Ahimsa and the Link to Veganism

Jainism-Ahimsa-Hand-iconHave you ever noticed that a lot of yogis are either vegetarian or vegan? This actually isn’t a coincidence. Sure, yoga and vegetarianism/veganism complement each other well in that they both are great for your health. But for those yogis who closely follow the Ashtanga teachings, there is actually a reason for their leading a meat-free lifestyle.

While pursuing my yoga teacher certification I studied the eight limbs of yoga. These are included in Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutra.”

The first of the eight limbs, Yama, includes five guidelines or practices for how we should conduct our lives. The first of which is Ahimsa, which is Sanskrit for “nonviolence.”

While many yogis view the nonviolence part as human to human, many others take it to mean nonviolence against all beings. I became vegan well before I started practicing yoga, but, for my own practice, I take it to mean nonviolence against all beings. I just don’t know how you can separate the two. But the great thing about yoga is that there is no right or wrong; it’s all what you want for your own practice.

As a side note: This is my first in what I hope to be many yoga-related posts. As I mentioned earlier, I believe that veganism and yoga complement each other, so it’s a way for me to provide more content on the blog, in addition to the food-stuff, which I hope to have more of soon with my next grocery trip. I also plan to change the site design a bit to reflect both the vegan and yoga aspects.

I hope you all are well!

Review: So Delicious Cultured Almond Milk Greek Yogurt

So Delicious Greek Almond Milk YogurtMan, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Sorry for that. Thanks have been crazy busy, but good. I finished my yoga training, and have actually been subbing here and there at my regular yoga studio. My new job is going really well; although, my brain is usually fried by the end of the day because I’m learning so much. All this being said, I’m looking forward to a boring and uneventful rest of the year.

Anyway, back to the important stuff: the food. I thought I’d start my foray back into blogging with a review of So Delicious’ Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is one of the few things I miss being vegan and I was so excited to find that So Delicious is offering a vegan version. I couldn’t wait to get home and try it. And then I did. And then I was so, so disappointed.

So, where to begin? I opened the attractive packaging and dipped my spoon into the vanilla yogurt. The consistency was very much like regular Greek yogurt: thick, rich and creamy. The color, however, was brown and off-putting. And then I took a bite and my heart sank. The texture was very mealy. I tried another bite, hoping that maybe I could get past the texture, but I just couldn’t. And the flavor wasn’t appealing either. There definitely wasn’t the tang that you get with regular Greek yogurt. Frankly, it made me gag a bit. My husband tried the strawberry flavor and had the same experience with the mealiness and flavor.

After browsing the site, I noticed that So Delicious offers a Greek-style yogurt using cultured coconut milk. I’d definitely be willing to try that if I come across it, though I haven’t seen it in the stores. Have any of you tried the coconut milk version? If so, what are your thoughts?

I hope you all are well!!

Please Stand By: I’m Still Here, Just a Little Busy

please stand byHey there! I hope you all are well! I’ve neglected this blog of late. Things have been a bit crazy. Sadly, my mother in law passed away a few weeks ago, and we had been traveling quite a bit to go see her. My yoga training has been in full swing. I had my last full weekend of training this past weekend and will test out on June 22nd. And, finally, because I wasn’t busy enough, I somehow found the time to find a new job in a completely new field. I started that last week and am trying not to be overwhelmed by all the new things I’m learning — I’m loving it though.

Anyway, the blog has been in the back of my mind. As things are hopefully starting to settle down, I’ll get back to cooking, taking pictures and blogging. Again, I hope everyone is well and I’ll post soon.

The Food and Budget Experiment

Hey there! Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been busy with the yoga training and practice, and my mind’s been all over the place as I’m trying to figure out the next phase. Lots of different, but exciting, things to think about, for sure.

meal planningMy husband and I have decided to try out a little food experiment this month. I’m not going to lie: We’ve been eating out quite a bit these past few months, which is both bad for your health and bad for your pocketbook. And not to come up with excuses, but a big part of it is that our schedules have been thrown out of whack between my trips to Cincinnati for yoga training, and our frequent trips to visit my husband’s mom, who is very sick.

So, in an effort to save money and to also reduce the amount of visits to the grocery store (I feel like we go a few times a week), we’re going to buy the bulk of our groceries once during the month and then hit the farmers’ market every Saturday for produce. I’m hoping that having more food on hand will keep us from grabbing Chinese takeout so often. We can stock up on things like tofu, almond milk,  and dried bulk goods such as beans, lentils, rice and so on. And then we can use the produce we find at the market to determine our menu for that week. I’m also hoping that having everything in front of us will make it easier to stretch the groceries out for even longer to save money.

The biggest challenge will be finding room for everything since we’re pretty tight on space. But I think we can make it work.

That being said, it’ll also be easier for me to post weekly meals plans on here, which I really want to get back to doing on a regular basis.

I hope you all are well! I’ll have a food post up soon.

An Oldie but Goodie: Chickpea Cutlets, Roasted Cabbage and Potatoes

Chickpea Cutlets

I’ve made these Chickpea Cutlets from “Veganomicon” many times, and have even posted them on here. But for some reason, I’ve still struggled to get the texture right. This time around, however, I made progress.

First, I made sure to thoroughly mash the chickpeas. Second, I baked them (instead of frying), which gave them a firmer, meatier texture. I’ll definitely be baking them from here on out.

For the cabbage, I tried a new technique: I sliced a head of cabbage into 1-inch slices, brushed olive oil on both sides and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I baked the slices for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees — so easy and the cabbage was super-tender and caramelized. I could see grilling the slices, too.

Finally, I quickly mashed some potatoes with a little olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. For the sauce, I just mixed whole-grain mustard with vegan mayonnaise. A dollop of apple sauce added a touch of refreshing sweetness to the meal.

This is a great weeknight meal because it comes together pretty fast and is pretty cheap to make.

I hope you all are well! More yoga training this weekend. Have a good one!

Banana Pudding with a Twist

Banana Pudding

I had a hankerin’ over the weekend for banana pudding and was excited to find a recipe in “Vegan Pie In The Sky.” I had most of the ingredients on hand already (a well-stocked pantry always helps). The problem? I could not find vegan vanilla wafer cookies at the supermarket up the street, and I didn’t want to have to drive across town to find some. But just as I was about to give up on my craving, my husband picked up a bag of ginger snaps that happened to be vegan. “What about these?” he said. I wasn’t sure how well the ginger would go with the bananas, but I thought, “Sure, why not?”

After all was said and done (and by “done,” I mean we finished off the entire 9 x 13 pan in less than two days), I have to say that ginger snaps may be my new, go-to banana pudding cookie. I was worried the cookies would be too hard for the dessert, but they soften just enough in the pudding and the crumbled cookies on top added just the right amount of crunch for texture. As for the rest of the recipe, it was extremely easy to put together and sets up fairly quickly (I really didn’t want to have to wait overnight to indulge my sweet tooth).

And, of course, while walking back from the grocery store, my husband and I couldn’t help but reference this sketch from “The State” (I think I’m showing my age here):

Vegan Round-up: Grilled Cheese, Dinner Rules and Lots of Cauliflower

Caffe Latte

I hope you all have had a great week! Below are a few links to vegan-related items that may interest you. I’m off to yoga training this weekend. Have a lovely one yourself!

Macaroni and Cheese with Chickpeas and Spinach? Um, yes, please. I want to veganize this.

Who says vegans can’t eat grilled cheese? Here are four different variations.

100 Rules of Dinner

A great roundup of vegan kitchen staples.

There’s nothing like a well-made veggie burger, and this Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Burger looks ridiculously good.

Cauliflower is this year’s Brussels sprout. I’m totally calling it.

Greek Wraps with Lemon-Kissed Tofu

Greek Wrap

I always find a ton of recipe ideas while perusing Flipboard, and often email them to myself only to forget about ever sending them. However, this time around, I actually remembered to come back to this particular recipe.

These Greek Wraps with Lemon-Kissed Tofu were actually featured in a contest for Vegetarian Times and So Delicious Dairy Free. I love, love the technique used for pressing lemon zest into the block of tofu and then searing both sides of the tofu block. It’s such a great idea and I plan to use it for other tofu dishes.

I have to admit, though, that I didn’t care for the So Delicious Plain Greek Cultured Coconut Milk. I love coconut milk yogurt, but I found this too sweet for being a plain yogurt. I actually used some salad dressing I had on hand to jazz it up. (Next time, I’ll use a different plain yogurt and turn it into a tzatziki sauce with dill and cucumber.) The final result was pretty tasty and filling.

Hope you all are well!

Product Review: Nasoya Nayo Whipped Sandwich Spread

Potato Salad

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative from Nasoya to try out the company’s revamped line of Nayonaise. Now, I realize that it’s advertised as a sandwich spread, but the warmer weather has me thinking about cookouts, and one of my favorite cookout foods is potato salad. So I decided to try out the Nayo Whipped Sandwich Spread in my recipe, which I’ve included down below. (I also received a jar of the original Nayonaise, which I’ll review and post at a later date.)

Nayo Whipped

Tasting the sandwich spread right out the jar, I noticed that it has a slightly sweet and tangy flavor, which added a little extra punch to my potato salad. The sweetness counterbalanced the vinegar and mustard that I added to the recipe. The spread also incorporated really easily, coating the potatoes really well and adding a nice creaminess to the dish. And a little goes a long way.

All in all, if you’re looking to incorporate a little extra zing to your sandwich or your salad recipe, I highly recommend the Nayo Whipped Sandwich Spread.

Vegan Mustard Potato Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3lbs mix of Yukon and red potatoes, cubed and cooked until just tender (these provide two different textures to the salad)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1 cup Nayo Whipped Sandwich Spread
1 tbsp dried dill (or a little less if you’re using fresh)
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper)

Directions:

Salt the warm potatoes after draining. Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note: There’s a lot of room for experimentation with this recipe. Normally, I just eyeball it when I make it and don’t actually measure anything.

Enjoy!

New Vegan Marketplace: forAnima

Exciting news! The new eco-vegan marketplace site, forAnima, looks to be up and running (though it’s still in beta). The site is expansive and includes men’s, women’s and kid’s apparel; shoes and accessories; health and beauty items; and gourmet food and gifts. I love the idea of a one-stop shop for all-things vegan.

forAnima

Here’s a description from the site for how forAnima works:

  • Shop forAnima and support animal-loving and eco businesses.
  • Upload and vote for products you would like created in an animal-friendly way.
  • Once we have sufficient interest, we will go to the brands directly and ask them to produce the most popular items.
  • Be the change.

I haven’t had the chance to purchase anything from the site yet, but I’m planning to do so very soon.