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Wholly centered on that which is Holy.

7 Nov

Yesterday I went to an event that filled Rogers Arena, an event that sold out and had people standing in the aisles, an event that brought out 10900 people.  However, unlike most arena events, we weren’t of two sides, cheering one team over the other, or one politian vs. the others, we were there in unity, and that many people in unity is powerful.

I have and always will be greatly moved by masses of people agreeing on something.  I know I’ve blogged on this before, but the power of people meeting in agreement is earth shaking.  We were running late, and actually didn’t arrive at the stadium until it had already been going for 30 minutes, so we were forced to sit in the last possible section, at the top.  At first I was little disappointed that I may not be able to see or hear what was said , but being way up high gave us the best seat in the house.  We could see everyone.

Passion World Tour is a conference that goes to major cities around the world and encourages college aged people to live passionately for what the believe in.  What they believe in, being following Jesus Christ whole heartedly.

A lot of times being Christian in a secular world can feel lonely, or even pointless.  It feels like we’re not walking in the times of miracles that former generations witnessed, or that we live with the same passion as those generations did.  Then, however, you attend a conference of 10900 people all between the ages of 18 – 25 in Vancouver B.C and the majority are lost in worship to the creator, and passionate (at least for the moment) for the one that made everything and gives us life, and it all gets back in focus.  “Oh yea, that’s why I’m here.”

10900 people could do a lot.

There were several worship bands that were not consumed by pride, or any other problems that secular musicians struggle, and a speaker, Louie Giglio.

He spoke about how he wanted his live to he wholly centered on Jesus Christ, and why we needed to.  He wasn’t forcing us to, but just bringing up truths that most of us had heard all our lives. He opened with Collations 3:1-4 

 ” 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,      where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

He was so passionate about how what we did, thought, said, etc, had to be to the glory of God, regardless of what that life goal was, and it was inspiring and encouraging to be there, and to be ignited with that fire for it all again.

I tend to get distracted by food, people, social life, etc, and it’s all good stuff, but it’s all got to be to the glory of God.

That being said, I’m questioning my diet choices again… I know, I know, but this is a different issue that I haven’t thought of yet.  Here it is.  I don’t find being vegan hard, or depriving, or anything that most people think would come with the choices of the diet.  I’ve really seen it as a challenge, I love being healthy, and seeing what I can make, but there’s a few issues that have been brought to my attention.

Issue 1: I was reading “VegNews” (a vegan magazine filled with delicious recipes) on the way in to work on the train on Friday, and it hit me that the attitude of most people at that magazine, as well as a lot of vegans I’ve met is sort of a “holier than thou” type of thing.  They feel like all of their friends and family should accomodate them, that everyone should be incredible considerate, yada yada, where as I believe it’s a choice that one person makes and it’s not up to anyone else to follow or accomodate you.  So the issue was that I didn’t want people to automatically put me in that category and feel awkward eating around me or wearing leather or anything like that, because I genuinely don’t agree with that.

Issue 2: I’m primarily vegan for health, not so much the animals, however, I do hate the way animals are treated, but healthy farming practises don’t sound all that bad to me.  A lot of people though immediately associate “vegan” with “insane animal lover,” and I don’t feel comfortable wearing that hat.  There are rats running around in my house, which is disgusting, and I don’t want to feel ashamed about not wanting them there.  Also, I really love my leather purse.

(by the way, this being said, I still haven’t completely decided what I want to do with all of this, and I still want to be as healthy as possible, it may just mean ditching the title, and eating healthy vegan meals without being a vegan)

Issue 3: I’m getting married this summer, and Tals not vegan, and I don’t feel comfortable inforcing my diet on him… (which will most likely happen, because I do the cooking…) I don’t want him to feel deprived from a decision that he didn’t make, as well thinking way in the future, I don’t want our future children to feel like they are “different” and can’t eat what everyone else eats.  That being said, I want them to eat healthy, non-junk food foods, and try to limit sugar, and ban hi-fructose corn syrup from our household (which already will make them quite different) but if some kid is having a birthday party in school, I don’t want my children to have to play the snob and refuse a cup cake, you know?  As I get my mind around getting married, and my life becoming more “us/family” centered, vs. me centered, I feel like my decisions should reflect that of both of us, not just me.

Issue 4: (aka the selfish reason) It’s Christmas time, and don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are millions of recipes for delicious vegan goodies, BUT holiday baking can be quite disappointing.  Bananas are good egg replacers, but you don’t want all of your baking to taste like banana right? To tell you the truth, I’ve really loved the idea that I can’t have most Christmas baking (because of their non-veganess) and the idea that I won’t gain ten pounds over the holidays, BUT I do want to take part, and bake, and eat some decadent Christmas things that are creamy and made with eggs.

So I don’t know what to make of all of this.. but I’ll be doing research, and thinking about it.

(I still don’t think I could eat any lamb, cows, pigs, chickens, or even turkeys… I guess unless I went and saw where they were living… because I really don’t agree with the way that mass produced meat is produced.  I do however enjoy seafood immensly, and it has been one of the things that I’ve craved the most. I can get eggs locally, cheese? I don’t know… yogurt is nice, and I have missed it… milk? well I’m not really a cereal person, and I find dairy alternatives quite nice, and I still don’t agree that if you don’t drink it your bones will break down… I really don’t know if it’s necessary… with all the calium rich veggies out there… (my oh my, I’m ranting… sorry)) Anyways, it’s a lot to think about.

My friend Sophia is writing a blog about a 3 month (I believe?) local eating experiment in Australia (where she lives) and it’s really quite interesting and inspiring, I may try local eating? Who knows? I don’t know if I could live without wheat… you should check out her blog though.. http://ahundredmilesfromanywhere.wordpress.com/ She’s a delightfully talented writer, and I really recommend you read her blog!

Anyways, lots to think about.  Try to make loads of ethical decisions today!

Peace

Tomorrow, tomorrow. (orange poppy seed breakfast muffins)

29 Apr

Today was a … blah day.

I had taxes to do, history to do, reading to do, cleaning to do, and for some reason I couldn’t muster up any sort of motivation to  be excited about these things.

I dragged my heels, and got my taxes, some history, writing, and baking done. Once again the cleaning will be left for tomorrow.

Although, tomorrow is going to be a fun day in Vancouver, so the cleaning might have to wait until… Friday :S Well, perhaps when I get home tonight I’ll be able to squeeze a little cleaning in.

These muffins were one of the best things that happened today.

Orange Poppy Seed Breakfast Muffins

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup boiling water

2 3/4 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 nutmeg

2 tbsp soy flour + 2 tbsp water

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup honey

1 cup soy milk

2 tbsp poppy seeds

the zest of one orange

First, preheat the oven to 375, and grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan with reusable muffin cups.

Soak the raisins for five minutes in 1/4 cup of boiling water, and set aside.

Put the rolled oats into a food processor or blended to create a coarse flour, you will need two cups of it.

Mix the coarse oatmeal flour with the rest of the dry ingredients and set aside.

Strain the raisins and keep the water. Put the raisins into the food processor to chop coarsely, or chop by hand.

In a separate bowl, beat the soy flour and water (egg replacement) the oil, and the honey together, until smooth.  Then stir in the soy milk, the raisins (and the water), the poppy seeds, and the orange zest.

Add the wet to the dry stirring until it is just mixed well. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes.  You’ll know they’re finished when the tops are a crumbly yellow, and the bottoms are golden brown.

Serve warm.

yum.

Peace.

Once a week crawl. (scrumptious vegan chocolate chip cookies)

25 Apr

                                                                                                                                                                        Once  a week I leave my cozy home nestled in the hill of  ever-expanding Mission City, and make the commuting crawl in to the city of Vancouver to work at my aunts store, My Best Friend’s Closet.

This little commute, is not much compared to the amount of commuting the average person commutes, however, it is still horrible for the environment. I figure, it’s one day a week, not five, and that it isn’t “so bad” right?

Anyways, you’d think on  a Sunday morning that the free way would be a breeze, but nope, it took me a full hour and twenty minutes to get here.  On a day where there’s no traffic, I can get here in an hour easily.  Sometimes my ride home can take up to three hours. Therefore it’s my “once a week crawl.”

My crawl does give me time to think though.  I can listen to books on CD, sing out loud to songs, write songs, or just ponder big questions I’ll never have the answer to. Today I was consumed (while listening to a book that I wasn’t paying much attention to at that moment) with why we North Americans don’t have accessible systems in place that would recycle water throughout the average home, for example, the water than you shower your body with, would be routed to the toilet, dishwasher, and washing machine.  The water we use and flush that was used to clean something is referred to as “gray water” and I don’t see a point of not using it. Hopefully soon it will become common place, just like energy-efficient light bulbs and toilets with less water per flush.

Sometimes I enjoy the big crawl, and sometimes I have to fight to stay awake.

Lately I’ve been completely obsessed with my “future kiddies.” I can’t stop thinking about what they’ll look like, how old we’ll be when we’ll have them, how we’ll raise them, where we’ll play, what we’ll play, what I’ll bake for them, what we’ll have for supper, where we’ll go for walk, what songs will I sing to them, what will be their childhood memories.  Things like that.  To be a momma, is my biggest dream. Another type of thought that my mind becomes enamored with on my crawl into the city.

Today I arrived feeling incredibly tired at work, I got to work about 20 minutes early and slept in my car until it was time to open the store.  I was all groggy, and clumsy, then I put on the radio and there it was, Donovan’s “Preachin’ Love.”  That song will never cease to make me happy, if even for just a little while.

My goals this week are to:

1. Eat more whole foods, and begin to take out all processed foods.

2. Begin to cut sugar from diet.

3. Get my taxes done before the 30!

4. Continue to eat vegan, reduce garbage waste, and carbon emissions through daily decisions.

5. Study music history.

6. Cook some great meals that I can freeze or refrigerate for future use during the week.

7. Begin to become a locavore through small daily choices.  (Lovacore = eats seasonally and locally)

Here’s a recipe for when the week gets hard, and the non processed, no sugar,  thing goes on the shelf to be taken off another week.

Scrumptious Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These will make you forget you’re vegan, and make you feel super indulgent.

What you will need:

1 cup whole wheat flour (may be substituted for white flour, but why would you want to do that?)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup unrefined sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp canola oil + 2 tbsp peanut butter
1⁄3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line one cookie sheet with parchment paper or reusable baking paper. This batch will make about 11 cookies, depending on how much dough you eat while you make them, and how big or small the cookies you make are. Mix the dry ingredients well in one bowl, and the wet in another.  I like a little hint of peanut butter in my cookies, that’s why I have the “canola oil + peanut butter” deal, but if you don’t like that, just use 1/4 cup of canola oil instead.  If you want more of a peanut butter cookie, experiment with the ratio the other way around.

Mix the wet into the dry and add the chocolate chips. Mix! Mix! Mix! Roll the cookies into 1 inch balls and slightly flatten them with the palm of your hand on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating about half way through the baking process.

This recipe is so basic, you could easily add all sorts of other things, oatmeal, raisins, nuts, whatever you want, just make sure to even out the ratios of all the other ingredients.

You will feel super bad for indulging in these “cruelty free” cookies. (only truly “cruelty free” if the ingredients are local… so more like “cruelty to animal free”).

Have a good Sunday get some rest. Bake cookies. If I had kids that’s what I would do.

Peace.

A good morning, a good breakfast. (maple banana oatmeal yum)

25 Apr

 

I woke up this morning with a bit of an upset tummy.  I’ve noticed that recently when I do eat deep-fried foods, my stomach feels way more sick than it used to before I went vegan.  Not fun.

However, I was hungry and I needed fuel to get me through the 50% off sale at the local thrift shop, the international spring bazaar at church, the library, and to see the  high school’s performance of Grease that evening… I was feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it.

I decided on a fabulous classic, oatmeal, but I changed it up a wee bit! This is a perfect breakfast for getting you up and ready for a big day, when you’re not feeling absolutely fantastic.

Maple Banana Oatmeal Yum (makes 2 servings)

You will need:

1 cup quick oats, 1 cup soy milk (sweetened or unsweetened), 1 cup water, 1/2 tsp of salt, and one banana thinly sliced.

Add everything to a small sauce pan and give it a stir! Set the stove to a medium/high heat and continue stirring until the oatmeal is cooked and the bananas are “whipped.”  Serve in two bowls and top with a drizzle of maple syrup and soy milk to cool it down.

You could try adding nuts, raisins, or other dried fruits as well.

It was delicious, and although I’m still not feeling 100% better, it got me through the day with a smile on my face.