Days 19-20: Oh, fuck.

September 21, 2008

What I Miss Today: NOTHING…because I think I ate everything I wasn’t supposed to.

Mom came to town yesterday, and I was worried about how she’d deal with it, me being vegan and all. I should have been more worried about myself.

I cooked a lovely yellow Thai curry with eggplant, zucchini, red peppers and onions last night. I checked the label, and the bottle of curry contained fish sauce, which is, as the name suggests, made from fish…but decided it wasn’t a big deal. And it wasn’t a big deal, compared to the cheesy cheat from Flann’s on Thursday night.

That brings me to today, where I am pretty sure I ate everything I wasn’t supposed to, with the exception of chicken. There was no chicken involved today. So that makes it better, right?

Here’s the list of the dirty deeds — dirty, tasty, meaty, cheesy, creamy, yummy deeds [sins highlighted]:

1) Morning:
Coffee, with real dairy half & half [because soy in coffee makes me gag]

2) Lunch at McCormick & Schmick’s at Faneuil Hall:
Maryland crab soup
Bread & butter
Buffalo shrimp
Salad with arugula, oranges and cranberries [hey! no meat or cheese there!]
Part of Mom’s fried cod sandwich
Key lime pie, with a thick layer of whipped cream on top

3) Snack at Lulu’s bakery:
Whoopie pie, frosting inside
Bite of Mom’s red velvet cupcake

4) Dinner at Damiano [307 Hanover Street in North End]:
Fried eggplant with basil, sauce and parmesan
Penne with gorgonzola, spinach sun-dried tomatos in a cream sauce
Baked meatballs with parmesan
Parmesan risotto with peas and prosciutto

Umm, hello. Dinner was AMAZING. Delicious. So worth cheating. Each dish was in a tapas-sized portion [they had an Italian word for it, but I can’t remember it now], allowing a nice taste of everything. If I wasn’t so full from lunch and snacks, I might have wanted to try some other dishes. Everything was awesome. Check it out.

So here’s the rundown: crab, shrimp, cod, butter, cream, prosciutto, meatballs [which I am assuming had the traditional mixture of ground beef, lamb and pork], eggs [in the meatballs and pastries] and a variety of cheeses. Wow. When I go, I go all out. Balls to the fucking wall.

I plan to return to veganism when she leaves tomorrow — though I must say, it is much easier eating whatever I want, and makes me feel more like I fit in socially…[more on that later]

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Days 17-18: Cheater.

September 19, 2008

What I Miss Today: ehh, I forget. I’m drunk.

I ate cheese today.

[GASP!]

It was on my vegetarian chili at Flann’s…beside the cheese-covered garlic bread.

[GASP!]

It wasn’t that big of a deal, though.

But I guess it does mean I cheated. Oops.

Dammit. I shouldn’t have been drinking when I ordered.

Oh well.

Day 16: Vegan Carbo-Load

September 17, 2008

What I Miss Today: two eggs, sunny-side up, on top of hashbrowns.

On the way home, I stopped by Whole Foods to get some Earth Balance vegan “butter” that I had heard about. It’s made from oils, but apparently tastes like butter. I didn’t try it yet. Along with the “butter” I got a mini baguette, some homemade tortilla chips [for the guacamole dip from yesterday] and two vegan cookies. Total carbo-load, vegan-style. So not as healthy as I’ve been doing lately.

Oh, and I quickly ate both cookies. They were delicious.

The end.

Days 13-15: Back Off The Wagon

September 16, 2008

What I Miss Today: chicken salad. Just got to thinking about that time I had dinner with that guy at that place, and I had chicken salad. It was really, really good.

Saturday night, I met up with a dude after work, and we chilled and watched the game. And I had a beer. Or three. So I guess I am officially back off the wagon. It was nice, just hanging out, drinking, watching baseball [sporadically] and talking.

I do feel like the veganism thing has severely hindered my social life. Sunday morning, I met my roommate, her boyfriend, and ten other of our friends at T.G.I. Friday’s for an impromptu lunch [yeah, that’s how we roll]. The only thing on the menu that was vegan-friendly was the side salad, and I just didn’t feel like paying five bucks for a bowl of iceberg lettuce. So I politely declined food, but enjoyed my soy latte and fun drunken stories from the night before that I missed [because I got…sidetracked…anyway…]

Kristen was eating a bowl of French onion soup, with a layer of melty, gooey cheese on top that was calling my name. She even had the balls to scrape some of it off, saying, “There’s just TOO MUCH CHEESE on this!” When she saw the shock and horror on my face at her actions, she offered to have the waitress wrap up the discarded cheese for me until October. Ha. Ha.

She’s actually great, though. I was about to crack, and order something just vegetarian, like a cheesy pasta dish, when she told me how impressed she was with me doing this experiment, and how I shouldn’t quit yet. So I didn’t cheat.

So thanks to her, I am still going strong, on Day 15. Except for the whole beer thing on Saturday. And tonight, too. I met Molly at Flann’s for a couple Magner’s and some sports on TV. Always fun times.

Anyway, I made my Aunt Beth’s amazing guacamole dip tonight. Here is the recipe:

2-3 avocados

1 small red onion

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can shoepeg corn

1 tomato

1 handful of cilantro [CRUCIAL! do not leave out!]

1 lime

salt to taste

1. Chop avocado, and squeeze juice of lime on top [keeps it from oxidizing].

2. Chop rest of vegetables, add beans and corn, and and mix together. This recipe is actually quite flexible and doesn’t need to be exact. Sometimes I prefer more avocados, sometimes I add extra corn. Try it, and see how you like it.

3. Ta-da! So easy! Enjoy with chips, in any Mexican-inspired dishes, on scrambled eggs…or just from a bowl. Delicious. Bring it to a party, and it’s gone as soon as you set it down — and everyone will ask you to bring it again and again, and they’ll love you! They’ll really love you!!

I also finally tried soy cheese. The package said it melted well, and that is true. I bought the pepperjack variety, thinking it would be less gross. It wasn’t gross. It wasn’t good, though, either. It was just OK. I made a grilled “cheez” on the GoFo, and took bites of it while I was making Aunt Beth’s guacamole dip. I didn’t finish it, though. It was weirdly salty and strangely flavored. Just didn’t replace real cheese for me. I can’t wait for October! CHEESE!

Anyway, I need to keep up better with this blog. See what happens when you put a beer in my hand? All goes to shit.

Day Twelve: To Cheat, or Not To Cheat?

September 13, 2008

What I Miss Today: hmm. Don’t think I actually miss anything today…

Mom is coming to visit next weekend, and today we were discussing the potential plans, which include sailing, going to the aquarium and driving up to Lexington to visit Wilson Farms [which has the most delicious broccoli you’ll ever eat]. Now, when Mom comes to visit, we don’t cook. I actually don’t think I had ever cooked for her until last Thanksgiving. Though to be fair, I calculated that she hadn’t cooked for me since 2004. We go out to eat. We eat small things that don’t need “cooking.” Like cheese toast. Or Oreos. But typically, we do not go into the kitchen for an hour and prepare a meal.

This vegan thing will be a problem. I love food — all kinds of food. So does she. And she is really supportive of this experiment. But one day we were on the phone, discussing meeting in Providence and going to The Melting Pot. I said, “Well, we can’t do that until October.” She said, “Why??” I said, “The Melting Pot doesn’t have anything vegan.” She said, “It doesn’t?” I said, “No. It’s all cheese and meat.” I think she responded something like, “Well, you’ll have to just get over that, then!” So I am curious how tolerant she’ll be of my veganism when she actually gets to Boston and I tell her, no, we can’t go to Betty’s, and no, we can’t go to Victoria’s — I don’t think there’s any vegan food to be had there. Unfortunately.

I know there are vegan restaurants in Boston, I just have to 1) find them, and 2) convince her to go there with me. Or 3) cook. Which I could do. She likes Thai curry. I could make that. Would certainly be cheaper.

The other option:

4) Just cheat. Just eat some cheesy, meaty meal with Mom since she’s coming up and will probably pay. Just go with it. Bend your own rules. You set the rules, didn’t you? Yes, you did. You can do whatever you want. Cheat on the Experiment with you mother! It will make her happy!

But then, who knows what will happen? Will I be slamming back Magner’s and gnawing chicken bones, back to my old ways? Or will I be a changed person, a fan of bean salad, soy lattes and cheeseless burritos?

I guess only time will tell.

Days Ten & Eleven: Couscous Extravaganza!

September 12, 2008

What I Miss Today: beer.

Yeah, I’ve been eating couscous and vegetables the past two dinners.

Exciting stuff.

In other news, I have finally discovered that maybe soy milk doesn’t work well with coffee, but it is practically made for chai tea. Mmm, mmm, delicious.

I have been wanting to drink beer. Very badly.

And I had another dream that I ate cheese.

This vegan & alcohol-free thing is starting to affect my subsconsious. Weird.

Eleven days down…

Day Nine: The Pants Situation

September 10, 2008

The pants situation is simple:

I can fit into them. Smaller pants, actually. Pants that I had hanging in my closet until that day where my ass was just a tad bit less bootylicious, my stomach a little smaller.

Friends, that day is today.

I’ve stuffed my fluff into those slacks in the past, or worn an uncomfortable corset underneath them. But today, they fit pretty much perfectly. They didn’t squeeze my ass so tight I couldn’t bend over, or suffocate my stomach and cause the dreadful “muffin top effect.”

I am pleased.

Whatever I’m doing must be working.

Days Seven & Eight: Over The Hump

September 9, 2008

What I Miss Today: Chocolate. I keep seeing those damned Werther’s commercials — apparently that have some sort of new chocolate and caramel candy. How did they know that anything with caramel and chocolate is my favorite? How did they also know that I am vegan for a month and cannot eat any of their delicious candy? How did they further know that I would be watching TLC, where they felt the need to advertise this new candy eight billion times in the last half hour?

Fuckers.

Anyway, I haven’t cheated yet, but I did have a dream that I ate a piece of large, cheesy pizza. I woke up feeling guilty — then realized, Oh, it was just a dream. Whew.

I actually haven’t been tempted to eat non-vegan food. I see it, I know it would be good, but my willpower to do this is stronger than my desire to have a bite of that crispy, oven-fried chicken Kristen was eating for dinner. Crunchy, juicy, flavorful chicken…[drools]…no, no, not tempted at all! I’ll sit here with my rice and leftover vegetables. Yum yum! Rice! Sprinkle a little Paula Deen’s special house seasoning and call it dinner.

In other news, I have over-beaned myself. Just one tiny serving of bean salad left, and it’s gone. And as good as it was, I will be happy to see it done. Honestly, though…three cans of beans [50 cents each], the can of corn [probably the same price], the small onion [around 30 cents], a lemon [3 for two bucks, so about 65 cents], and a negligible amount of olive oil = all in all, a huge container of bean salad cost me about three bucks, and I ate it at about six different meals over the weekend and lunch today. I felt full after even just a small bowl of it, and it was pretty tasty, too.

Thinking about all this, I feel like I am really over the hump. Day three I wanted to shoot myself…but now I feel like I can definitely do this. When October rolls around, I will be so happy to incorporate cheese and meat back into my diet, but with more thought than I was before. I won’t just haphazardly shove cheese in my face like I used to. I hope I am still conscious of my diet and don’t get overwhelmed with dairy love like I was.

First thing I’ll want to eat at the end of the Vegan Experiment: hmmm. I’ll have to think about that…

Day Six: Fuck Soy Coffee

September 7, 2008

What I Miss Today: milk/cream for coffee

I made a soy cafe au lait yesterday. It was only OK. Today I made a regular cup of coffee, and replaced what would have been delicious full-fat half & half with vanilla soy milk. It was not good. I drank half the cup, then, still feeling tired and a bit cranky, went back for a second cup. Instead of tainting the coffee with soy milk, I decided to go black with a little sugar. The first little sip was fine — the subsequent larger sip made me gag. Then it was dumped into the sink.

I gave up on me being able to make a decent cup of coffee without dairy, so I went down the street to J.P. Licks for a soy mocha latte. It was better than what I could make, but still something was lacking majorly. I guess coffee is just one of those things for me that needs dairy.

For lunch I ate more of the bean salad, which was even better today than yesterday, the evening in the fridge giving the flavors time to fully encorporate. For dinner, I tried my hand at vegan burritos. Here is my recipe:

VEGAN BURRITOS/SOFT TACOS

1/2 large vidalia onion

1 each yellow and orange pepper

1/2 each zucchini and summer squash

3 cloves of garlic

salt, cayenne pepper and chili powder to taste

1. Get rice cooking [I make jasmine, which takes about 20 minutes]. Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute onions until clear. Add chopped vegetables and seasonings.

2. After vegetables are semi-soft, grate the garlic into the pan [if you don’t have a grater, feel free to chop it finely].

3. Warm tortillas. Add rice, and vegetables. Top with salsa. Enjoy!

You can use any vegetables you have on hand, and even add black beans for more protein [it crossed my mind, but decided I’d had enough beans in the past two days]. These would certainly be tasty with cheese, sour cream, and chicken or beef…but this recipe proved to me that you don’t have to use meat products in order to have a spicy, tasty Mexican-inspired vegan meal.

Day Five: Beans, Beans…and MORE Beans…

September 6, 2008

What I Miss Today: Cheese. Some shredded cheddar on a tortilla. Brie on a baguette. Mozarella and tomato…I’ll stop before I run to the fridge right now and shove a slice of muenster in my face.

I created a recipe! I’m sure one exists like it, but this is my own:

BEAN SALAD

1 can garbanzo beans [also called chick peas]

1 can light red kidney beans

1 can cannellini beans

1 can shoepeg corn

1 small red onion

1 lemon

1/4 cup good olive oil

1. Drain and lightly rinse the beans [you don’t have to rinse them, but I think they’re better if you do]. Dump the beans into a large container with a lid.

2. Grate the lemon zest directly onto the beans. Chop the onion finely and add to the beans.

3. Juice the lemon. It should make about 1/4 of a cup. Whisk the olive oil into the juice, and then pour over the beans. Mix, and add salt to taste.

4. Eat them, and warn people in your household that you’ve been eating beans. Stay away from open flames.