Friday, March 23, 2007

I like these guidelines because they stopped me in my tracks; they are so radically different from the way my mind works.

Taken from two treasures by Thich Nhat Hanh. The author presents eleven guidelines for daily life. All of them go against the stream of conditioned thought, but with regard to my little attempt at "vegan activism" I offer you three that made me stop and think:

  1. While acting in society, do not hope or pray not to have any difficulties. Without difficulties, arrogance can easily arise.
  2. While developing a plan, do not hope or pray to achieve success easily. With easy success, arrogance can easily arise.
  3. While speaking with others, do not hope or pray not to be disagreed with. Without disagreement, self-righteousness can flourish.
(Hmmmm.....It would seem I need to look at self-righteousness and arrogance in my own mirror!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spinach & Walnut Pizza (vegetarian)

Here is a version of a pizza recipe that appeared in last week's Make it Tonight - Quick Meals from Scratch (The Hamilton Spectator). I did not have some of the ingredients listed, hence I substituted with what I did have on hand (text in red shows items as listed originally). The result, I thought was really quite good. Hubby was not too impressed (but then he isn't too fond of spinach or feta), but No. 2 son, liked it. Give it a go and let me know what you think. (I suspect if you make your own pizza dough this would be even better!)
(Photo courtesy of my husband)

Makes 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) shelled walnuts
  • prepared pizza crust, I buy the whole wheat ones
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil (or walnut oil if you have it)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) spinach (or arugula), washed, spun, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 lb (115 g) soy feta (or goat cheese) ** I have found an unusually good soy feta at the Hamilton Market; the stall at the top of the escalator. The ladies at the counter could not provide me with the name of their supplier, therefore I am unable to confirm that it is a vegan cheese. **
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • balsamic vinegar for finishing
  1. Heat a skillet. Toast the walnuts until browned and fragrant (5 minutes approx.) Stir frequently to avoid burning. Set aside when done to cool. Break larger walnuts into small pieces.
  2. Brush the prepared pizza shell with 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil. Spread the spinach leaves on top and then on top of the spinach, crumble the feta. Sprinkle the walnuts on next and finish by drizzling the remaining olive oil and grinding some black pepper. (I was quite generous with the olive oil - I'm sure it was more than a tsp that I drizzled over the spinach.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C). Place the pizza (on pan) onto the middle rack of your oven and bake until golden and crisp, rotating at least once. Time: 12-16 minutes.
  4. Remove the pizza and immediately sprinkle balsamic vinegar criss-crossing back and forth across the top. Slice and serve.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The big picture...

May all creatures, all living things,
all beings one and all,
experience good fortune only.
May they not fall into harm.

Angutta Nikaya II, 72

Friday, March 16, 2007

This says it all...


Vegetarian Hot-dog

(In case you thought vegetarians didn't have a sense of humour!!)

Vegetarian Food Pyramid

Thursday, March 15, 2007

How committed am I really?

When questioned about my reason for eating the way I do, I tell people it is because I cannot tolerate the suffering of the animals involved in our food production. I mention that I do not do this particularly for my health, and yes, I do miss cheese. Generally the conversation ends at that point.

Lately though, I have noticed something a little deeper behind my stance. I am planning a dinner in the not to distant future for some friends that are not vegetarian. Automatically, I started planning the menu in my head and choosing which meat I would buy. I reluctantly decided that there was no way around this dilemma but to include meat on my menu plan. Why? At first, I told myself that some of my guests were meat-eaters and as they were my guests I had to make them happy - serving them meat would accomplish this. Then I further justified my reasoning by telling myself how I always mention when asked by people who are inviting me for dinner, to not do anything different for me "I'll just eat whatever you prepare" (as I don't want to be a nuisance); how altruistic!! (I'm being a little sarcastic here!)

But was that really all it was? If I am so committed to not being a cog in the wheel of factory-farming cruelty (not to mention the pollution and environmental foot-print, etc) than why can I not make this statement by inviting people into my home and presenting them with a completely vegetarian meal?

The answer popped out immediately - there was a big ego problem here. I wanted to impress my guests and look good in their eyes. These friends have been gracious, generous hosts to me and my husband in the past. Remembering past dinners at their home, I began to get nervous (as I always do), comparing their sumptuous feasts, that are served apparently without any stress, one course after the other, with my mediocre dinners (and the behind the scenes staging of the home; that would be me running around like a Sargent major trying to motivate the troops to spit shin the place - darn near impossible with 1 dog, 3 cats and 2 ferrets). As you can imagine, I have a long way to go to meet this self-imposed standard. (Note: never have my friends ever set themselves up on a pedestal as the ultimate in gracious hospitality! This is all my own doing.)

Now having seen this pattern of thinking clearly, I return to my menu planning - inspired anew and confident that I can prepare and present a variety of delicious vegetarian/vegan dishes! I think I will pull some recipes from ExtraVeganza for a start - they are always special with guaranteed results (so far at least). Wish me luck!!