Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring break and Cookies.

I've been bogged down with the week before spring break lately, but it's over now! A week off to spend time on my own agenda, excellent.
I have a few posts planned for the next week that i'm working on, about some fun vitamins. You'd be surprised by the potency of the psychoactives you can buy at a Walgreens. Uh, did i say that out loud? Anyway...
In the meantime, here's a way to replace eggs with fruit, and a delicious peanut butter cookie recipe; vegan or not, they're fucking awesome cookies. There's a whole variety of options to replace eggs in recipes; two notable ones were puréed fruit, and ground flax seed. In this recipe, i used applesauce, as it goes well in cookies with oatmeal (which every cookie should have.) The conversion works out like this:
1 egg = 1/4 C applesauce + 1/2 tsp baking powder.
So, here's the recipe, copied from this recipe at
Also, this:

  • 1 1/2 cups shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar**
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda *
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: Chopped almonds, or some other nut (like hemp!)
So, those three eggs work out to be 3/4 C applesauce, and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.
*Don't confuse baking powder and baking soda. These are different ingredients.
**Applesauce adds sugar; in a previous cookie batch made with applesauce, there was so much sugar that the cookies caramelized and burnt. I recommend removing some of the brown sugar. (I weighed out an amount of brown sugar equal to the amount in the applesauce, according to the nutrition facts, it was about equal to a rounded teaspoon of packed sugar.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening and peanut butter. Add the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix well.
  3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  4. Drop by the rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten with fork. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Cool for a few minutes on the pan, and then move to paper or a cooling rack to cool them the rest of the way.
You don't want to brown these cookies much at all. They might seem like they're falling apart when they're fresh from the oven, but this is good; when they cool down, they will end up CHEWY rather than CRUNCHY.  
Peanut butter cookies are deceptively brown, so it can be difficult to tell exactly how done they are by sight, without taking them off of the pan. They are easy to burn. Done just right though, these cookies are, like I said before, fucking delicious. 
Check the bottom of one cookie when they're done (without removing the rest from the pan), and if it's browned on the bottom, then it is done. If the sides are browning, then the cookie is likely to be dried out, and will end up crunchy and not as delectable.

Make them 1/4 inch thick. This really makes them better, and helped with the chewy factor.

Though I fucking hate Starbucks, they have a kick ass Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookie. This is because A) it is huge, B) it has crushed Reese's in it. Take a look:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lasagna Recipe

Here's the recipe for the lasagna I made a couple days ago (which, by the way, is completely gone. it was delicious.)
I found it on google, but can't seem to find the page it was on, so i'll type up the one i wrote down:

Vegan Eggplant, Spinach and Tofu Lasagna

13x9 inch pan
12oz lasagna noodles
1-3 diced eggplants, depending on how much "meat" you like.
(mushrooms work just as well, if you prefer. a mixture would be extra tasty)
3 cups tomato sauce (a whole can or jar)
2 16oz packages of tofu
1 10oz block of chopped spinach
seasonings, garlic, and pepper to taste.
vegan cheese (or cheese if you're a lacto vegetarian)
nutritional yeast (optional)
crushed nuts of some kind (optional)

Now, start by getting the noodles cooking in some boiling water. When they're done, dont leave them touching, or they'll all stick and get ruined. Start cooking your spinach, too.
While that's going on, fry the eggplant/mushrooms with a little oil, until darkened and tender. Cook slowly so they don't burn, but burning them a little at the end adds flavor.
Dry the tofu, and then crumble it until it is a ricotta cheese like consistency. (i used my hands for fun.)
Your spinach should be done by now, so dry it, and add it to the tofu. mix them well. I added some nutritional yeast to this mixture. You should also salt/pepper to taste.
Season your sauce, as you prefer.
Now you're ready to construct the lasagna.
Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay noodles on top of this, and add 1/2 of the tofu mixture. Lay more noodles, and its on to layer 2! Add the cooked eggplant to this layer, and add some sauce to it. Make another layer of noodles, and add the rest of the tofu. add sauce to this layer. Make a final layer of noodles and the rest of the sauce on top.
Heat the oven to 350. I'm not a fan of pre-heating ovens, but i'm spoiled because i have an electric oven that heats quickly. It wastes energy if i do. Anyway, cover the lasagna with foil, and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover it, add a profuse amount of cheese to the top, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or so, until the cheese is nice and melty. (yes, i said melty.)
Let it cool a little before serving!
Now, in retrospect, i suppose you could add seasonings to anywhere in the lasagna, not just the sauce. It might get better flavor that way. Also, adding cheese to the layers of the lasagna might make it cheesier and more cohesive. Melted cheese makes a good food glue.
But anyway, there you have it. Vegan lasagna. See if anyone notices its vegan.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Carnitine and Migraines.

I've had a history of migraines since third grade, but with good eating, exercise, meditation and wariness, i've got a pretty good routine to prevent them without medicine (though i keep Imitrex injections for when they do happen.) However, since "going vegan" (a phrase i find myself uncomfortable with, as well as being told i "am" vegan. I'm just a person experimenting with nutrition.) i've had a growing, dull headache that i can usually dispel with a good meal and/or a nap.
At the moment, though, this headache is turning into something of a migraine. I feel like i might be nutritionally deprived. So, i've done some digging, and have found this page (and blog:)
It seems that carnitine (an amino acid) deficiency can cause low blood sugar, which can then cause a migraine (at least for me.) This is because it is directly involved in the use of dietary fats and proteins to make energy, and build lean muscle. So, though my new whole proteins contain good amounts of amino acids (the nutritional yeast most notably has a list of how much of each per serving) and the ones synthesized into L-Carnitine, they don't contain notable amounts of carnitine itself. Though i eat plenty of proteins now, (beans, soy, peanuts, hemp seed, lentils, etc) and avocado (loves me avocado on a sandwich) they don't contain nearly the same amounts of carnitine that a steak would (or the lunch meant turkey i was previously addicted to.)
So, i suppose i am going to go get some carnitine supplements at the store tomorrow, and see if it helps my headache and energy levels. On that note, i truly should begin taking down a food diary, to less blindly evaluate what my body needs more of.
Anyway, to my newer followers, thanks for finding an interest in my prattling! I know I enjoy yours (just kidding, you don't prattle.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


So, yesterday I dragged my vegan friend with me to whole foods, and did some grocery shopping.
It's amazing how many foods can be made out of hemp. I got hemp milk, hemp ice cream, hemp nuts (of which hemp oil and protein powder are made of) hemp waffles, hemp bread... there is also hemp tofu (i've heard) and hemp butter, which is like a green super nutritious peanut butter. On that note, the jar of hemp butter was $27! Are you kidding me? When i noticed the price i promptly returned it (and found some sunflower butter that sounds promising.)
The Hemp foods are of special interest to me, because i went out of my way to get a number of whole proteins. Whole proteins, like meat, contain all of your essential amino acids, and in many cases your essential fatty acids as well (like omega-3.) Only certain vegetarian proteins qualify as whole proteins, so i invested in a few different ones, like soy products (tofu, boca burgers), hemp products, and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is an awesome product that tastes like sharp cheddar cheese! I got some vegan cheese, too, but that's for a dinner i'm gonna cook.
Of course, i didn't just buy a whole bunch of strange proteins. We also got plenty of normal groceries, like vegetables and pasta. Specifically, i got some mushrooms and eggplant that i'm going to make a vegan lasagna with. Oh, it's dinner time. I'd better start cooking now, actually. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm still here, I swear!

I guess that i've been busy with school lately, so I haven't been posting; thank you to you guys who commented! more posts to come!
That said, i've still been reading about nutrition, and I've learned a lot about dietary needs. Just in the last couple of weeks, i've stopped eating milk and dairy, and i feel... better! I cough less, and my skin seems to be clearer (a big plus, i spent a year on accutane a while back, and i NEVER want acne again!) I've been trying all kinds of lactose free milks; soy, almond, coconut and rice, even. A friend of mine and i were discussing this; he eats the Caveman diet, and he says he's noticed a health improvement not only by not getting dairy, but by not eating processed grains, either. Hmm, for the time being, my staple foods still include pasta and bread, and they're hard enough to find sans milk and eggs.
So, anyway i'm going to go shopping in a few minutes for vegetarian food, probably going to end up at the nearest Trader Joe's or Whole Foods; i have a shopping list assembled to get a number of vegan complete proteins (more on these later,) and some cheese substitutes.
I'll post about my groceries, and why i got them when i'm back. I don't want to waste the middle of the day, the sun is actually shining today. vitamin d depletion causes seasonal affective disorder.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Protein and carbs

All i seem to eat is milk and cereal.
When went to bed last night, I couldn't sleep, so i had fruit loops and went right out. I got up this morning, and had some raisin bran. After class, i had a granola bar.  Then i had pasta and sauce for lunch, with a glass of milk to wash it down.
Well, ok, noodles aren't cereal, but you can see a trend. All i seem to eat are carbs, and usually with milk. I guess i get some meat at dinner, but typically that's just something like fish sticks or a burger. Not exactly prime rib. Perhaps i should consult the food pyramid.
This is the one i grew up learning about in grade school, but it seems there's a new one:

If you can't read it, the new one has measured amounts, rather than numbers of servings. Idiot proof, i suppose, but when the point is to get many people to use it, easy is better. I'm sure ok with it.
But, according to this, i get more than my daily allowance of grains and milk, but about half my proteins, and not really any fruit or veggies. I wonder if i should count calories, too.
I'm gonna go eat some fruit.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vegans and Vitamins

Hello everyone. Introductions, introductions:
I've taken an interest in my health lately, and have decided to learn as much as i can about good food and good nutrition. A friend of mine recently "went vegan" but i get the feeling he's just eating peanut butter instead of meat. I don't know if he's gonna last, and i'm not gonna go veggie, but it piqued my nascent interest in high nutrition.
I've taken multi-vitamins every day for years, but i don't exactly know about everything that's in them, or what's in meat that my friend might need (or, for that matter, shouldn't be getting.) While I know vitamins can influence your health, energy and fitness (especially if one actually gets exercise...) I don't know in what ways, or why; but I have decided to find out.
So, in the spirit of curiosity, i've decided to chronicle what i learn here, and at the same time use this as a sort of food diary, to see how my eating habits measure up to healthy standards. All i do is eat the occasional bit of broccolli.

Wish me luck! I'll start posting soon.