Vegan MoFo is here! It’s also World Vegan Day! Here’s a link to the complete list of over 500 participants!
This is my second time participating in Vegan MoFo, but this year I’m trying to plan a bit more and also think of interesting food-related projects to write about. I’ve had a few requests for specific meals from my boyfriend (one of which I’m making tonight and will post later), but I’ve also set myself a few goals for this year’s MoFo.
One of these is to try to bring more lunches to work instead of buying. This is beneficial in several ways- it’s more cost-effective, it’s healthier, and it’s more environmentally friendly (I sometimes get food from trucks that use styrofoam containers which I feel bad about). It takes 21-30 days to form a new habit, so I’m going to use this month to try to get into the habit of bringing lunch. Here’s today’s lunch, leftover Halloween chili topped with pickled red onions and pickled jalapenos:
We nearly always had chili on Halloween growing up, and I’ve continued that tradition as an adult. Nothing goes better with a chilly October night than a hot bowl of spicy chili. This batch contains dried guajillo, arbol, and chipotle peppers, garlic, shallots, onions, jalapeno peppers, green and red bell peppers, chile powder, vegetable broth, TVP, black beans, kidney beans, and crushed tomatoes from my parents’ garden.
**I should note that if you’re hoping to find recipes in my MoFo postings you’re likely to be disappointed. Sorry! What I’m going for here is inspiration and ideas rather than specific how-tos. Half the time I just wing it, like with this chili. I rarely measure anything when I cook stuff like this. If I use recipes that are online I’ll post links, but I very often use recipes as a starting point and improvise and change things. If I use recipes from cookbooks, I think it’s kind of a crappy thing to do to post a recipe from someone else’s cookbook online. But speaking of cookbooks, that brings me to my second MoFo project:
Use those cookbooks! I have a small cookbook addiction, even though I very rarely actually use them to cook from. Unless I’m making something super fancy and complicated, I generally find it easier to just put meals together on my own. But some of these books have never actually been used, which is just sad! So, I’m planning on choosing at least one recipe that I haven’t made before from each book and trying it out. This will hopefully infuse some new ideas into my usual repertoire.
Make a miniature indoor hydroponic garden! In September we went to the Maker Faire in New York, and saw this cool project- Windowfarms- “vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens.” Here’s a photo of the sample one they had at Maker Faire:
Ours is going to be a lot smaller to start with, just three bottles. And we’re going to use an existing metal plant shelf as a support. I’ll post our progress as we go along! I just ordered some of the materials today, including a CFL grow light, some sort of ceramic pellets for the plants to grow in, and a liquid plant nutrient. I was happy to find nutrient that is definitely vegan, since some of them have blood and bones in them! Ick! Obviously since I can’t grow all my own food, I don’t worry about the fact that the farms my food comes from may use these things. But if I’m going to grow my own food plants I definitely don’t want to use blood and bones.
My last planned project is to Organize those Spices! If I have a mild cookbook addiction, I have a SERIOUS problem with spices. I’ll post a photo later Here is a photo of my existing storage “system,” which consists of two different plastic spinner things, a whole bunch of bottles on a pantry shelf, and a whole other bunch of bottles in a basket on top of my microwave.
I did a quick inventory, and there are over 60 different kinds of spices, salts, and herbs. That doesn’t include any sauces, chutneys, or dried peppers that may also be lurking in there. It’s all a bit of a mess- the spinner things make the spices dry out and clump together and the bottles are difficult to see and easy to knock over. I wouldn’t be surprised to find two or three more bottles at the bottom of the pantry. I’ve been looking for a better way to store all these things so they are accessible and so I don’t keep ending up with three jars of cinnamon after I think I don’t have any and go and buy more only to find the original jar later. Most available spice racks store at most 16, and some actually COME WITH SPICES IN THEM, which is the stupidest thing ever. But I think I’ve found a solution, and it involves magnets!
(Sorry, can’t resist!)