Awake too long

I’ve seen the eyes of the widows left behind
I’ve seen a child of a fallen man
And never once did our leaders apologize
for battles they began

I can’t look away or pretend not to see
And so I stay

I’ve been awake too long
Wish there was something that could close my eyes to all that I see
Awake too long
It would be easier to fall asleep

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Veganizing your favorite recipes: Blueberry pie

When I was a kid my grandmother used to make a blueberry pie that I really loved, and still do to this day. Unfortunately original recipe contains both eggs and sour cream, which I thought was a hindrance in making it vegan. Because of this I didn’t have this type of pie for many years, until I got an idea of how to make it vegan. I tried out the idea, and it resulted in a pie that tasted pretty much exactly like I remembered it from my childhood.

The original recipe for the dough has 125 g margarine, 1 dl sugar, 3 dl flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 egg. The filling has 2 dl sour cream, 3/4 dl sugar, 1 egg, 2 tsp vanilla sugar, 3 dl blueberries.

bluberry pie

The vegan recipe goes like this:

For the dough:
125 g non-dairy margarine
1 dl sugar
3 dl flour
1 tsp baking powder
a little water or soy milk (to replace the liquid of the egg)

For the filling:
2 dl soft tofu, blended until smooth
(1 tsp potato flour/corn flour)
3/4 dl sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
3 dl blueberries

Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar. Add the margarine and mix until the batter is even. Add the liquid and mix again. Spread the dough evenly unto a pie dish.

Mix the blended tofu with sugar and vanilla sugar. If you want you can add a little potato or corn flour to make sure the mixture will stay together, but this might not be necessary. Pour the mixture into the pie dish. Pour the blueberries evenly on top.

Bake in 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes.

What I want to say with this post is; don’t be afraid to try to make you favorite non-vegan recipes vegan! You may fail the first time (or then you succeed!), but just get up and try again. It’s worth it for that special food or dessert that you remember from you childhood, isn’t it?

“It’s just the way things are”

“It’s just the way things are. Take a moment to consider this statement. Really think about it. We send one species to the butcher and give our love and kindness to another apparently for no reason other than because it’s the way things are. When our attitudes and behaviors towards animals are so inconsistent, and this inconsistency is so unexamined, we can safely say we have been fed absurdities. It is absurd that we eat pigs and love dogs and don’t even know why. Many of us spend long minutes in the aisle of the drugstore mulling over what toothpaste to buy. Yet most of don’t spend any time at all thinking about what species of animal we eat and why. Our choices as consumers drive an industry that kills ten billion animals per year in the United States alone. If we choose to support this industry and the best reason we can come up with is because it’s the way things are, clearly something is amiss. What could cause an entire society of people to check their thinking caps at the door–and to not even realize they’re doing so? Though this question is quite complex, the answer is quite simple: carnism.”

– Melanie Joy in “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows”

Spicy bean soup (or stew)

This African-inspired bean soup (or stew) was introduced to us by our landlord – she and her husband are missionaries in Kenya. She made it for us once and since we liked it, she taught us how to make it. Unfortunately the recipe doesn’t have any exact measurements, it’s more up to your own taste and whether you like it to be more like a soup or a stew. The herb mix that we have been using lacks a full ingredients’ list, so I’m not sure exactly what is in it, but it’s a blend of salt, pepper, spices and herbs. Hopefully you can still find the recipe useful!

spicy bean soup

You will need:
Chopped onion
Finely chopped garlic
Salt
Herb mix
(Cayenne pepper)
Finely cut fresh tomato
Shredded carrot
Bell pepper, cut into small pieces
Mixed beans (ready to use)

Heat a little oil in a pan. Add onion and garlic and saute until golden brown. Add salt, herb mix (and if you like, a little cayenne pepper). Fry for a while, continuously stirring. Add a little water and let boil for a few minutes. Add the finely cut tomato and shredded carrot. Let boil for a little while longer, then add the bell pepper. Let the mixture boil until it becomes like a paste. Then add the beans and water (the amount of water depending on whether you like it to become a soup or a stew). Let boil for a few minutes for the beans to become warm, then take the pot off the stove.

We usually make this recipe as a stew and serve it together with pasta, which works really great!

 

What do vegans eat? #5: Beans, peas and lentils

Beans, peas and lentils are great! They are highly nutritious and can be used in almost any dish; casseroles, patties, soups, stews, spreads, baked goods etc.

Some beans, peas and lentils include:
Soy bean
Green bean
Kidney bean
Chickpea/Garbanzo bean
Mung bean
Black bean
Red lentil
Green lentil
Beluga lentil
Green pea

legumes

Learning to cook with beans, peas and lentils may take some time and practice. I’m still not great at it, but I learn more all the time. Some types pf legumes are easier to use than others, and since the flavors of the different legumes vary it’s also a lot up to your own taste.

You can choose to cook your legumes from scratch – buying them dried in bulk – which is definitely the cheapest way. You will need soak them in water for at least 4-8 hours, depending on the legume, and then boil on low heat for at least an hour. A list of soaking and cooking times for different legumes can be found here. Some lentils – such as red ones – don’t need soaking, and usually don’t either need to be boiled for that long time.

As a beginner when it comes to cooking with legumes it might be a good idea to start with canned ones. They are a bit more expensive, but much faster and easier to use if the soaking and boiling part seems too hard or time-consuming. When you use canned legumes, be sure to pour out the liquid that they have been preserved in and rinse the legumes, since this will make them easier for your body to digest.

Some legumes, mainly peas, can also be found fresh or deep frozen.

Some of my favorite dishes with legumes include; sweet potato and lentil soup, spicy bean soup, falafel, hummus, different types of patties and marinated beans. Recipes for some of these dishes are coming up soon!

Earlier in the “What do vegans eat?”- series:

#1: Tofu
#2: Plant-based milk & cream
#3: Ice cream
#4: Fruits and vegetables

Dinner invites

Every now and then me and R get invited to dinner by people who are not vegan (to be honest, the times I’ve been invited to dinner by someone who is vegan can be counted on one hand). These people all know that I eat only plant-based food, but they still want to cook for me. That’s really something I appreciate, that they are ready to step out of their comfort zone and try cooking something new, just so that they can treat me for dinner. Amazing people!

Non-vegan people are actually much more open to cooking vegan food than I used to believe. Sure, there are people who just say they don’t know how to cook vegetables and leave it at that, but most people are really willing to try. Even more when they have a reason to do so: a vegan friend. I’m honored to be that friend.

Winter is coming

You could almost say that winter has arrived in Helsinki today. When I looked outside our bedroom window this morning, some parts of the ground were covered in a thin layer of snow.

winter

Somehow winter comes as a shock to me every year, it always seems like it gets too cold and too dark, way too early. Needless to say, I’m not a winter person and if I could I would escape the country in November every year and come back in May. I admit it looks beautiful a cold, mid-winter day when all nature is covered with snow, but I just can’t stand the cold.

Anyways, with many layers of clothes, some extra blankets and a lot of hot chocolate I guess I will survive winter this year as well.