Dreams in Food and Apple Cinnamon Banana Muffins

Last night I dreamt that I was throwing myself to the floor in a fit of hunger. I’m taking this as a sign that I need to start cooking again. Or perhaps I need to stop skipping dinner. In any case, after getting over the initial disorientation from my dream, I decided to bake some muffins for breakfast. I adapted a recipe I found on food.com

Ingredients

  • I cup chunky apple sauce 
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana, thinly sliced

Combine Dry Ingredients

  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl

Combine Wet Ingredients

  • Mix apple sauce, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl
  • Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix well until it is a dough-like consistency
  • Add banana slices and fold into mixture

Spoon into Muffin Pan & Bake!

  • I found using an ice cream scooper to spoon the dough in works best
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown
  • Makes 6 muffins

Let them cool, drizzle with some agave nectar and serve!

apple cinnamon banana muffin

apple cinnamon banana muffin

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Happy Thanksgiving!

And thus the fasting began this morning– must save our appetites for the feast tonight! I stayed up late last night finishing another pumpkin pie and a vegan cheese cake. I’ll post the recipe for the cake later on. I also made some homemade cranberry sauce. I was very surprised at how quick and easy it is to make, and at how tasty it turned out. I think I’ll warm some of that up and pour it over the cheesecake before I serve it for dessert.

This morning I made vegan stuffing and started on some slow cooked vegan macaroni and cheese. I’m really excited and about how flexible and generally interested my family is being in regard to my vegan twist on Thanksgiving. All our sides are vegan this year, whether or not I’m making them! I suppose it pays to keep the refrigerator stocked with soy milk and Earth Balance. Hah. Hopefully next year they’ll forget about the bird.

The other day, I showed my 15 year old brother a post from Vegans of Instagram that talked about sponsoring a turkey rather than eating one for Thanksgiving. He laughed a bit, then thought about it and asked, “Why can’t we just do both?” At least he’s thinking about it, that’s more than I can say for myself at his age.

Thankswhat?

I can’t decide if the renaming of the poultry-centered, American holiday of Thanksgiving to Thanksvegan, Thanksliving, or whatever vegans out there are choosing to call it is missing the point. On one hand, I definitely want to redefine the holiday to be perhaps more fittingly associated with a spirit of mindful graciousness and thanks that is meant to be felt during the holiday season. Such a mindfulness, in my opinion, could never be associated with gluttonously consuming another being, as I’m sure other vegans/vegetarians would agree. Despite this, there is something to be said about the sense of familial community and love that one feels when seated around a table waiting to share a big meal. I think I’ve alluded to this before, but eating a plant-based diet can be lonely as hell. And who really wants to be lonely during the holidays? No one. We are constantly reminded that we are SUPPOSED to be sharing time and food and presents during this season (oh, help us…), and no one wants to feel as though they are left out of the festivities. So how can we, as conscious consumers, as plant-based eaters amongst meat-feasters come to terms with this?

My solution is this: Cook good fantastic food. That’s it. This solution is simple, but I have to admit it’s not fully mine. Over a month before this Thanksgiving holiday season got into full swing, I went to a Vegan Meet-Up in Boston in the hope of networking and making some vegan friends (I was feeling particularly lonely after moving back home to a house full of meat eaters). Roberta Kalechofsky was speaking about cooking for “the harvest holiday,” as she calls it, and about her book entitled Thanksvegan: A Vegan Cookbook for the Harvest Holiday. That woman is a hoot. She gave comical anecdotes about her experiences over the years with preparing holiday meals for a “mixed” crowd of dietary preferences and needs. She talked about how she continues to win her guests over time and time again with great food. Her guests don’t ask Roberta whether or not what she prepares for them is vegan, they ask her for the recipe.

This holiday season, I will not be creating my own holiday. I refuse to sit in the corner or leave my family members behind (no matter how much I disagree with their food choices). I will be participating fully in Thanksgiving this year. I will continue to be mindful and it is my hope that this shows. I want to remind my family members about the give thanks part of Thanksgiving, I want to celebrate what I am thankful for with them, while staying true to my morals… And hopefully, my delicious vegan dishes will get them to forget about eating turkey for a while.

I’ll be posting some recipes and anecdotes as I prepare for the ultimate vegan feast this Thursday. Stay tuned.

I didn’t feel like cooking today…

As soon as I woke up this morning I told myself I was going to cook something for dinner tonight. I haven’t posted anything since I created this blog and I honestly haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking on my own either. With my crazy 4th of July weekend behind me and alone at last to my own vegan devices, I decided tonight would be the night. But what to cook? I wasn’t inspired at all, I wasn’t craving anything in particular, and I just really didn’t feel like cooking anything. But a girl’s gotta eat, right?

With work all day and plans for the evening, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to dedicate to my meal tonight. However unfortunate, I decided to go for it anyway. I stopped at the store after work and picked up a few things from the produce section. After finishing Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, I am fully committed to shopping the periphery of the grocery store. If you’re confused by what I mean by that, you should definitely read the book. Anyway, what transpired after my grocery errand you will find in my previous post. It was honestly the quickest, probably most nutritious meal I’ve made in a while. I hope someday you’ll enjoy it too, whether you’re pinched for time or not.

You’re not born vegan.

I wasn’t always a vegan. I wasn’t always interested or concerned with food. In the past I just ate what I ate; that is, I ate whatever was most readily available without thinking too much, if at all, where it came from or what it would do to me.

Frances Moore Lappé says that we are not born citizens, but rather we learn the art of citizenship.* I think out relationship with food is like that. We are not born knowing how to eat. We have to learn. It’s tricky business, especially in this capitalist, fast-food-driven society we live in. But I’m giving it a try.

It’s been a gradual learning process. I started out by giving up meat. That step didn’t come all at once. I gave up red meat, mostly because I had heard that doing so would help me tone up and get ripped abs (I won’t disclose whether or not that process has been successful). Eventually I gave up chicken and other poultry, but I was still eating fish and dairy. I decided to give up fish and other meat products around the same time. The more I read and heard in documentaries and from other food-conscious people, the more I realized it just didn’t make sense for me to half-ass this endeavor. Maybe I’m just an all or nothing type of person.

So far, I’ve found that the most difficult part about adopting a vegan diet hasn’t been the food, or the lack of nutrients (as many suspect), but the people. People are quick to give you snarky remarks and turn their nose up at you for wanting to eat more consciously. Eating food– enjoying a meal is supposed to be a social experience, it always has been. But when people want to shun you and poke fun at you for your food choices, it can get a bit lonely. Maybe as time goes on people my friends and family will learn to accept and maybe even adopt some of my newfound eating habits.

* From her book Diet for a Small Planet