Sunday, June 30, 2013

Namaste, Benjamin Bunny


Benjamin just loves my zafu cushion. But sadly as I leave it out in my living room, it has also become known as the "treat seat" for both Benjamin and Cinnamon.  One night I sat on this cushion with the little plate of apple slices for their evening treats. Now they expect to get their treats every time I sit on this cushion to meditate!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vegan Roman Chick'n Cacciatore

I usually do not put recipes on this blog since there are only a gazillion vegan and vegetarian recipe blogs out there but I wanted to share a recipe I recently veganized and made my own, because, frankly, it was delicious back in the day when I was sadly still eating chickens.  Cacciatore is the Italian word for hunter, and traditionally this dish has contained chicken or rabbit meat (AARGH! I know, I know...) Per Wikipedia, in cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, herbs, often bell pepper, and sometimes wine.  So while this recipe is indeed alla cacciatore, happily no hunters, chickens or bunnies were involved in the making of this dish.

The Hoppy Vegan's Vegan Roman Chick'n Cacciatore

1 pkg Gardein chicken scalloppini, thawed, cut into pieces
1 8 oz package Portobello mushroom slices
2 green bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
olive oil to saute
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Tuttorosso or other Italian brands are the best!)
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup dry sherry or other white wine

Heat olive oil in pan (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.)  Saute chicken pieces till lightly browned. Remove. Add mushroom slices.  You may need to add oil as you go. Saute till mushrooms are soft and browned. Remove from pan and set aside with the chicken.  Deglaze the pan with a little of the sherry.

Add peppers, onions, and garlic slices (and if needed, more olive oil). Saute till softened.

Add can of tomatoes, stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Add seasonings, stir, then return chicken and mushrooms to the pan. Stir, cover, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, till chicken pieces and veggies are tender. Add ¾ cup of dry sherry, stir, cook for 5 more minutes, uncovered.

Serve over spaghetti and/or with crusty bread.  This serves 4 people.
Possible adaptations/notes:
If you’re not a fan of faux meat, double the amount of mushrooms, and add more green peppers.

Dry sherry works best for this sauce but you can use white wine as well. HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting the sherry (the drinking kind, do NOT get the cooking sherry—that stuff is crap.)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What I Don't Get - A Vegan's Rant

You know what I don't get? People making "ewww" noises at the mere thought of going vegan and yet lining up to eat the latest creation at Dunkin Donuts, the glazed doughnut bacon sandwich.

Where do I begin on this one?  It's so nice to see American ingenuity in the kitchen has exceeded its grasp in discovering yet another unhealthy option for an already obese America. Sugary sweet diabetes-inducing pastry combined with pig flesh that has been proven time and time again to be very unhealthy for human beings--yes, bring that to me on a plate! How about some quinoa and beans instead? No, that takes too long. Besides who can pronounce that word anyway? (It's KEEN-wa, by the way.)

It doesn't help that Americans want their food and they want it fast. Run into Dunkins, grab this baby, you're on your way. Tell me, do you even taste this crap as you down it in your rush to get to work? We produce these horrendous breakfast items for fast consumption clearly because if we took the time to really consider what we are consuming, we would be horrified and forced to take action. But we live in the era of instant gratification; we want what we want and we want it now.  You know what, folks? That style of living is killing us. Children--CHILDREN--are developing Type II diabetes at an alarming rate. Look at how fat they are--why do you think that is? For one thing, our government insists on subsidizing the wrong foods--that is why a McDonalds burger is cheaper than broccoli.  We also buy into the insidious marketing campaigns the food industry subjects us to every day. Happy cows? No. Happy family farms and happy cows don't exist anymore (except for the lucky cows who get to live on animal sanctuaries). Wake up and really see what it takes to make that glass of milk. That milk involves stealing a baby cow from his mother and tossing him to the veal industry where he is carved up to satisfy our gluttonous appetites when we go out to dinner.  THINK, please, before you pick up that fork. Think about the sorrow you are consuming when you drink that milk.

This is what we as consumers, as concerned parents, as people who want to live long healthy lives, need to do--THINK. CARE about what you eat. LEARN about what you eat, where it comes from, what it is. Not having time is not an excuse. When you die young, think of all that time you don't have anymore. That doesn't have to be. There are so many resources out there to learn about eating a vegetarian or even a flexitarian diet. You don't have to give meat or animal products up all at once. In some cases, for health reasons, you may not be able to be a strict vegan--I know of people in such situations so I would never judge anyone by how vegan they are or are not. As long as you get on the path and start the journey, that is all that matters. Every meatless meal counts. It is better for you, for your children, for the environment. Perhaps skipping the unhealthy choices may not be better for the bottom line of businesses like Dunkin Donuts, but that is too bad. They have the option to create vegan doughnuts, which time and time again, they seem adamant not to do despite vigorous campaigns by groups like Compassion Over Killing and demands from vegan consumers (yet I understand they are going to unroll a gluten free doughnut soon. Go figure!) We as consumers can make the change if we choose the right foods. A bacon doughnut sandwich is NOT the right choice.

All right, time to get off my soap box. In conclusion, I ask that you please read the link below about what the nation of Bolivia did recently. And check out the very last quote from a local blog at the end of the story. I think that says it all.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday, Cinnamon!

Cinnamon, a.k.a. Princess Bun
Yes, I have been a very negligent blogger these last few months. The Hoppy Vegan has been focusing on becoming a Hoppy Yogi in pursuit of perfecting her yoga practice and getting fit, all the while still finding time to spoil rotten my beloved fur kids, Benjamin and his beloved gal Cinnamon, who turned 9 years old this past May.  She has lost weight since the beginning of the year, but she needed to, and except for the periodic tummy ache (one of which she just had last night), she has been doing very well for an elder bun. She can still hit some solid speed when she comes dashing out from the bedroom hall. And of course she takes great pleasure in nipping Ben in the butt when she thinks he needs it.  She grows a LITTLE more tolerant of my holding her as she gets older, but overall, she is still quite a stingy gal when it comes to doling out nose bonks of affection. Still, she is my precious girl, who I have had the joy of knowing since she was only 2 months old. May she live several more years making me and her boy Benjamin happy as can be.