Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Well, folks… she’s back. It’s been months since I’ve posted on here – besides that “Cowspiracy” quote I JUST posted. Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up. I’d begun working way too many hours in a group home around the time I stopped blogging. My life became almost entirely work and sleep and I felt like I didn’t have any time to cook, let alone blog about what I was cooking. In being entirely honest, I’ve not been a very good vegan… or even vegetarian for that matter. I’d go on week-long or day-long stretches of being back to vegan or vegetarian, and then I’d find myself molar deep in a slice of sausage & pepperoni pizza. I know I could have found a vegetarian or vegan alternative regardless of how much time I felt like I had or where I was picking up dinner for the night, etc., but I seemed to always find reasons to make excuses for myself and get out of it.

I’ll even admit that I had some chicken with my dinner tonight – although it was from days old leftovers I made the two girls I nanny for & I’m sure if I didn’t eat it, they’d go to waste and if some poor chicken had to die for their dinner than I should at least care enough to eat the leftovers so it wasn’t all for nothing and we aren’t filling up the landfill anymore, right? Or perhaps the answer is that I should have made less in the first place so their wouldn’t be said leftovers at all and then I wouldn’t have this dilemma..

Being a vegan is hard. Not as in difficult, but the kind of hard that takes effort to get through. Here I go again, making excuses, but hear me out… Animal food products are so central to human life, whether or not you include them in yours. I’m convinced that I may have some sort of food obsession because I think about food probably about 60-80% of the time. I’m now living in Los Angeles, too, which means that there is some amazing fast food or gourmet restaurant every ten feet I drive and I’m constantly bombarded with the temptation. I know, I know, there’s also lots of vegetarian and vegan-friendly places out here, too – more than almost anywhere else in the country, I’m sure – but it’s inevitable that my boyfriend or his family will want to drag me to some non-veg friendly place or pick up dinner from there & then I’m stuck at a standstill. I have a very difficult time telling my boyfriend’s family members that they have to cater to my food preferences… “No, I don’t eat animal products.” “Yes, that includes seafood.” “Yes, that also includes eggs.” “No, cheese comes from animals.” “And I don’t eat butter either.” “No, red dye #40 comes from crushed up beetle shells sometimes.” See the problem? If eating out wasn’t hard enough, just try going vegan to a friend or relative’s house when they’re making dinner for you! OOFTA!

Using my blog and instagram accounts have been really beneficial in connecting with others who share a meat/animal-product-free lifestyle, but I often found that when I’d fall off the wagon, I wouldn’t hear the end of it. Everyone goes on and on about how easy it is to live plant-based, but I have yet to hear anyone say how hard the transition is… For me, this has been a real struggle. I truly WANT to be vegan. I hate how animals are treated in modern farms and I don’t think that humans should have the to abuse another life like that. I hate what a negative environmental impact farming has from deforestation to global warming to animal extinction to water consumption and everything in between. I hate how I feel after eating meat and dairy products – overfull, grumpy, ashamed, bloated, indigestive (is that a word for unable to digest?), not to mention those with my blood type (A+) thrives better on a vegetarian diet. There are so many foul things associated with eating animal products, but I can’t seem to keep up with a vegan diet… and I’m not sure what the real reason is. I’m like an addict who keeps slipping back after going cold turkey..

I’m really hoping that someone – anyone – will reach out to me with some advice or perhaps stories of how they struggled when switching to solely plant-based foods. Bashing those who eat animal products is not the way to change what are now becoming global habits of consuming those products. In my experience, shaming someone only brings them down, not “into the light.” Right now, I want to be vegan, but I don’t want to make another empty promise of “Vegan from 9/29/15” that I won’t be able to fulfill. I’m hoping that as I find my way to a stable, continuous, plant-based diet, I can figure out how to encourage others to do the same.. Help?

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Impact of Animal Agriculture on the Planet (via Conspiracy)

“According to two environmental specialists at the World Bank Group, using the global standard for measuring greenhouse gases, [it was] concluded that animal agriculture is responsible for 51 percent of human-cause climate change… Not only that but raising animals for food is responsible for 30 percent of the world’s water consumption, occupies up to 45 percent of the earth’s land, is responsible for up to 91 percent of Brazilian Amazon destruction, is a leading cause of ocean dead zones, habitat destruction, and species extinction.”

—Cowspiracy (executively co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio)

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Peace, Love, & Deliciousness!

– Chef Jamie Love ❤

5 Ingredient Muffins

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I found this simple recipe on Pinterest via Becky’s blog Olives & Wine (http://www.olivesnwine.com/2014/01/13/cinnamon-raisin-oatmeal-muffins/)! With just five ingredients – that you probably already have on hand – this recipe makes simple, yummy muffins great for breakfast or a snack (especially pre-workout!). They are also delicious crumbled over a smoothie or your favorite non-dairy yogurt! Try subbing in other dried fruits to mix things up. You could also substitute the peanut butter with sun butter or hazelnut butter.

5 Ingredient Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin MuffinsSnip20151027_3
Yield: 8 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup of raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 & line a muffin tin with 8 liners
  2. Us a spoon to mash peeled bananas & peanut butter in a medium bowl until smooth
  3. Stir in cinnamon, oatmeal & raisins until combined, then spoon mixture into muffin liners
  4. Bake 20-25 mins, or until tops have begun to brown
  5. Remove from oven & cool muffins on wire rack

Creamy Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:Snip20151027_4IMG_0863

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 5 strawberries, tops cut off
  • 1 large naval orange, peeled
  • 1 medium banana, peeled

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a blender & puree until smooth
  2. Toss fruit tops & peels into compost bin
  3. Enjoy!

Baked Yams & Onions

Another recipe from Ten Talents cookbook (buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Talents-Cookbook-NL_yamonionRosalie-Hurd/dp/0615255973/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428510969&sr=8-1&keywords=Ten+Talents). I used canned candied yams instead of fresh yams/sweet potatoes because I had some on hand. If you’re using fresh yams/sweet potatoes be sure to cook them first, then move on when they’re cool enough to handle.

This recipe yields about 4 servings.

Baked Yams & OnionsIMG_0965

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of candied yams (or 1-2 yams/sweet potatoes, cooked)
  • 1 Cup sautéed onions
  • Salt to taste
  • Parsley and/or chives for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Chop cooked/canned yams & combine with onions in a non-stick baking dish
  3. Season with a pinch of salt & bake for 30 mins or until lightly browned
  4. Garnish with parsley or chives (I used both)

Baked Apple Skins

I made an apple pie earlier this week that called for peeled & cored apples. Not wanting to waste the peels, I decided to simply bake them with some cinnamon & brown sugar. What a delicious snack!

Baked Apple SkinsSnip20151027_6IMG_0933

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of leftover apple skins (about 8 apples’ worth)
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Combine apple skins, brown sugar & cinnamon in a bowl, tossing to coat
  4. Bake 20-30 minutes for soft apple skins or bake 40 mins for crispier apple chip skins