vegan Archive

Happy National Spaghetti Day!

Posted January 4, 2013 By Steve

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” — Sophia Loren

Flying Spaghetti Monster
January 4th is a very exciting day, both because it’s my Mom’s birthday and also, of course, because according to the Internet, it’s National Spaghetti Day! This is the sort of food where it’s easy to eat too much of it, but in moderation it’s perfectly good. When I make spaghetti, I usually make it with my “Fauxlonese Sauce”, which is ideal for vegans and also for meat eaters, who in this case might not even notice you’ve changed out ground beef for something healthier, kinder, and better for the environment.

(And happy birthday, Mom!)


Fauxlonese Sauce

  • One package of Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs
  • One to one and a half jars of Trader Joe’s Organic No-Salt-Added Marinara Sauce
  • One onion, chopped up
  • A big handful of fresh spinach
  • Minced garlic, as much or as little as you like

The directions are pretty simple. Saute the onion, garlic, and spinach at medium heat in a large pan, then turn heat to low and add the marinara sauce. (The spinach is optional, but it’s a good combination with marinara sauce because tomatoes help you absorb the iron in the spinach.) If you like, you can pour a little red wine into the jar of sauce you’re emptying, swish it around, and add it — you get everything out of the jar that way, and besides, hey, it’s wine.

Meanwhile, heat up the meatless meatballs by microwaving for five minutes on high. Once they’re warmed up, mash them up and stir them into the marinara sauce. TJ’s meatless meatballs are really good, but they have enough sodium that there’s no reason the sauce needs it as well, hence the suggestion for the marinara with no salt added.

That’s about it. You can add this on top of any pasta, usually I go with a bag of Trader Joe’s organic whole wheat rotelle, but today spaghetti is the way to go.

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Steve’s Pressure Cooked Vegan Stew

Posted September 16, 2012 By Steve

My friend Randall and I eat this whenever he comes over, and finally he asked me how to make it. Since I was typing out the recipe, I thought I’d post it here.

  • 1 package of Tofurky Italian Sausage
  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 16 oz. bag of dry pearl onions (or frozen, if necessary)
  • 1 16 oz. bag of green split peas
  • 1 32 oz. box of vegetable stock1
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

1Preferably Medford Farms brand, because every other brand has outrageous sodium, even the ones mislabeled “low sodium”.

In large pressure cooker, add pearl onions, split peas, stock, and the same amount of water as there is stock. Stir, let sit for a while so that onions warn up a little and peas start to soften slightly so they don’t stick together.

Chop up carrots, potatoes, and sausage, and drop them in. Add curry powder and cayenne pepper and stir.

Close pressure cooker, place on medium-high heat. Allow pressure to reach level one, then cook at that level for exactly thirteen minutes.

Depressurize, stir (peas should turn to mush but not have burned on the bottom), let sit for twenty minutes, stir again.

Makes about six bowls of stew.

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Palin Missing The Point On Childhood Obesity

Posted January 5, 2011 By Steve

“Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.” — William Shakespeare, Julius Caeser, Act 1, Scene 2


obesity parody poster

A friend of mine pointed me to an article in the Christian Science Monitor in which Mario Rizzo defends Sarah Palin’s criticism of Michelle Obama for having spoken out on childhood obesity. It made me realize how much commentary I’ve seen on this seemingly trivial issue in the last few weeks.

Some Republicans have come out in disagreeing with Palin, saying that Obama is simply speaking her mind about a societally important issue. Many of these seem delighted to have an opportunity to knock Palin down a peg or two going into the 2012 presidential election season, but surely that’s merely a coincidence. Others are agreeing with Palin, basically saying that as First Lady, Obama is close enough to being a government official that her campaign is an unwelcome social engineering effort on the part of the federal government.

Initially, I saw all this as a good barometer of hysteria. I find that those who’ve said Palin’s gone overboard with this are on the right side of the hysteria threshold. I mean, at this point the technical term for the size of the average American kid is “ginormous”. So what if Obama’s a quasi-politician, the message in this particular case is correct, right? But then I realized that if you’re really in favor of tackling obesity in government that focusing on what Sarah Palin is saying is pretty stupid, because it’s a lost opportunity to respond more directly to Obama’s approach to the issue.

What I mean is that if Michelle Obama really believes that childhood obesity is an important problem, then why doesn’t she come out in public opposition to government policies that encourage it? For example, shouldn’t she hold a press conference to trumpet her support for an end to government subsidies for sugar, corn, meat, and dairy?

But of course she isn’t going to do that. And the meanstream media isn’t going to call her on it. Agribusiness is big business, after all, and nothing, not even the health of America’s children, can be allowed to interfere with the ménage à trois of government, corporations, and the media. That’s why these sorts of subsidies weren’t even mentioned during the debates on the cost of healthcare last year, and they won’t be mentioned this year even as the federal debt continues to expand like, well, like an American waistline.

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Reflecting on Thanksgiving

Posted November 23, 2007 By Steve
Four or five months ago, Adella and I stopped eating not just meat, but also almost all animal products, such as eggs and dairy. We also started cycling out everything we had that was made from leather, wool, and other animal-based materials. Vegan, for those who know what is. I’d say Ital, but since even vegan food here in the States that doesn’t have all sorts of fake crap in it is more expensive, I can’t call it that.

Since then we’ve lost some weight and generally feel a little healthier, but our real reason was that we were aware of and just couldn’t keep not considering the truly wretched lives and hideous deaths suffered by animals used for meat, eggs, dairy, wool, and other products. Since we don’t need that to live, we decided that in the interest of compassion that we would do without them.

Adapting our diet hasn’t actually been all that difficult. What’s been more interesting has been the responses from other people. I didn’t make it a point to bring it up with other people, not being much of a proselytizer, but eat with or near other people and eventually it comes up. What we’ve noticed is that people are sometimes simply indifferent, but surprisingly often are hostile, making sarcastic comments, or asking in an annoyed tone whether we’re “still doing that”. It may seem strange, but I’ve received more negativity explaining to people that I’m vegan than I ever have telling mentioning that I’m an anarchist.

So anyway, yesterday was the American holiday of Thanksgiving, which commemorates the “first Thanksgiving” in Massachusetts where the Pilgrims (English settlers) and Wampanoag tribe had a big festival together. The modern observance of it is centered on thanking God, having a huge meal at which eating turkey is the centerpiece, and remembering importance of the Pilgrims in American history. So all this got me thinking exactly which aspects of this holiday really still apply to me at this point.

Let’s start with God. While what I think on that probably deserves its own post, the executive summary is that I don’t believe in one. That doesn’t mean that I’m an atheist, since my problem is that I don’t have enough information to draw a conclusion, but I’m pretty skeptical. It also doesn’t mean that I think people who believe in a god or gods are all fools. I just think that history suggests that organized religion ends up being more about the organization than the religion. Anyway, with a holiday like Thanksgiving, it raises the question of thanks to whom.

Then there are the Pilgrims. European colonization of the Americas didn’t exactly consist of a long list of virtuous acts, and I have to wonder how things might have gone had the Wampanoag and other tribes recognized the threat and resisted contact with this bringers of war, alcohol, pestilence, and death. And maybe it’s from listening to Jay Winter Nightwolf on the radio, or maybe it’s from the history reading I’ve been doing since recently taking on a course design/teaching gig at LCO Ojibwe Community College, but a legacy that would make the Nazis blush just doesn’t seem like something to commemorate.

And turkey’s obviously out, of course. So what’s left? Well, this year it was unseasonably warm for this late in the year (Native American Summer, if you will), and we went with Mom, my sister Abi and her family into town to drop by the Smithsonian, let Noah and his little cousin run around on the Mall, see a few of the strange monstrosities in the sculpture garden, and ultimately return to Mom’s house for dinner. And while Mom thinks our vegan lifestyle is weird, she’s supportive in not adding dairy or egg ingredients to things other than turkey so that we can still eat them. She even tried the tofurkey that we brought. It wasn’t all blissful, since this year it was my ex’s turn to have the three older kids, but it was pretty good.

So they’re what’s left when God, history, and turkey are taken out of the equation. Family is still there, and in the end, that’s all that really mattered anyway.

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