Vegan Bytes #04: Vegan Football Season

In this issue...

*Great Cocktail and Football Party Snacks
*Eating Consciously
*What's in Season in the Vegetable World?
*The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe

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Football Season Snacks

I'm a big sports fan, and one of my favorite sports is football. I'm actually the defending champion of my fantasy football league this year!

One thing that I always find to be a pain is the typical snacking fare for football games. When I go to sports bars, I am usually stuck with just french fries. At friends' houses, it could be anywhere from a veggie burger to tortilla chips and salsa. Not that I'm complaining-- I just know we can do better!

But it doesn't have to be that way. You can make tasty little vegan morsels that will satisfy even the burly football fans.

Here are my favorite snacks for football parties, many of which would be great fingerfoods at any cocktail party:

  • Veggie platter with hummus
  • A great "nacho cheese" dip with tortilla chips
  • Tings (Vegan Cheetos)
  • Mini veggie burgers (cut them up and use tiny buns)
  • "Pigs" in a blanket (small pieces in bread dough, baked)
  • Vegetable pizza
  • Cupcakes!
  • Little sandwiches-- fried green tomatoes are yummy!
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn

Anything you might serve at a typical football party can be veganized. Let's get creative!

Are You Thinking About What You're Eating?

Missing meat?

My sister is getting married in New England, and is having a lobster bake to celebrate the rehearsal dinner. I was remeniscing about my previous love of lobster and thinking about never eating it again.

Note: All vegans have this moments where we consider what we are sacrificing, they just aren't as frequent as meat-lovers like to imagine!

So, there I was, thinking about how I would never eat a lobster again, and I thought to ask myself....

"What is it that I liked about lobster so much?"

I thought about how lobster doesn't have a particularly distinct flavor-- it's more fishy than anything else.

I thought about how I never dipped lobster in anything, so it never tasted like warm butter to me.

And then I realized... it wasn't the flavor, but the texture that I loved so much. So, basically, I loved tearing through the tough flesh, or muscle of the animal.

Once I understood that, I realized that I don't want to eat lobster anymore. I don't get a particular thrill out of acting like a carnivore and tearing through flesh.

I know that's a strangely graphic description, but it really was a process that I went through-- asking myself what it was that I liked about it and that I missed.

One of my best friends recently went through the same process, but with cheese. She has been a vegetarian for about a year, but still clung to cheese for the entire year.

Then, a few days ago, she thought about how she felt eating cheese-- pretty satisfied and happy. But, after eating it, she felt bloated, tired, and slightly sick. And, all of a sudden, she has no impulse to eat cheese anymore.

It's funny how your tastes can change out of nowhere. You might think you really can't live without something, but it seems you always can; and sometimes you feel better without it.

In the great little book, Skinny Bitch, the authors talk about how you really shouldn't deny yourself something you want.

If my friend wants to eat a piece of cheese, she should. But, she shouldn't gorge herself on a huge amount of it. She should take a piece, put it on a plate, and eat it slowly, thinking about how it makes her feel. Then, she should wait, see how she feels, and decide if she wants any more.

How often do you ask yourself why you are craving something?

It's a great concept. We should all learn to ask outselves more often, "Why do I want to eat this? Is it truly because I'm hungry? Do I truly want to eat this? Am I trying to invoke a memory of an event that made me happy by eating this?

If you come up with good answers, you eat it. And you don't feel bad about it. But, if you have a realization, like I did, feel good about not eating it.

Eating With The Seasons... Like Gramma Did

With so much access to variety in the grocery store, most people never stop to think about what's actually growing on the farms near their houses. But, it's something your grandma used to do. She shopped for the fresh and the ripe, and not coincidentally, that was also what was in season.

Do you know what's in season in your area of the country or world right now? Sometimes you can tell because you'll start seeing sales on those fruits and vegetables at the market. You can also visit your local farmers market, and anything they are selling is in season.

Here are some great things that are coming into season on the East Coast as the leaves start turning colors and the nights start getting longer:

  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Eggplants
  • Figs
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes

Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe

We had a vegan carrot cake bake-off this weekend to test out two important recipes-- one that is ranked highly with google, and my mom's famous recipe.

Now, my mom's original recipe is made with eggs, and her icing has butter and real cream cheese, so I veganized it.

It was actually way easier than I thought to take out the animal ingredients and sub in the vegan ones, and it came out with the same great flavor.

The verdict was that both cakes are outstanding. Both have great flavor, moistness, and texture. They have a nice background spiciness from the cinnamon, and lightness from the carrots. My mom's cake is chunkier and the other recipe is smoother. My mom's icing is the best overall.

Check out Vegan Nutritionista's website to see both of these amazing carrot cake recipes.

That's all for this month!! I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Comments? Feedback? Ideas? I'd love to hear from you. I would love to add an "ask the editor" section to this newsletter with great questions and answers for all. Just reply to this newsletter and let me know what you think.

See you next month!


Here's a link to the Vegan Nutritionista blog, which has up-to-date info about the latest additions to the site. Click here on the blog page to see what's new.

Also, here is a link to backissues from Vegan Bytes.

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