On January first, I was asked by a friend to join a month long vegan challenge. I have been fascinated by his journey of healthy eating, that began with eating meat but clean food and eventually led him to veganism based on his love of animals. I have been vegetarian for nearly 20 years but have thought a lot about factory farming and the horrible conditions animals must endure for us to eat butter, cheese, eggs, etc. I try to buy from small farms with humane practices at farmers market, but many times buy from the grocery store, and even the most humane farms when moving to grocery store sized production levels are not as good as we’d like to believe. So I agreed to his challenge. If you have been reading this blog, you know that create plant based recipes that are vegan, but every so often I used ghee or eggs. I love a challenge – especially one that requires me to come up with a whole food plant based ingredient that replaces an animal product. Last year, as part of my food as protest movement and blog, I created a cauliflower steak (vegan), nut gremolata (vegan) but it was served over a cauliflower puree that was made with heavy cream and butter and lentils made with ghee. So I recreated my own dish to make it vegan. You may have had a cauliflower steak but this one is twice cooked to add a deeper and richer level of flavor. The lentils were the protein in the dish. The pistachio gremolata adds acid and color. The cauliflower puree is the creamy mashed potato of the dish without the starch. Filling. Nutritious. Taaaaasty.
Recently I have had a lot of conversations with people that ask about my lack of sleep and schedule during the day. My schedule is pretty typical and routine for a full-time working mom, but seems to shock people that don’t have kids or have forgotten what it was like. The number one question I am asked is, how are you able to work out at 5 am after only a few hours of sleep? Really, there is no choice for me right now, so I just do. The next question is what do you eat for breakfast? I eat more like a hobbit than human with an early wake up call – breakfast, second breakfast and an elevensies. So it requires having a lot of food around. The easier it is for me to eat and the more filling, sustaining and nourishing it is, the better off I am (and less likely to reach for junk since I have a constant desire to eat). That’s what makes these energy cookies so good: rich with good fats and protein from a variety of nuts and seeds, fiber from oats and sweetened with nothing but banana, dates and bites of currants so I don’t crash.