to pack this up to take to work with me. I put the frozen berries in with the yogurt. They keep it cold and are mostly defrosted by the time I get to work. Keep the granola in a separate container so it doesn’t get soggy. I’ll also sometimes eat this as a dessert when I want something sweet, but don’t want to eat something more sugary like ice cream or cookies.

Bagels:

Bagels are easy to grab on the go or take with you. If you haven’t already tried Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, it’s definitely worth a try. It can also be used in dessert recipes that call for cream cheese. The best bagels, in my opinion, come from NYC. If you live in New York or are here for a visit, I would recommend getting a bagel at Ess-a-Bagel. They have the best bagels I’ve ever had, and they also offer a variety of tofu cream cheeses including scallion, vegetable, raisin walnut, herb, and others. Another good bagel place is Russ & Daughters. It’s a small little store that was packed when I went, but they are surprisingly efficient. We were in and out really quickly. They also offer tofu cream cheese in plain, scallion, and vegetable.

Smoothies:

I’ve lost count of how many blenders I’ve broken trying to make smoothies, but they are tasty and a good way to start the day. My biggest tip is to use frozen fruit, and no ice. The frozen fruit won’t break your blender and won’t dilute the taste of the smoothie like ice will. Play with your favorite fruit or veggie combinations, add some soy or almond milk or some soy or coconut yogurt, a little peanut butter or almond butter, and throw in some vegan protein powders like hemp or soy protein for an extra boost. I would strongly advise not using pea protein. It just doesn’t taste very good, and it’s very dominant and difficult to mask.

Hot Cereals:

Oatmeal is a great staple for a vegan breakfast, but you can also branch out and try other hot cereals like cream of wheat, grits, rice, and other mixed grain cereals. Add some nuts, a little brown sugar or maple syrup, some raisins, and you have a filling and fairly healthy vegan breakfast.

Granola Bars:

If you need something quick that’s easy to take with you, a vegan granola bar is a good choice. There are two brands that I like, NuGo Organic and Pro Bar. These are also great to pack on a trip where vegan options might be limited. If you need a quick snack because you can’t find any vegan options, they’re great to have on hand.