Page 305. Summer is a busy time of year for me in Toronto. There are a lot of people to see and many social engagements to attend. Last week was the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, and I saw one film, G.B.F., and two documentaries, The Continental and I am Divine.
On top of that I caught up with old friends, Raquel, Christine, Alex and Alisha. In addition I attended the Rob Ford protest and the Veggie Pride Parade.
Sufficed to say I’m tired. Today is my first day of a month-long coffee detox, and I’m cutting alcohol out for two full weeks to let my internal organs heal!
But that doesn’t mean I’m slowing down. I’m still baking, and of course, I have plenty of recipes still to make from Martha Stewart’s vegetarian cookbook, meatless.
I’ve wanted to make the meal depicted on the book cover since I purchased it, but I admit that I had to trade the kale for spinach because that’s all I had in my fridge. Evidently I did have golden cherry tomatoes, ricotta cheese and plenty of garlic.
To add a little flavour I included some vegan butter to the recipe. It turned out pretty good if you ask me. The subtle flavours left a pleasant aftertaste on my palate.
Oh and welcome home Matt and Lisa! I hope Amsterdam and Paris were a dream.
Page 366. Polenta is an Italian dish made from ground cornmeal. It’s similar to grits, the popular cornmeal dish popular in the southern United States. Variations exists in North and South America. Polenta can be served as a cheese or herb-flavoured alternative to mashed potatoes.
For dinner tonight I wanted something simple, so I flipped to the back of the cookbook meatless and found an easy to make polenta recipe. Within 30 minutes I had a gluten-free and completely vegan meal, that I ruined by grating parmigiano-reggiano cheese all over it. I forgot! Whoops. It was too late to fix the mistake but it’s still vegetarian, so there!
Don’t hate me.
Page 107 and 155. I was hesitant to make lasagna because I had eaten store bought this weekend. Well, this recipe was simple to make so I figured I’d give it a go. The zucchini strips replace the pasta noodles, which makes the dish gluten-free. Which is probably why I feel so heavy at the moment. The crumpled tofu adds the protein to the rich tomato sauce. I added a lot of ricotta, because I was afraid that it would taste plastic-y but, the recipe called for it! In the end, it was satisfying.
I’m not always in love with all the meals in this cookbook, but I also figure that in the future I can tweak the recipes a little to suit my needs, and personal tastes.
The best part about today’s selection was the garlic soup pureed with potatoes. Garlic is well-known in its ability to boost immunity and help stave off colds. I didn’t serve it with bread like the book suggests, because I don’t want to gain a ton of weight.
One gripe I have is that the cheese these dishes recommend are expensive, like $50 for one brick. I don’t eat a lot of cheese, but now I’m going to have to, which means I’m also going to have to get a probiotic to deal with the bloating that comes with it. I’ll try to substitute with vegan cheese. We’ll see how that goes.
Life is hard!
In case you needed anymore reason to loathe the prevalence of human corruption I encourage you to watch the trailer for The Marketing of Madness. It’s a Scientologist’s dream come true.
The Marketing Of Madness details how the “psychiatric drug industry was born and its powerful and profitable partnership with the drug industry, which has turned psychiatry into an $80 billion drug profit center.”
I refuse to take drugs even for my migraines, and won’t touch antibiotics unless I have no other choice but death. Anyway, I remember many of my friends who were easily prescribed psychiatric drugs for mild depression back in university, and thinking to myself, “It’s okay to be depressed sometimes, you’ll get over it.”
As more and more research is being put into how it operates, I believe that one day psychiatry will be completely debunked as a made up science, which it is.
Go ahead, watch the trailer. You can also stream the movie online.
Page 73. Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day. It’s what kick starts our metabolism and helps regulate our weight. But even more important, breakfast provides us with the energy to get through the day.
Torontonians are busy people, and many of us leave little time in the morning to eat. We usually grab something at Starbucks or the nearest Tim Horton’s, but it’s often unhealthy and high in calories. Just one muffin has over 500 calories if you can believe it. And don’t get me started on donuts. Of course these things don’t hurt if consumed in moderation, but if you’re eating them everyday, well, that’s another story.
Even if you’re too busy in the morning to prepare something big it isn’t hard to eat a bowl of cereal (I prefer Cheerios these days), or some yogurt with blueberries.
The weekend is probably the best time to prepare a more hearty breakfast. This recipe from meatless is an excellent meal to make on a Saturday morning. Or Sunday! I’m not picky.
It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to assemble and cook all the ingredients, but the end result is worth it. I decided to poach the egg, and to include a side of asparagus roasted in a tablespoon of olive oil, but butter would probably be more tasty. Depends on what you prefer, but either way the asparagus is a delicious addition, just note that olive oil is a lot healthier than butter. Sprinkle with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
You can find the recipe here. I substituted the russet potatoes with fingerlings, because that’s what I had in my refrigerator. Use what you have, is my motto.
Side note, I’m going to create a separate page on my blog with all the recipes I’ve duplicated from Martha Stewart’s vegetarian cookbook meatless. You’ll be able to find it on the top navigation within a couple of days with links to the posts.
Also, most of these meals can be found on Martha Stewart’s comprehensive website. I’ll also be writing an upcoming post about why I think gay people admire Martha so much. I hope it’s interesting.
The sugar has been unevenly dispersed!
You might recall that I won a raffle prize at a CNIB fundraiser about a month ago. I received a basket of Grainstorm mixes. These are fresh milled organic grains, sans toxic modern wheat or industrial-processing. Simplicity is their objective, with a slogan “Bake like it’s 1869.”
The Grainstorm website claims that their products are healthy, and are suitable for those with wheat sensitivities.
In my basket I received six packages of mixes, with baking directions on the back. I already made the Golden Kamut muffin mix a couple of weeks back, but tonight I went for the Red Fife loaf because the package promises that it goes great with a lovely cup of dark coffee. To sweeten the pot, all recipes can be made vegan, and the Grainstorm website offers a myriad of recipe alternatives for each of their mixes.
About Red Fife, they say:
“Red Fife is North America’s pre-eminent heritage wheat, native to Ontario and the grandfather of modern wheat. It yields less than half of modern wheat, and it tastes way better. Especially fresh-ground! This is the lightest of our muffin bases, both in taste and texture, so it works great for coffee cakes and other treats, but is also great plain as it has a wonderful, delicate wheaty flavor.”
The result is a lovely, fresh rustic experience that harkens back to a simpler time, when healthy was more important than sugar. Mmmmmm…. sugar. To satisfy my sweet tooth I sprinkled a touch of brown sugar on top of the loaf ten minutes before I brought it out of the oven. Delicious.
Those who read this blog will know that I consume a primarily plant-based diet. I love baking, but have moved to choosing vegan ingredients when I do. I never eat meat and haven’t digested an animal in over eight years. I’m leaning more to a vegan lifestyle, but I’m trying to inform myself as much about it as possible, before diving head first.
My friend Alex is probably the most knowledgeable person when it comes to food. Over the past couple of years she has developed a dairy allergy and is now completely dairy free. Just yesterday she came down with a nasty case of food poisoning after eating a piece of fish, and the experience is strongly influencing her to adopt a vegan diet full-time.
She recently emailed me about the documentary Forks Over Knives which I watched when living in Argentina last year. The film makes the bold claim that all of the degenerative diseases that afflict human beings across the world can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.
This is not a new claim, people like Kathy Freston have been talking about this kind of stuff for years, and scientific research has overwhelmingly shown that eating animals is not only bad for the environment, but is responsible for increases in cancer rates and other complex chronic diseases.
Anyway, I thought that I would share the trailer and put the film into your consciousness, as it makes a compelling case. Personally I can’t imagine living without fruits and vegetables, and not a day goes by that I don’t consume them with a vengeance. I could never eat meat, for a plethora of reasons, as many of you are aware. But it’s astonishing how the majority of people never think about how delicious plant food can be, and are grossed out by eating things like bananas!
Thanks for reading.
I forgot about my new movie of the week series so to make up for it I’m recommending two for you today.
Julia Sweeney is best remembered as the androgynous Pat from Saturday Night Live but she is also memorable for her one-woman shows that detail her battle with cancer and her journey from Catholicism to atheism.
After leaving the cast of SNL, Sweeney returned to Los Angeles where her marriage ended amicably and her brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. During this time her parents move in to help care for her dying brother, but Sweeney’s own mortality is tested when she is diagnosed with cervical cancer. These events inspired her to write God Said Ha!, a life affirming film of subtle wit and grace. Sweeney’s delivery and razor-sharp intelligence is on full display throughout the 90 minute movie, which was produced by Quentin Tarantino.
After her brother dies, and she’s left with her own cancer, and her grieving parents, Sweeney does what she can to rebuild her life. But trust me, this is not a sad, gloomy one-woman show, in fact, the humour that Sweeney enlists to cope with these extraordinary circumstances brings much-needed relief to such heavy subject matter.
The second film is Letting Go of God. In it she discusses her Catholic upbringing, her own internal struggle with scripture and her eventual shift to atheism. Richard Dawkins references this movie many times in his book The God Delusion and for good reason: Sweeney is able to explain the reasons for her spiritual crisis in a manner that is never insulting to Catholics, though she does have reason, as she studied and read the Bible from front to back, when most Catholics can only recite certain versus. Her horror upon discovering how mean-spirited Jesus was, and how violent the stories in the Bible are, led to her knowledge quest.
So there you go. I recommend that you spend some cash and a little time and watch these two movies. I’m not exaggerating when I say they will open your mind to a world you probably never knew existed.
These life jackets spoil the tranquility of the moment.
Well, it’s arrived, the day I officially enter my mid-30s, an age when according to a BBC quiz, men commence their mid-life crisis.
I think I’ve been in crisis everyday of my life. Are you telling me it’s gonna get worse? Dear God.
In reality I have never felt better about my place in the world. Even though I may struggle with uncertainty, I cope with it a lot better than I did when I was younger.
My birthday provides an opportunity to reflect on what I have to be grateful for. As usual, I’m not talking about materials, but about relationships, friendships, love.
Listen I was born into an absurdly dysfunctional family so the fact that I didn’t end up like my older siblings is saying something about some of the good choices I made in my life, including the fact that I surrounded myself with progressive, decent people who care about the world around them. It’s not just “me me me” all the time.
Which is something I’m beginning to notice more and more about others though. It’s amazing how many people love to talk about themselves, boring their colleagues and peers with mundane details about their lives.
My advice to them: Get a blog.
So, I’m 34. I think I’m going to eat a lot today, and perhaps drink a few.
I’m lucky. I’m very very lucky. I don’t forget that, ever.
If you haven’t seen this documentary, you must do it now.