All American Baked Oatmeal and Tropical Storm Lee

Our house is being bombarded with high winds and buckets of rain this morning from Tropical Storm Lee moving slowly west in the Gulf of Mexico. Whenever it is wet and rainy I love to make a variation of baked oatmeal for breakfast. This baked oatmeal is delightful and really satisfies the taste buds.

The diced peaches, apples and blueberries really enhance the flavor of the oatmeal and a little dash of non-dairy creamer puts it over the top.

All American Baked Oatmeal

All American Baked Oatmeal

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoons baking soda

1 cup almond milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar to make
almond buttermilk

1 tablespoon Ener-g egg replacer mixed with 1 tablespoon
water

½ cup melted vegan butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 small apple peeled and diced

1 small peach peeled and diced

¼ cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the egg replacer and the
water and whisk lightly. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda,
salt and vanilla extract, whisk lightly. Add almond buttermilk and diced
apples, peaches and blueberries. Stir gently. Add oats and fold together. Put
into baking pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until done. ( A knife put in the
center should pull out clean, when it is done.)

This will feed 4-6 people comfortably.

I usually have a canned of sliced peaches ready  in a bowl to put on top of the baked oatmeal
and some non-dairy creamer to pour lightly over the top.

This is a breakfast that stays with you and if
you are not allergic to oats is gluten free.

Enjoy your new breakfast treat.

Loving the Vegan Lifestyle

When I started this almost two years ago, I found there was a large learning curve of what it really means to eat for your health.

When you make these changes, there is a growth in knowledge you never expect and reward for being nice to your body and your soul. I finally feel comfortable with my way of eating and just overlook the comments made my the meat eaters who do not know any better. I lead by example without any pressure so that they can ask the questions if they really want to know how I am maintaining my lifestyle even in the midst of the carnivores in my house. I will be updating this blog and letting my other blog Gulf Coast Style sort of die out because the high fat foods no longer have a strong pull on me.

Looking forward to more blogging.

“Shady’s” Government Street Ocean Springs

Shady’s in Ocean Springs has changed up its menu to offer a lot of vegan combinations.  We went there on Wednesday night after our appointment to sign some legal paperwork for setting our wills and trusts. It was not very crowded, but the atmosphere was buzzing as it always is during the later dinner hour.  We sat at a table by the window for two and watched the crowd slowly gather at the other tables. A friend from the Aegis Mardi Gras Krewe came in and sat at another table for two on the other side of the restaurant. We greeted her on the way out. I can now choose from entrees with fried tofu. I am in love with the Thai Coconut Milk soup, so I had a cup of that and the Mangoes and sticky rice for dessert. 

I love this version of Coconut Milk soup because it is made with the golden curry instead of the green curry that I use. The spicing was just right, especially when it doesn’t burn the back of my ears. I was driving my own car so I did not partake in an alcoholic beverage but had unsweet tea instead. The Mangoes and sticky rice were wonderful. The dessert is essentially sliced mangoes with a cup full of sticky rice drizzled with sweetened coconut cream and chopped peanuts. The combination of flavors cannot be beat.

I know there is a great deal of construction going on in the downtown area of Ocean Springs, but you need to go in and check out the Thai Coconut Milk Soup either with tofu or two other choices of proteins to suit your fancy.  It is well worth the trip and you will not be disappointed.

“Dining on Disney Favorites”

I bought a cookbook from Disney while in Orlando in August. One of those 4 day weekends where you drive 2 days and enjoy 2 days in the park. We stayed at the Shades of Green and had passes to the park for visiting one park a day. The girls had the passes that let you park jump and that was a blessing because they were gone from dusk to dawn pretty much the two days we were there.

I found this cookbook at one of the stores on Main Street Disney. It is the most amazing cookbook. It has the most popular items and the recipes from the park chefs with a great variety to even please a vegan. I have been making some of the recipes from the cookbook and my family loves them. The french toast is awesome. I did the lamb chops with the white beans for my husband, I used tofu to top mine. I also did the Thai Noodle bowl with coconut crusted tofu. My husband could not stop eating it.

As much as I would like to convert everyone to my vegan diet, I know that is impossible. So I have small victories when I can with my family and friends. I am of the belief if the food is spiced and prepared well, there will be no complaints even from die hard carnivores. But you do have to take the time to prepare and taste it as you are cooking. My only chef training has come from Culinary Institute texbook which I bought from the bookstore several years ago. I have also taken some hands-on-training from some local chefs in Idaho when we lived there. Chef Darling (that is his last name) taught me all my knife skills. He was a Research and Development Chef for one of the french fry manufacturers there and did the taste profile for McDonalds French Fries.

Now that I have sampled the recipes in the Disney Chefs cookbook it is time to veganize them and put them up on the blog for you all to enjoy. 

Just a note: Still have to travel to Whole Foods on Magazine Street in New Orleans  to get most of my vegan resources as my local market does not really cater to alternate eating styles very well.

“White Lotus” Downtown Ocean Springs

My favorite chef has just opened his new restaurant in Downtown Ocean Springs.

It is called White Lotus and the food is to die for! Chef Scot really understands flavor profiles and makes the most delicious sauces to go along with his entree’s. I had many choices of entree’s to choose from on the menu, which is a sure delight for my vegan palette. I had the fried tofu with sweet and sour sauce. This sweet and sour sauce is the best I have ever tasted. Most sauces of this type are either too sweet or way to vinegary. His was a perfectly balanced sauce.

My husband who is not a vegan had the Tom Yum soup with Shrimp and the steak with a spicy basil sauce. I tasted the broth from Tom Yum soup and it was perfectly balanced in its flavors with the fruity taste of lime and cilantro.

If you are ever in Ocean Springs, you should stop in to the White Lotus and give it a try.

Reversing Diabetes through the Vegan Diet

Well, my A1c is up again and I am checking my glucose levels on a schedule to see where it is going. I have been to a dietician who has given me a pamphlet on the ADA diet and lowered my calories to a 1000 a day. With no meat, dairy or eggs I should not have to deprive myself on minimal calories to lose the 10-15 pounds on my frame that may be causing the rise in A1c. I am getting a second opinion from an internal medicine doctor on Monday as this same diagnosis from my current doctor turned out to be a misdiagnosis last year. I think Dr. Barnard has the right idea and the test analysis to back up his claims.

It is really getting modern medicine to look more into holistic methods of curing disease rather than the constant reliance on the pharmecuetical companies for the answers.
I can tell you that even with the challenge of finding food outside of my house at restaurants, I would not change my eating habits now. I feel healthier and I have more energy. Something to ponder anyway.

I will get back to writing more in my blog in the coming days as I have taken a little break from writing lately. I will be also adding some new recipes along the way as I am discovering new ways to put these vegan meals together that are wonderful to the taste buds.

Vegan Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Vegan King Prawns

This recipe has been adapted from Cooking Light March 2008.

I love this soup and it is exceptional with the King Prawns.

Here is the recipe:

1 onion, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 c. sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon green curry paste

3 1/2 cups no chicken stock

1 can coconut creme

1/2 pound vegan King prawns

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil

2 tablespoons lime juice

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add coconut creme and cook 2 more minutes. Add green onions, basil, and lime juice.

In another saucepan, steam the king crab with old bay seasoning sprinkled over the top for 7 minutes.

Serve over rice with 3 of the king prawns and 1 cup of soup over all.

There is a lot of this leftover and it just gets better with age.

Enjoy!

Vrazel’s has two vegetarian entrees!

Tuesday night was a late evening for us, so when I finished with my meeting, my husband drove us to Vrazel’s restaurant in Gulfport. The atmosphere is white tablecloth, which means excellent service. Our waitress Shannon did an excellent job attending to our needs. Vrazel’s is a pretty much a landmark restaurant on the Gulf Coast. They mainly specialize in Steaks, seafood and chicken entrees. I had to go to the “From the Garden” section to find something that would be suitable. I had their garden vegetable linguine. It was wonderful, with the exception of the hard ends of asparagus that should not have been served on the plate. The broccoli and sun-dried tomatos enhanced the dish. Their bread was awesome. It was a beautifully done french loaf with a nice crusty exterior and feathery light interior. I probably ate too much of the bread before dinner, because I was really full when dinner came to the table.

I will be perusing some restaurants in the area to see where we can eat. I will try to start a listing with their menu items and make a guide to fellow vegans in the area.

Breakfast Couscous, Yum!

This morning I made a variation on Giada De Laurentis’s version of sweet couscous. It was wonderful. The greek couscous has a better texture than the small grainy couscous I can find locally. My husband special ordered it about 6 months ago and just have not had a need to use it.

Here is the recipe:

2 1/2 cups water

2 cups greek couscous

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup dried pineapple, diced

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

lemon zest from one lemon

juice from one lemon

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water and dried fruit to a boil. Add the couscous and cover. Turn the heat down to simmer, while the couscous absorbs the liquid. Once the liquid is absorbed in about 10 minutes, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and macadamia nuts. Fluff with a fork and serve.

It is the best breakfast treat ever.

Experiment with the recipe and see what you can come up with as a variation.

“Going Vegan, Southern Style”

My New Years resolution this year is to go vegan. This blog will contain recipes adapted from traditional southern cuisine as well some Asian fusion and tropical flavors. I am going from a full on meat laden diet to a vegan diet.  The one advantage that I have in my arsenal is that 15 years ago I went vegetarian for a year. This was back when the options were very limited and everything was not available in the supermarkets. After looking around my local supermarkets, I am seeing the same scenario playing out in my current location.

I just made a trip to LA hoping to taste some fantastic local vegan delights but found the availability there just as limited. I think if I had more than three days, I might have found many local venues for vegan foods.  I have been in the vegan transition now for 17 days. Not only has my palate become more accustomed to eating foods that contain more fiber and nutrients, but my heartburn has all but gone away. I am drinking more water and have completely cut out the coffee in the morning substituting green or black tea for morning eye opener.

I am still struggling with finding proper substitutes for the dairy and egg products I am accustomed to using in my cooking. I will be doing much research to finding substitutes  that I can prepare in my home rather than purchasing the already made product in the stores. This area does not embrace eating healthy and is full of fried selections and overcooked greens. So the challenges will be many as I make my transition. Many do not understand the term vegetarian, let alone vegan, but that has never been an issue for me  to overcome.

Please join me on my journey in food exploration as completely remove the meat and dairy from diet. It has already made a major difference for me and as your palate becomes cleaner, the flavors of the food becomes more intense and lovely.