Shout outs

October 15,2010
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

I just love stumbling across a new recipe website and spending too much time gobbling up--with my eyes--the recipes, photos and the writing. There are lots and lots and lots of recipe websites and blogs out there but they don't all click with me to the extent that I feel drawn to them for days, reading recipes hungrily, and mentally preparing meal plans and grocery lists. These past few weeks I've been having a lot of fun in the kitchen (and outside of it, too) exploring making the switch from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. A friend recently told me that a vegan is a "grown-up" vegetarian and, while I'm not 100% sure what that means, and I'm pretty sure I'm not all grown-up yet, I have been enjoying reading about a vegan diet, soaking up up tidbits of trivia like this and snooping around websites to find family-friendly recipe options. Really, going from a vegetarian to a vegan diet is not that big a leap. I almost never eat eggs, although I devoured them during both my pregnancies. And, since egg is mainly used as a binding and/or leavening agent in most recipes, you can easily replace the egg with cornstarch, potato flour, flax seed, soy yogurt, silken tofu, and even bananas. Giving up cheese--especially my beloved feta and goat cheeses--has been tough on me, and I may still cave to the craving yet, but for now I'm okay, and indulging my need for the creamy, tangy texture of cheese with cheese substitutes on crackers. I've also spent a great deal of time caught up in the Great Vegan Cheese debate, and you can read reviews on all vegan cheese replacements here and here--some of it's crazy stuff, though--be warned! People can be pretty passionate about cheese... Years ago I remember searching the internet for some vegan recipe sites and many produced the same results: plain, humdrum, insanely lengthy and unappetizing recipes that seemed to scream out that a vegan diet is just that: plain, humdrum, and unappetizing. But now! Now there are plenty of sites out there with beautiful photos, and mouthwatering recipes, and lots of family-friendly tips on making the switch. Here are a few of my favorites: The Green Mommy Blog: Not so many recipes here but the author, a new parent and raw food chef, writes about all things green and mommy-related, and shares lots of links to eco-friendly parenting resources. Her other blog has lots of yummy and healthy recipes, including this one, for a romaine leaf and banana salad. The Post Punk Kitchen: I love this site. You have to really have some time at your disposal to delve into all the resources and recipes, and you might find yourself clicking for hours, your mouth watering over recipes like this one, or this one, for pumpkin French toast. I've been a long-time fan of this site, but stopped reading for awhile because I was too heartsick about L.'s severe food issues (and his non-eating at school) and seeing those photos of all those gorgeous bento boxes filled with scrumptious and healthy food combinations just made me even more sad. But now that T. as started school I'm enjoying going back through her site for healthy and fun vegan/vegetarian lunchbox recipes. I love reading recipe blogs from around the world, and this site, put together by a vegan family in Northern Scotland, is filled with all sorts of intrguing recipes, especially some good fall and winter ones that I can't wait to try out. But my all-time favorite newly discovered food website is this one, Vegan YumYum, created by 25-year old Bostonian, Lolo--who is NOT, in her words, a chef or a photographer--but she sure has me fooled. Not only are her recipes enticing and easy to prepare, but her food photography is stunning. it's well worth your time to browse through her recipe archives, if only to fill your eyes with a visual feast--until you can make the real thing, that is. Last night I cooked up this and not only was it utterly delicious but we ALL ate it--L. included. I'm sure I'll uncover some more links as my journey into exploring a vegan diet continues. If you know of some great recipe resources out there, send them my way! Until then, go bake some vegan pumpkin muffins...I did! Happy Weekend!