Monday, April 30, 2012

Imagine Vegan Cafe's 1st Birthday!

If there's one thing that all vegans have in common, it's that we LOVE to eat. Thankfully, for most of us who don't live in vegan meccas like Portland or New York, our dining out options are somewhat limited. In other words, when we go to the all-you-can-eat buffet, well, it's probably a good thing there's only a few dishes we can eat. But last night, I experienced what non-vegan food addicts must feel every day — food coma!!!!!!!!

Imagine Vegan Cafe hosted an all-you-can-eat vegan appetizer and dessert buffet for their one-year anniversary celebration, and um, well, I literally ate all I could eat without vomiting. I left that place so full that I had to go home and lay down for an hour without moving. I was still stuffed when I woke up this morning. Here's why:  

Vegan Tater Skins with Daiya!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vegan cheese pizza (I had two slices: One cheese and one sausage & peppers)

Gardein Crispy Tenders & Buffalo Wings

Imagine's best-ever homemade vegan ranch & crudites

Pigs in Blankets

Spinach Dip

Fried Eggplant with Marinara

Here's Imagine co-owner Kristie and her new baby Madalynn, taking a break from stocking the buffet to actually enjoy her own party:

And here's her husband/co-restaurant owner Adam, looking wide-eyed as he noticed how very packed the place was. Every seat was full, and people were having to stand to eat! I'm so impressed that a vegan cafe can draw such a crowd in Memphis:

After I let my first three plates settle a bit, I hit the dessert table. This adorable cake was just for looks:

But these mini Pumpkin Cream Cheeze Cupcakes weren't!

I also tried a cute little Raspberry Tart:

And if that wasn't enough, I couldn't resist a slice of the Triple Chocolate Birthday Cake:

Every bite hurt at that point, but I was no longer eating for satisfaction. Rather, I was eating because I could. As you can see from how stoned I look in this picture, food coma had already set in:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

Every year around this time (April 21st-29th this year), vegans the world over hold bake sales to raise money for the charity or nonprofit organization of their choice. Since the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale phenomenon began a couple years back, I've been wanting our Memphis veg group, Food Awareness, to participate. But I was just lazy every year and let the bake sale dates pass me by without organizing one.

But this year, we changed all of that! Food Awareness held its first vegan bake sale on South Main during the monthly Art Trolley Tour, when hundreds of people crowd the downtown arts district for gallery receptions (with free wine!). That means lots of foot traffic, which is perfect for a bake sale.

Dawn Vinson helps set up our bake sale table. We eventually had to an extra table because we had so much stuff!

We decided to raise money for the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County because they do awesome work to help local injured, abused, or abandoned pups and kitties. After the four-hour bake sale, we raised $700 for the Humane Society!!

I put a call out to my baking friends on Facebook, and you wouldn't believe the response of people willing to help with this! We had some bakers who weren't even vegan but whipped up amazing vegan goods! I wish I could share pictures of everything, but if I did, this post would be ridiculously long. So I'll just share the items that photographed the best. Some were packaged in such a way that the pics didn't turn out clearly, so I'll just name those off sans photo.

I made three items — the Peanut Butter Blondies and Cowboy Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (neither pictured) and the Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats with Chocolate Chips from The Kind Diet:

Karina Khan, who bakes all of the cakes for Imagine Vegan Cafe and Nashville's Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant, donated a dozen big cupcakes, a few cream cheeze brownies, and about 100 mini cupcakes in several flavors!

Dawn Vinson of the Downtown Memphis Commission made Devil's Food Cupcakes:

And Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies with adorable Hello Kitty and Powerpuff Girl stickers. You can also see my Memphis Flyer co-worker Hannah Sayle's Peanut Butter Cups in the background:

Amy Schiller and her family brought these awesome Orange Cupcakes:

And a selection of adorably wrapped Earl Gray Shortbread, Peanut Butter Blondies, and Mexican Spiced Snickerdoodles:

Stephanie (Poopie Bitch) made Peanut Butter Oatmeal No-Bakes (not pictured) and Double Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes, which she wrapped individually in plastic cups and cellophane. People seemed to love the portability of these:

Vivian made melt-in-your-mouth Root Beer Cupcakes:

From the Southern Table bloggers Angela and Paul Knipple, who recently put out The World in a Skillet cookbook, brought some super-spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies made with chipotle, cayenne, and a sea salt topping (not pictured) and Pumpkin Molasses Cookies:

There were also Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies by Shay Kearney, Peanut Butter Cornflake Balls by Katie Pemberton, and Snickerdoodles by Mike McKinney.

Lots of non-vegans stopped by our booth, gasping in amazement at how normal vegan desserts were! Some buyers were vegans and were thankful to find lots of egg-free, dairy-free treats for sale for a good cause. And others, like this guy Vaughan (plant costume guy) and I are talking to, were just looking for tips on cutting back on meat:

At the end of the night, we had made some new friends, sold about a three-fourths of our goodies, and raised a ton of money! Yea for vegan bake sales!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tortilla Soup + Grilled Cheese

Last night, I reviewed 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou. This book is loaded with delicious vegan recipes that might actually be among the best ideas I've seen in awhile. When I saw the recipe for this Sopa de Lima, I knew I had to try it:

It's a vegetable soup loaded with zucchini, red peppers, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, jalapenos, and lime juice. And that's topped with cilantro, tortilla strips, and avocados. Can you ever go wrong with that combo? No, no, you can't.

And any vegetable soup calls for a grilled cheese on the side, right? Luckily, I had a new package of Daiya Wedges in Cheddar Style. So I sliced it up, stuck it between some Food for Life Ezekial bread slathered with Earth Balance Coconut Spread, and toasted it in my panini press. Check out that gooey meltiness!

Sorry for the short post, but my vegetarian group — Food Awareness — is holding a bake sale for the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale tomorrow, and I still have lots to do before I can slumber. Miles to go before I sleep, guys. If you're in Memphis, stop by on Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. at 520 S. Main during the South Main Art Trolley Tour. We're offering a slew of delicious vegan baked goods (cupcakes, cookies, brownies, blondies, macaroons, you name it) in exchange for donations to the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Best

Last week, I reviewed 150 Best Vegan Muffins, which was chock full of sweet and savory muffins free of eggs and dairy. Only a few days after that review copy arrived, another similar book from the same publisher (Robert Rose) arrived — 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou.

These books appear to be part of a larger series of "Best" books, some of which are vegan and some of which are not. The Robert Rose website lists books of best biscuits, best Asian noodle recipes, best grilling recipes, etc. So I honestly didn't expect much from either of these books before they arrived. I thought recipes in the few vegan books in a non-vegan series might be generic or super-simple and overly healthy. But the muffin book did not disappoint, and neither did Roussou's collection of "best" vegan recipes.

In fact, these may actually some of the best vegan recipes! With some cookbooks, I'll flip through and every third or fifth recipe might sound good. But I want to make everything in this book! It's filled with comfort food, and most of the recipes are fairly unique, which is getting harder and harder to achieve in the flooded vegan cookbook market.

It took me awhile, but I finally settled on Crispy Buckwheat Tempehbacon Waffles, only made as pancakes because my wafflemaker is a piece of crap:

These pancakes actually have homemade tempeh bacon in them! You make tempeh bacon bits by marinating crumbled tempeh in a smoky marinade and then you bake them. And then those bits are tossed into the buckwheat batter. Since I typically eat my pancakes or waffles with tempeh bacon on the side, this was the perfect marriage of breakfast foods. The pancake is slightly sweet, thanks to a wee bit of sugar in the batter, but when you smother them in maple syrup, the salty sweetness is mind-blowing.

My to-make wish list from this book goes on and on: Almond Bear Claw Muffins, Malibu Tofu Scramble (it has zucchini, potatoes, avocado, and sour cream!), French Herbed Strata, Rosemary Olive Bread, County Fair Corn Chip Pie, Rustic Beer-Braised Seitan and Portabellas with Macaroni, Northwest Passage Cedar-Planked Tofu, Roasted Beet Tacos with Marinated Shredded Kale, Margarita Icebox Cake. Yea, I could go all night. But you get the idea.

Oh, and there are cocktail recipes too, including one for vegan Irish cream. Irish coffee, here I come!

I made another dish from this book last night, but I'll save it for tomorrow night's post. Until then, check out this book. They ain't lyin' when they claim "best."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back to 1965 (and 1950)

As I've mentioned a few times over the past few months, I'm currently starting work on developing recipes for my second cookbook. My first book, Cookin' Crunk, will be out soon (this summer!), but there's no time like the present to get started on the next, right? Especially since the theme focuses on food from the past.

I'm veganizing retro recipes by the decade, and last night, I focused on 1965 with two vegetable sides veganized from the Better Homes & Gardens Vegetable Cookbook and a main course that I found on a website dedicated to recipes of the 1950s.

I veganized a recipe for Pan-fried Cabbage that called for four slices of bacon. Instead, I used bacon bits in this caramelized cabbage dish. The result was smoky and delicious:

And I also veganized Beets in Sour Cream. Look at that awesome pink color!

The recipe basically called for heating cooked beets in a mixture of dairy sour cream, scallions, and spices. It sounded intriguing and very retro, so I used Tofutti Sour Cream to make this. Weird as it may sound, this was a delicious method for cooking beets. Very unlike anything I've had before.

That main course was Oven-Baked Cornflake Chicken, so I made Oven-Baked Cornflake Tofu instead:

It's still a work in progress, however. The taste is spot-on since I used my standard tofu chicken marinade, but I need to find a better method for getting the cornflakes to stick. Since they're heavy, my usual dip-tofu-in-soymilk-thickened-with-vinegar method didn't work. So I got all crazy and tried thickening soymilk with cornstarch over low heat until it made a gravy. Then I brushed the gravy on and pressed in the cornflake mix.

The cornflakes stuck beautifully! But the gravy layer got a little chewy in the oven. I'm open to suggestions if anyone knows a great way to make a heavy breading stick to tofu.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Paul's 32nd Birthday Dip Party!

I'm a sucker for a theme. When I throw house parties, I usually encourage my guests to dress in  crazy costumes, usually something dead: zombies, dead bougy Victorians, etc. But for Paul's 32nd birthday, we went with a more abstract theme: Last Birthday Ever! You know, since the world is ending later this year and all.

We couldn't really think of costumes for that, but I knew one thing. If the world is ending, I wanna stuff my face with chips and dips before it's all said and done. So we had a dip party!! I made Paul's favorite Black Bean Habanero Dip and purchased some salsa (to save time):

This is just two cans of black beans (drained and rinsed) processed with a generous scoop of minced garlic, about 1/4 cup of salsa, and three habanero peppers. It sounds spicy, but it wasn't really hot at all ... at least not for our tastes. Paul had to add extra habaneros to his portion for desired spiciness.

I also made the Warm Chili Con Queso from 500 Vegan Recipes:

It looks a little like brains here, but I swear it's delicious. It's a TVP-based chili with pinto beans, vegan sour cream, nooch, and soymilk for creaminess.

Of course, you don't have to have chips for dips. Paul also loves to dip things in peanut satay sauce, so I made the Ginger Tofu Satay with Simple Thai Peanut Sauce from 500 Vegan Recipes:

The tofu got stuck to my indoor grill, so it wasn't super pretty. But again, looks can be deceiving. The marinated 'fu was awesome dipped in the peanut sauce. If I make this again though, I'm adding less scallions to the sauce. It was a tad to onion-y for some guests (but I didn't mind the onions).

My friend Shay teaches cooking classes at Viking Culinary School, and it just so happened that her class made a Black Bean Mango Salsa on Saturday. So she brought a cup of that to share. It was light and refreshing (and there were avocados in it!):

And my friend Mike brought some more of his bomb-ass Daiya Cheddar Queso. He made this for a potluck last weekend, and everyone loved it so much that he brought more. He simply melts Daiya shreds with a little almond milk and Ro-Tel, and it's divine!!

For his birthday cake, Paul requested a Chocolate Cake with Birthday Cake Oreo Frosting:

Since Oreo released it's limited-edition Birthday Cake Oreos, we've been eating the heck out of them. I wish they weren't only available for a limited time. :-(

Anyway, for the cake, I used this recipe from VegWeb that I found on Yeah, That Vegan Shit. This may have been the most moist chocolate cake I've ever made. It was so amazing topped with buttercream laced with smashed Birthday Cake Oreos.

Surviving a Steakhouse

My partner Paul eats meat. But I rarely ever have to look at it in its raw, original form since he tends to live off processed canned soups and frozen pizzas. And when we dine out, we always go somewhere very vegan-friendly because I get what I want. :-P

But Thursday was Paul's 32nd birthday, and I told him we could eat wherever he wanted. Of course, he picked Folk's Folly, a fancy steakhouse. Some vegans won't step foot into a steakhouse, but I've grown up around meat-eaters, so watching other people eat meat doesn't bother me too much. However, my hesitance about the steakhouse had much more to do with my concern about finding something vegan to eat.

Most every steakhouse serves fries and salad, and while vegans roll their eyes at those lackluster options, I have to admit that sometimes I really enjoy the old fries-and-salad combo. But not this time. If Paul was going to order a $40 steak, I was gonna get a good damn meal too. I checked out the menu for Folk's Folly online and saw a few options on the a la carte vegetable side menu. I could have made a meal from sides of steamed broccoli and grilled asparagus, but that didn't sound very filling.

So I emailed Folk's Folly to inquire about vegan options, secretly hoping the responder would tell me that the chef would love to prepare me a special off-the-menu vegan meal. And that's exactly what happened! I was told the chef makes either pasta dishes or grilled veggie plates for vegans.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I informed my server that I'd been told I could have a special vegan plate. He asked a few questions about what I like and don't like and said the chef would whip something up. Here's what was delivered to my table — Angel Hair Pasta with Vegetables, Olive Oil, and Fresh Basil with slices of olive oil-coated baguette:

This was really, really good! I loved the variety of veggies — broccoli, red pepper, squash, mushrooms, and asparagus. And the olive oil sauce was light and delicious.

So the moral to this story is always call or email ahead before dining at a not-so-vegan friendly restaurant. If it's a nice place, they'll probably be more than willing to give you something off the menu. And then all your omni friends will be jealous because they have to order from the menu and you get special treatment.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vegan Nacho Tortilla Chips!!!!

The vegan answer to Nacho Cheese Doritos is finally here! And it hit me totally out of left field. You see, I've been whining about how someone should veganize nacho cheese and/or ranch Doritos for years. Don't get me wrong, I love me some vegan Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, but my inner child longs for that nacho taste.

Well, I knew the Beanfield's company was mailing me some samples of their bean & rice chips to review. They emailed me about trying their new flavor, and I said, "well, hell yes!" This girl never turns down free chips. But apparently, I didn't read the email closely because I somehow missed the word "nacho."

When my box arrived, I saw Beanfield's Bean & Rice Chips in Pico de Gallo, Sea Salt, and Nacho:

I thought, "Damn, they must not know I'm vegan. They sent me chips with cheese in 'em." And just as I was about to pawn them off on a cheese-eater in my office, I spotted the word "vegan" on the top of the bag. I might have squealed aloud in my cubicle. And then I might have run over to a vegetarian co-worker's desk and screamed "Vegan Doritos!!!!!!!!!!" as I burst the bag open and excitedly dumped them over my head. Okay, it didn't really do down like that, but wouldn't it be awesome if I made it rain Doritos?

Since they sent me several bags of the Nacho (thank you, Beanfield's!!!!!), I gave that co-worker — Hannah — her own bag and then we tore into them. The verdict? These taste so much like Doritos! But they're even more complex. Since the chips are made with beans and rice, they have a lovely flavor that Doritos just can't stand up to with its MSG and artificial flavors. So dare I say, they're actually better.

Plus, they're practically health food! Each one-ounce serving has four grams of fiber. That's the same amount of fiber in a 1/2 cup serving of raisin bran. And each serving also has four grams of protein. They're also non-GMO verified, corn-free, and gluten-free. They were named "Best of Show" by VegNews at the 2012 Natural Products Expo West, so you know they gotta be good.

In case you're wondering about the other flavors, I tried those too. And they're also delicious. The Pico de Gallo flavor actually tastes like the chip was dipped in pico. So no need for dip! And the Sea Salt flavor is scrumptious on it's own, but it would also be lovely with a big ole bowl of guacamole. But of course, the Nacho has my heart.

Thank you, Beanfield's. Now, if y'all decide to create a ranch tortilla chip, please call me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vegg Frittata

Since my dad put two more bags of Vegg powder egg substitute in my Easter basket, I've been looking for more fun ways to use it. I've already tried Vegg in scrambled tofu and french toast. Both were amazing! This stuff totally tastes, smells, and boasts the texture of real eggs.

I checked out the Vegg website for more recipe ideas and settled on the Vegg Frittata with Spinach & Sun-dried Tomatoes:

The recipe calls for two cups of rice, which I thought sounded a little strange. I've never had a frittata with rice before. But I made it anyway ...

... and it was strangely delicious! Definitely unlike any other frittata I've had, but the cup of Vegg yolk in the recipe does make it taste like eggs. The sun-dried tomatoes are a really nice touch too. I've been eating a slice of this for breakfast every day this week alongside a slice of toast with blueberry butter and orange juice.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Muffin Magic

I love muffins. They're like little healthy-ish cupcakes with no frosting. When I eat muffins, I feel like I'm getting a treat. But I'm really getting good-for-me stuff, like carob, wheat bran, and dried fruit. Of course, I'm also getting sugar. But way, way less than what I'd be eating in a cupcake. Not to mention the lack of all that fat from frosting.

I was sent a copy of 150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury to review, and I had a really hard time choosing between the breakfast muffins, fancy coffeehouse muffins, savory muffins, and globally-inspired muffins. Everything looked so yummy! And the center spread of photos had me drooling. But I finally settled on two recipes, one sweet and one savory.

Last week, I made the Trail Mix Muffins to eat for breakfast:

I've always been a fan of chunky stuff, and these little guys were chock full of awesomeness. There's carob chips, dried cranberries, granola, and lightly salted sunflower seeds (for that awesome sweet 'n' salty trail mix taste). Plus, they're made with whole wheat flour and bran for added healthfulness. I heated them in the microwave each morning, and the carob got all melty and delicious.

This week, I made the Fresh Broccoli Muffins to go with my Farmer's Breakfast from yesterday:

Although the name only implies broccoli, these should really be called broccoli-cheese muffins because the cup of vegan cheddar is what really makes these muffins. Nothing goes better with broccoli than Daiya, and these muffins are living (okay, inanimate) proof.

With 150 recipes, this book is filled all sorts of unique ideas for what to pour into a muffin tin. There's plenty of sweet varieties, like Mango Muffins with Cardamom Crumble, French Toast Muffins, Caramel Apple Muffins, Dried Cherry Corn Muffins, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Muffins. But I'm most intrigued by the savory options, like Sweet Potato Sage Muffins, Bell Pepper Basil Muffins, and Ancho Chili and Cherry Tomato Muffins.

My one qualm about the book is kind of a silly vegan police thing. I'm never one to point out things that aren't vegan when vegans are eating them because I hate it when people do that to me. But this is a cookbook. And there's a recipe that calls for a non-vegan ingredient — Guinness beer.

Guinness is one of the few mainstream beers made with isinglass (a by-product of the fishing industry) as a fining agent. And it's non-veganness is common vegan knowledge, so I'm not sure how the author overlooked that. Any other vegan stout could easily be substituted, but perhaps, the recipe should be called Stout Muffins instead.

(UPDATE: According to some of my commenters, the U.S. version of Guinness Extra Stout is vegan. I'd heard "Guinness North American Stout" was vegan before, and I'm guessing "Guinness Extra Stout" was what they meant. That's good news! Looks like I might be making some Guinness Extra Stout muffins...)

Other than that, the book is great! Both muffin recipes that I made were perfectly moist and hearty.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vintage German Breakfast

So I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'm slowly, but surely developing recipes for my next cookbook project: a collection of veganized retro recipes from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. I'm going through old cookbooks and pouring over websites dedicated to preserving the non-vegan versions of those old recipes. And then I'm putting my vegan spin on them.

I came across a few recipes for Bauerfruhstuck online, a popular German "farmer's breakfast" from the 1950s. It probably has origins before the 1950s, but it appears to have been quite popular mid-century. It's basically a hearty omelet made with potatoes and ham or bacon. You saute the potatoes and meat and pour the scrambled egg over the top and let it cook without stirring.

So I made a yummy vegan version with tofu, fried potatoes, and sliced homemade vegan sausages. Here's my German Farmers Breakfast before cutting into four servings:

Over on Retro Housewife, a fun website dedicated to old-school recipes, I found a bauerfruhstuck recipe that included a side dish of tomatensalat (or tomato salad). A simple salad of fresh tomatoes, scallions, oil, lemon juice, and agave sounded like the perfect complement for this hearty meal:

Confession: I actually had my Farmer's Breakfast for dinner, or I guess, brinner. My mom used to cook breakfast for dinner on occasion, and even though I love hearty meals in the morning, they're even better at night.

I'm open to suggestions for retro recipes to veganize. In fact, I've been taking notes on the things the characters eat on Mad Men! Any other suggestions?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Power Snack

I wish I was an early morning workout person, but I'm not. Getting out of bed a moment before it's necessary is something I can't even fathom. So I hit the gym or the running trail after work. The long break between lunch and my post-workout dinner means I must have a pre-workout snack. But my snack has to be light and fairly healthy, so I don't get a tummy-ache during my run or boxing class.

I usually opt for a smoothie, whole grain crackers and hummus, or an energy bar. When Nativas Naturals offered me some free samples of their new Power Snack bites, I knew exactly what I'd be using those for. These all-natural, raw energy snacks come in three flavors: Cacao Goji, Citrus Chia, and Blueberry Hemp. They sent me the Blueberry Hemp Power Snacks, and seeing as how I love hempseeds and blueberries, I was more than happy to try them out:

These are made with date paste, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, dried blueberries, sesame seeds, hemp powder, maca powder, lucuma powder, maqui powder, natural blueberry flavor, and camu camu powder.

I popped four bite-sized power snacks before my afternoon run. Four bites stacked end to end was about equal to the size of a Larabar, one of my favorite pre-workout snacks. These bites staved off my appetite until after my workout, and they tasted awesome! I did pick a few chia seeds out of my teeth later that night, but it was worth it.

All three flavors of Power Snacks are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, omega-3's, and antioxidants. Plus, they're non-GMO and a free of artificial colors and flavors. Total win-win!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lean On Me

Actually, don't lean on me. I have personal space issues. Lean on Kathy Freston instead. The Quantum Wellness and Veganist author has a new book out, and it's all about getting lean from a vegan diet.

I was sent a copy for review, and even though I'm not trying to lose weight, I figure it can't hurt to try and re-adopt some healthy eating principles that I've lost along the way. Freston's new book, The Lean, is billed as "A Revolutionary and Simple 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss." So like other 30 day vegan guides, each of the 30 chapters is intended to read be over the course of a month.

It's written for people who aren't already vegan, so there are chapters on trading dairy products for plant-based versions and changing up your cheese. But there are also chapters we could all use, vegan already or not. The first chapter is called "Drink Water. Lots of Water" (always good advice), and day 7 is all about taking in your daily flax for omega-3's (an area I've been slacking in lately because I've been too lazy to clean the coffee out of my grinder to grind my flax seed).

With each chapter, you add a new daily step. I've decided to read each chapter by the day, so I may post again later in the month. But so far, I've read six day's worth, which means I'm drinking lots of water (Day 1), having a hearty breakfast (Day 2), eating an apple a day or other fibrous fruit (Day 3), saying no to my poison (Day 4), eating nuts daily (Day 5), and drinking my plant milk (Day 6).

(UPDATE: A few commenters have asked about the "say no to your poison" thing. It just means giving up the unhealthy food habit you struggle with the most. For me, it's late-night weekend munchies, but for others, it could be sugar or soda or chips.)

There's also plenty of delicious, wholesome recipes in the back of the book. I'll make a few over the course of the month, but I started with this Channa Dal:

I'd actually never cooked with whole cumin seeds before, and I'm not sure why. They lent an amazing flavor to this dish, which could have easily passed for something purchased from an Indian restaurant. It is that good! I served my Channa Dal with Slow-Cooked Swiss Chard and some homemade Garlic-Onion Naan that was lurking in my freezer.

Since I finished my Crazy Sexy Diet cleanse in January, I've been slacking on maintaining my health goals. Hopefully, The Lean will help get me back on track. There are a number of excellent XX-day vegan guides out there (Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's 30-Day Vegan Challenge, Sarah Taylor's Go Vegan In 30 Days, and 21-Day PCRM Vegan Kickstart), but this one is tailored specifically to those looking to shed a few pounds. The next time your omni BFF bitches about feeling fat, hand her this book.