Lent seems to be going pretty smoothly around here. It’s weird because I thought I would be dying for a piece of cheese, but really I haven’t even thought about it. Not craving cheese makes me happy because I’m not ready to enter the world of vegan cheese product. Something about soy cheese kinda weirds me out.
The hardest part has been making sure what I’m eating has not been cooked in an animal product. When I’m cooking for myself, I know I’m safe because I can see what I’m putting into my foods and I know that butter is not sneaking its way into my stir-fry. Going out to eat is a whole different animal.
Last weekend, I used one of my “cheat” weekends because I went home to see my family. I stuck to my Lent rules by packing dinner for the drive home to avoid fast food, and I even said no to my dad’s omelets, which are the best omelets in the world. The only mystery meal was when we went out for dinner. We went to a tiny “mom and pop” Lebanese restaurant, which was AMAZING. Because of the large Catholic Lebanese population, many dishes are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian. We order Tabbouleh, Hommos, Baba Ghannouj, Moudardara (lentils and rice with caramelized onions..my fave), and grape leaves. (My parents and brother ordered some delicious looking meat dishes, which still make my mouth water.) All of these dishes were vegetarian, but who knows if they were vegan or not. (This meal has inspired me to make a vegan Lebanese meal, which will be coming later).
So this all led me to wonder what kinds of resources are out there for vegans who like to dine out. Lucky for me, there is an awesome website: VegDC, which provides a listing of vegetarian/vegan restaurants, groceries, bakeries, catering services, and other resources in the DC metro area. Another consideration that I didn’t think about what Vegan alcohol. Luckily Melissa, whom you may recall from the juice cleanse, pointed me toward Barnivore.com, which is a search engine to identify Vegan-friendly wines, beers, and liquors. It’s also easy to use on a mobile device, so now I can rest assured that I am ordering a Vegan-friendly drink when I’m out on the town.
Recipe of the week: Mango-Ginger Granola
This recipe is adapted from my friend Sara’s granola recipe, and is a sweet and spicy treat for the morning. It goes very well with vanilla almond milk.
- ¼ cup vegetable/canola oil (you can sub this for unsweetened apple sauce for a lower fat version)
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup dried mango, chopped into little pieces
- 1/3 cup uncrystalized candied ginger, cut into very little pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, cover baking pan with parchment or a Silpat.
2. Combine the oil, agave nectar, brown sugar, and cinnamon mixing until smooth.
4. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Rotate and return to oven to bake for 8-10 minutes more, taking care to not let the granola get too brown.
5. Cool granola in the pans until room temperature. Stir well to mix. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.