Veggie Mac — Vegan Mac & Cheese

Veggie Mac

When I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this past fall, I assumed that my biggest takeaway would be habit, that I’d come out at the end of those 30 days with the itch and ability to maintain a daily (or near daily) posting routine. This was an ambitious and probably unrealistic expectation, especially considering where I’m currently at in my life. Needless to say, it didn’t exactly happen. I did walk away from the experience, however, with something that I’ve found to be much more valuable. I learned that I need to trust myself.

Since starting GF in the City way back when, I knew that writing a blog was something I enjoyed deeply and wanted to pursue. That said, I never found it to be particularly easy. I’ve always felt discomfort at putting the things I create out there in a visible way—some fear of being seen or of being small and getting lost—and blogging was no exception. From day one, this terrible anxiety caused me to freeze up every time I went to publish a post. It was so intense at times that I would put off pressing the button on an otherwise totally finished piece for anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks.

This sort of petrified, self-doubt-filled procrastination doesn’t fly when you’ve committed to publishing a post every single day for a month.

Veggie Mac Ingredients

So I had to get over it. I had to create something and then trust that it would be enough, which is ultimately the same leap I have to make when I sit on a post for two weeks anyway. Like checking the position of your mirrors before backing out in a car, I’d confirm that all the elements of the post were where they needed to be, take a breath, and hit publish.

Today I’m exercising this newfound trust on a recipe that I’ve been both incredibly excited and terrified to share for almost a year now. I love, love, love this recipe. Chris loves this recipe. Roman loves this recipe. This is the recipe for our go-to vegan mac and cheese, or, as we’ve come to call it ‘round these parts: Veggie Mac…. 

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Weekly Links

Dinosaur Bones at AMNHScoping out the dinosaur bones at the American Museum of Natural History for Roman’s 2nd Birthday.

Hello all! How have you been?

We’ve been going through a bit of an adjustment period here. Roman–who just turned two at the end of January!–recently gave up his nap, which means that mommy no longer gets a break during the day.  It’s definitely nice that we don’t have to schedule around his nap anymore, but this change has also meant that my days feel much longer and are often pretty exhausting.  Finding time to write and read has become challenging.  We’re working on solutions, though.  This whole parenting thing is a delicate balancing act–just when you think you’ve got it sorted out, something changes and you have to regroup.

Despite the schedule upheaval, I have been able to eek out a few words here and there, so I should have a couple recipes coming your way soon.  In the meantime, I thought I’d pop in with a handful of links to things I’ve been making or have found interesting lately…. 

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Documentary: Peaceable Kingdom

Standing in a field

Chris and I recently watched a documentary called Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. It’s been in our periphery for a while now, but we hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I’m so glad that we finally did.

Peaceable Kingdom tells the stories of a handful of individuals in animal agribusiness who began questioning the work they were doing, leading them to make some pretty profound life changes. In the wake of reconsidering their livelihood, some of these people now offer sanctuary to rescued farm animals. Others, like former cattle rancher Howard Lyman, have written books and travel the country speaking out about the health, environmental, and ethical issues inherent to animal agriculture.

The documentary provides some information about the cruelties that underlie this industry, but it also shines a light on the beautiful lives that farmed animals can lead when offered sanctuary. There were moments that made my eyes well and breath shudder, my heart bursting with joy and pain all at the same time. Seeing these animals rejoice in being allowed the most basic right of sentient beings: life, it is starkly apparent just how much is taken from the billions of others who needlessly suffer and die within the industry.

Perhaps the most poignant aspect of this film is the stories of realization from people who were a part of this industry, people whose families and financial security were dependent on the raising and killing of animals. From early childhood experiences to fleeting moments of doubt and moral conflict, their stories feel familiar, hitting at something within the heart of each of us, something that most of us have been taught to push down, bury, and deny. Their raw honesty is compelling, heartbreaking, and inspiring.

It becomes so crystal clear while watching this film that there is another way. It’s undeniably more difficult for some to find than others, but it is possible. If they can see these truths and make these changes, certainly so can we.

The next time you’re browsing for a movie and nothing’s jumping out at you, give Peaceable Kingdom a watch. It is available for purchase in DVD format through the filmmakers’ websitevia Amazon, and can be rented or purchased digitally through iTunes.

 

Goals for 2015

2014 Highlights

2014 was a big year for our little family. A couple weeks in, our baby officially became a toddler, which brought a whole new set of challenges and joys to our experience as parents. A few months later we bought our first home and moved from a neighborhood that we’d known and loved for nearly seven years to one about which we felt positive but uncertain. There was a lot of work to be done during those first couple months in our new place and an adjustment period as we settled in and explored the neighborhood. I also attended my second market as a vendor with my Babywares, completed my largest custom order to date, and then decided to set B&R on the back burner for a while. As the summer wound down, I finally made the long-considered decision to close one chapter and begin writing a new one when I launched this blog. It was a year of many changes, lots of kicking up dirt and waiting for the dust to settle.

As we go into 2015, we know we have a lot ahead of us again—some big decisions, potential changes—but our footing feels stable. We’ve fallen in love with our neighborhood, there is artwork on the walls of our home, and our sweet little boy will soon turn two.

In the spirit of reflecting and looking ahead, I’ve been thinking lately about a few things that I’d like to do or start doing again in the coming year. Most of these things have been on my “list” for a while now, and I’ve no doubt they’ll require a bit of extra thought and planning, but I’m hoping that the calendar reset can be a springboard for me. And since I know that I’ll need to work towards these things, I’m thinking of them more as goals than resolutions. It’s all about progress.

Here is some of the progress I’m hoping to make in 2015:… 

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Happy Holidays, New Year, and beyond

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Hello all! I know I’ve been woefully absent after my month of daily posting, but maybe we can average it all out and pick up from here? This of course means that I’ve been posting roughly every other day for the last two months, which isn’t so bad if I do say so myself. 😉

I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful holiday season! So far, we had a really nice, low-key Christmas Eve celebration at our home with Chris’ parents. The edible spread featured a cheese plate from the fabulous Dr. Cow and vegan versions of some of my grandma’s holiday classics: creamy wild rice soup and luscious risalamande (Danish rice pudding).

After Roman tore into all of his presents the next morning, we headed up to Westchester for the big family celebration. There was a killer vegan bean dip put together by Chris’ cousin Ava, a bloomy Kite Hill almond brie with cranberry sauce (holy crap was that good!), a hearty lentil shepherd’s pie via Aunt Janine, and vegan eggplant parm made by my sister-in-law Amy. Feeling full yet? There was also dessert! Pizzelles, cookies, and pumpkin upside down cake—all vegan and gluten-free. And as amazing as all of the food was, the company was even better.

We’re looking forward to ringing in the New Year tomorrow with Chris’ family as well. There may or may not definitely be Buffalo Chickpea Dip involved.

I’ll be back early in the new year with a list of some goals that I’ve been thinking about for 2015. I’m not one of those anti-resolution people or anything, they’ve just been swirling about my head more as “goals” than “resolutions,” so that’s what I’m going with.

And speaking of goals/resolutions: for any of you who have been thinking about giving a plant-based diet a test drive, wanting to lighten your environmental footprint, feeling disheartened about animal suffering, or maybe just itching to challenge yourself to try something new, there’s this great thing happening next month called Veganuary. Basically, Veganuary is an opportunity for non-vegans to take a one-month vegan pledge for the month of January. And the best part is that the minds behind Veganuary will be there to hold your hand the whole way! Their website is brimming with resources and tips, some hardcore myth busting, and tons of information about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Plus, they’re super active on Twitter and the vegan community is really stepping up to the plate to support participants as well. Why not give it a go? I’d love to hear if you’ll be taking on this challenge and will be happy to provide any support that I can.

A very Happy New Year to all of you! I hope your holiday season has been filled with love, joy, and compassion that carries all the way through the next year. See you in 2015!

Weekly Links

This has been such a crazy week!  I feel like I’ve hardly had a minute to read anything.  And after all the cooking and traveling over the last few days, I have a mountain of post-holiday laundry and dishes ahead of me this week.  Yikes.

I am proud (and a little relieved?) to say that today is the final day of NaBloPoMo.  I did it!  I want to talk a little more about my experience with blogging every day this month, but it might take me a few days to collect those thoughts while I get back on my feet here at home.  I am planning to continue posting regularly, though, and will keep doing What Vegans Eat Wednesday as well as a link roundup at the end of each week.  We’ll see what kind of posting schedule develops from here.  Let me know if there are things you’d like to see more of, too.  I’m always happy to take requests.

Despite the hectic holiday week, I did manage to bookmark a few little things. Hope you all had a great weekend and happy reading!… 

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Two Main Philosophies

Andy napping

I’m exhausted from two days of travel, the first of which having been a bit of a disaster, so today’s post is brief. I recently came across this quote from Neil DeGrasse Tyson that really resonated with me. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration in it as well.

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

Amen and goodnight.

Thankfully Exhausted

Pie prep

I’ve spent the last two days in the kitchen, on my feet, preparing Thanksgiving dinner, and I am exhausted.  Let me tell you, though, it was worth it.  No spoilers for now, except to say that there was pie.  Well, technically there will be pie.  Chris and I are about to cut into that now.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and found much for which to be thankful.  Today I gave thanks for my husband, our son, our dog, our home, and for veganism, both my personal experience of it and that it’s something we share as a family.  Of course, these are things I’m thankful for every day, but it’s nice to take the time to acknowledge and say them aloud.

I’m also thankful that Chris was so supportive over the past couple days.  In all the craziness, I know I haven’t given him enough credit for this.  It would have been easy for him to suggest at any point that I had taken on too much for a meal for that only the three of us would be eating (it was something I considered myself a handful of times), but he didn’t.  He played with Roman and took care of some things around the house while I toiled away.  He even introduced me to a podcast to help pass the time (If you’re not yet on the Serial bandwagon, do that. Now.).

Full recap of our delicious dinner tomorrow.  Right now, I’m off to nab some pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Vegan Thanksgiving No. 4

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This Thanksgiving will be my fourth as a vegan.  When I look back over my journey, the past three Thanksgivings have become like mile markers along the path.  There’s something about this particular holiday, more than any other date, that I remember very clearly and specifically in relationship to my veganism.  I imagine it has to do with its primary focus being a large meal, the centerpiece of which is a dead turkey.

On my first, I had been eating a plant-based diet for less than two months.  I was doing it for a number of personal health reasons and because of the incredible information that I’d discovered about the diet’s many benefits.  I felt amazing and, for the first time in my life, was losing weight without having to think about it.  I remember explaining to my sister-in-law’s then boyfriend (now fiancé), whom we were meeting for the first time, that it wasn’t “a thing,” though—i.e. “I’m not one of those vegans, I’m just not eating animal products right now.” I remember how important this disclaimer was to me, a fact that makes me cringe today.

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