I’ve developed a bit of an obsession this week with perusing the blogs on the Vegan Mofo blogroll. There is so much variety, so many interesting people, great recipes, and attractive sites. Not to mention, so many versions of veganism! I’ve come across everything from absolute junk food junkie vegans to gourmet salads galore (with a few raw foodies thrown in). Back in my serious vegan days, about ten years ago, I had the “if its vegan, then its healthy!” perspective (which I may have been rather stereotypically preachy about, the world needed to know why my soy chip/soy cheese/soy sausage nachos were better than whatever was on their plate)… It had little to do with animals and more to do with how much better I thought my diet was than everyone else’s.
I was raised in a religious community that favored vegetarianism (and I was raised as such) and in my mind, veganism was an even more “spiritual” choice. Looking back, I can’t say that I was any healthier than anyone else, and I definitely didn’t feel good in my body. It took a lot of years of experimentation to figure out what worked for me and now, as a completely unlabeled eater, I’m actually much more conscious of where my food comes from, how animals are treated, and how my body really feels when certain things go in. For the record, I absolutely do think that you can be a healthy vegan and the health I enjoy now has less to do with the animal products I consume and more to do with the abundance of fresh foods and unprocessed goodies. I immensely enjoy the way I eat now and I do plan on going back to my dearly loved goat cheese and a few other carefully chosen animal products when this month is over. However I’ve been surprised and delighted with the ideas that have to come to life on my dinner plate in the absence of my default favorites. The ethnic theme over the last couple of days has been completely accidental (and utterly enjoyable), here is a Spicy Mexican Mole sauce that I ate over broccoli, and the ladyfriend poured into a bowl of chickpeas.
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
5 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 can diced green chili peppers
1 Tbsp red chili flakes (less if you don’t want it too spicy)
2-4 Tbsp brown sugar or NuNaturals liquid stevia, to taste
1 box Pomi strained tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup organic cornmeal
a handful of dark chocolate chips
Saute the onions and garlic in coconut oil until they start to soften. Add the can of green chilies, spices, cocoa, and sweetener, stir for another minute or two. Pour in the tomatoes, water, and cornmeal and let simmer until all the flavors are coming together and everything is heated through, adjusting the seasonings to taste, I did a lot of adjusting and these measurements are close but probably not exact. Pour into a dish and while its still hot, add the dark chocolate chips and give it a little stir. Serve over veggies, beans, or whatever you like!
Today was a most exquisite Autumn day that I celebrated with a walk through leaves that should have been crunchy but were really soggy due to the predictable Seattle afternoon downpour. I can’t say I minded spending a day off reading in a cozy library chair while it poured outside and then coming home to make Pumpkin Pie Parfaits. I can’t think of any food more Autumn-y than pumpkin and even though I failed a bit on the intended consistency (too much sunflower milk…) these were incredibly tasty and honey-like!