Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

9 Nov

Nothing says “winter” like really hearty winter meals!  I can’t imagine living in a part of the world that never got cold because what would you do with your thick winter stews, and the ever comforting Shepherd’s Pie?

Now, the picture above isn’t of my exact shepherd’s pie, because we ate it before I could get a picture of it, but it very closely resembled this one.  The recipe is completely vegan, completely comforting, and doesn’t take too long make.  It would be a really good dish to serve anybody who was wary of vegan food, because it would knock their socks off!

Tal gave it a 10/10 on the Shepherd Pie scale.

So here’s the recipe.

You’ll need:

  1. 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used red potatoes (and left the skins on because it’s prettier) because they mash a lot easier, and have a very velvety texture)
  2. 2 Tbsp of Earth Balance butter, or other vegan butter substitute
  3. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  4. 2 tsp canola oil
  5. 1 Pkg Yves Veggie Original Ground Round (340 grams)
  6. 1 green pepper chopped
  7. 1 small onion chopped
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  10. 1 cup vegetable broth (check ingredients, because even a lot of “vegetable broths” will contain animal ingredients)
  11. 1 cup combined peas, carrots, and corn

Okay, so here’s what you do:

  • Scrub the potatoes (peel them only if you want to) chop them up, and stick em in a big pot of water.  Cook the potatoes until they are soft, then drain and mash the potatoes.
  • Now would probably be a good time to preheat the oven to 400 degrees!
  • Add the vegan butter to the potatoes, mix in, put the lid on the pot and set aside.
  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat up the oil, add the ground round, green pepper, onion, and garlic.  Let that cook for five minutes.
  • Add the Tbsp of flour, and mix in.   Cook that for one minute, before you add the cup of veggie broth.  Once the broth is added, bring it to a boil.
  • Add the corn, peas, and carrots, and stir in.  Then poor that mixture into an eight inch casserole dish.
  • Spread the potatoes on top, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s bubbly and delicious looking!  I would recommend letting it sit for about a minute or two once you take it out of the oven, to let it thicken a bit.  It was quite soup’y’ but incredibly tasty, the left overs stuck together a lot better when I put them in containers.

So there you go!  Let me know if you try it!

Peace.

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What I found.

8 Nov

Sometimes inspiration will come when it’s least expected. Today while I was out and about with mom and grandma in abbotsford, I found old outdoor Christmas lights at a second hand shop, and they’re the exact kind I want to decorate the outside of the reception hall like when we get married.

I also wanted to make candles in little vintage cream and sugar sets, and I found a delightful one!

I also wanted to have a really excellent excuse to cook yummy healthy food, and now I get to have my best friend and her boyfriend over for supper, and I can make it vegan! I’m thinking of serving some sort of hummus thing for appetizers, dragon bowl for dinner, and then chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert!

Oh I’m excited!

Peace.

okay disregard what I just posted.

8 Nov

I read an awesome article from the Vegetarian Times website, that goes over how you can be super healthy as a vegan, why it`s better for you, and how healthy your children and family could be.

I think I’ll just stick to it.

Outside of that bit of cheese I ate earlier in an act of rebellion.

Here`s the link if you`re interested: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/2007/pdf/vegetarian_starter_kit.pdf

I`m printing it out and going to begin my very own vegan resource book of recipes, shops, and information!

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

a wee little update. (for the love of moleskine)

4 Nov

I just love those journals. It’s my dream spot, my prayer spot, my day timer, my “what happened today,” my list of to-do’s, it’s just a good place to write things.

So here’s whats going on in my head, outside of cooking, knitting, wedding plans etc.

1. I feel like in the past couple of weeks (I’m catching this early) that productivity has sort of exceeded my spirituality which, is not in balance, so, I’m going to try to get back to that.

2. I really want to teach vegan cooking classes, and let people know how EVERYTHING we put in a meal could truly be beneficial for us. Where teaching a literal cooking class may be out of the question, hosting one on a YouTube channel (thanks Maria) may be a possibility. I’m doing research into recipes, finding out as much as I can about the ingredients (nutritionally) and considering having someone on the video with me making the food as well. It could be an interesting venture.

3. I love love love cooking, but I feel like my art has suffered. I need to make time every day! Why is it so hard for me to keep a schedule?

4. Alright this sort of overpowers no. 3, but these are some things I want to make time for each day:
-walking/running/working out
-time with God/bible
-art time
-social time
-cooking time and research on nutrition
-music

5. Yea, I don’t know if I can get that all in in one day. Perhaps a week?

6. I imagine starting a YouTube channel would take up a lot of time editing, filming, etc. Perhaps Tal would like to help?

7. I found this website sporkonline.com that hosts online cooking classes, and their students pay money, monthly, or yearly, in order to take part…hmmm.

8. I want to have people over more often. I want games nights, and potlucks to be regular occurrences.

9. I want to get over my fear of buying alcohol. Every time I do, I feel like they think I’m trying to get away with something, and I’m not, and it’s uncomfortable all the same. (not that I want to be drinking all the time, but I figure being able to buy alcohol without going into anxiety-mode is part of growing up).

10. If I can even attempt some of these things, I will be a happy woman.

Hopefully I’ll have a video up soon and you can cook with me! I think that would be super fun!

Anyways, it’s a gorgeous day, I’m going for a walk.

Peace.

Dreams.

4 Nov

I want to write a book.
I want to sell my art.
I want to know more about photography.
I want to learn to sew.
I want to record my music.

First in the morning.

3 Nov

This fall weather and the promise of a beautiful winter has made me so happy.

Sure there’s days like today when I sleep in and then regret it for the loss of productivity, but then there’s also days when just the cold autumn air makes everything okay.

Productivity can sometimes become a god.  If you serve it all day you feel good, and if you don’t you feel like you could have done better. I don’t think that’s healthy, because there is only one God, and he’s not productivity.

I do however want to learn to not be so lazy, to take better care of my things, and to be more accountable. These are preschool lessons, but I’m 20 and I still have to learn them.

(The other day someone asked me how old I was and it was the first time I literally forgot. Remember when you were little and you asked your grandma how old grandpa was and she’d say. “well let’s see, he was born in ’39 so…” that’s what I felt like. I said, “23, no wait, 21, no sorry, I’m 20 and I can’t believe I forgot that.”)

I had a dream that I was part of this weird cult. It was super scary, because the main guy could kill you if you didn’t obey, and what’s creepiest about it is that when I finally did escape with a few of the other girls, we tried calling home from our cellphones, and the sound when they picked up was in the same bathroom as us… Meaning the creepy cult leader had programed our phones to only call his phone some how and he was somewhere in the same bathroom (with multiple stalls) as us. When I finally did get a hold of my parents, they didn’t believe it was me and told me to leave them alone, because it had been so long and they thought I was dead. Bad dream.

There’s some first in the morning thoughts for you. I hope to have a God-centered day that doesn’t rely on productivity for fufillment (but at the same time, I still want to get things done).

Have a good day!
Peace.