The Friday Feedback Forum

December 11th, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback

All suited up for our nighttime walk – I can’t be the only baby-wearing mama who rocks the double duty scarf action. Anyone else out there do this?

Oi oi there! It’s the weekend again and that means it’s time for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions. But we’ve got a lot to cover here. Oi!

1. The Great Bonzai Seed Exchange
Some of you may remember talk of an international seed-saving and seed exchanging endeavor. I had such grand plans . . . but alas, I have no seeds! None of my greens went to seed, none of my beets went to seed, and I ate my tomatoes without realizing there wouldn’t be any more coming to replace them. I do have some pumpkin seeds, but that’s it! Cue the sad trombone!

So I’m wondering where you guys are at. Did anyone save any seeds? I’m totally willing to facilitate an exchange if people are still interested. Let me know!

2. I Need Your Input!
I have a dear friend who is writing a cookbook – a vegan cookbook! It’s specifically targeted at new vegans, and since I know that a lot of Bonzai readers are contemplating, transitioning, or new to veganism, I thought I’d ask you guys – what would you like to see in a cookbook? What do you think is especially important for those just starting out? Any ideas are welcome!

3. Don’t Forget To Order Your 2011 Mini Mission Calendar For The New Year!
There are still a few Bonzai Aphrodite Wall Calendars left. A great way to support the site! Makes a great gift! Okay, that’s enough selling from me, yeesh.

4. Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice Is On Sale
Natalie of Thora Thinks emailed to let me know that our favorite veg-positive children’s book, Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice, is on sale! Yay! Why not pick this up for your favorite little person. It’s a great way to spread the message of compassion, and you’ll also support an independent artist. Win-Win!

And finally, Love List time! It’s one of my favorite parts of the week, our little lists of gratitude. Here’s mine =
1. Planning my new years resolutions and the feeling of hope and empowerment it brings.
2. My daily – usually twice daily – walks. Who needs yoga when you can powerwalk your way into endorphin bliss, muahaha. Feels so great!
3. Carbonated raspberries. Word.

K, now it’s your turn.

Have the most amazing weekend! Can you believe fall is almost over already!? Craaazy!

  • Meredith

    I think a great way to eat your veggies is by pickling/fermenting them (I’ve really enjoyed your posts about that!), maybe your friend can include some of that in her book? I’d buy it! Here’s the things I’m thankful for:
    1. Taking my final exam today and being done for the year!!!
    2. Winter hikes through the woods with a four year old and a snow-loving dog
    3. Finding chestnuts at Trader Joe’s and roasting them over….yup, an open fire!

  • Jeni

    Vegan book wish : how to substitute things for other things (which flours to use in case of gluten allergies, what can replace cow milk – almond/hemp/soy, how to make your own (just like how you showed us).

    My list of stars!
    1 – My baby monster discovering his “MMMMmm” sound – everything sounds like a version of mum now :D
    2 – Hemp milk in my tea!
    3 – Snow and lots of it!

  • K

    I’ve been wanting to say this for a while and I hope you realize the reason for it is because I enjoy reading the blog. It becomes unreadable when you say things like this: “We don’t always have the foresight to bake our own bread, (where you link to a page where you’ve baked your own bread) or the time to make our own soup stock (where you’ve linked to a page where you’ve made your own soup stock). I’ll admit it, I occasionally consume canned beans, or even *gasp horror* store-bought soup.”

    It would be 10x more enjoyable to read if you wrote a bit more humbly. This is just one example; I find them every so often and it obscures my enjoyment. I find myself looking to be annoyed which is a terrible way to go through something that you enjoy. My delivery might be off because I’m not great at putting words to emotional thought but I hope you understand what I’m saying. I don’t know if you necessarily think you’re better than all your readers, but it comes off that way.

  • windycityvegan

    First the love:

    1. My very best friend in the whole wide world is here visiting me for the weekend! We used to live five minutes from one another and really took it for granted – but with three moves and two and a half children (she’s 7 months pregnant) between us, we’re lucky if we see one another yearly anymore. Having her in my house (she’s reading to N as I type this) is the best feeling ever.

    2. Looking forward to making your raw pumpkin pie this weekend with my friend – we’ve been waiting to make this recipe together!

    3. A clothing swap at my yoga studio this afternoon.

    About seeds: I saved some heirloom watermelon seeds, but the rest of my saved seeds for heirloom peppers all got mixed together, and Nina fed my saved brassica seeds to the chickens!

    About your friend’s cookbook: I’ll e-mail my thoughts to you on this. I’ve recently tested for six different veg*n cookbooks (by 4 different authors), and am currently testing for two more – so I have a lot to say.

    @K: I know that BA readers have myriad perspectives, time constraints, resources at their disposal, etc, but Sayward is writing from her own perspective – which happens to be one I relate to very well. Being conscientious – and prepared – in the kitchen does not happen overnight. I have spent the past three years making a very concerted effort and am just now at a point where it is very rare that I don’t have beans pre-soaking, bread dough rising, or a freezer completely bursting with stock at any given moment. It has been frustrating at times, but it’s really all second nature at this point (and I never thought it would be so effortless, but it is!) I took Sayward’s “*gasp horror*” to be more tongue in cheek than anything else.

  • RK

    1. My husband coming home after being out of the country for two weeks.
    2. My kids playing so well together and telling me that they are best friends.
    3. Cleaning out the garage and donating it to a local charity.

    @K There is nothing not humble about the way that Sayward writes. She is very sarcastic which I find hilarious! If you are interrupting her sarcasm as lack of humility then you should find another blog to read. And also consider that in your posting about Saywards lack of showing humbleness that you, yourself assumed that what you had to say was so correct and so on point, that Sayward would read it and change her way of writing. The fact that you posted a critique about Sayward’s lack of humility and in the same breath are assuming that what you have to say is so important that you should share it with all of us, is a true testament in how to show that you think you’re better than everyone else. Maybe you should turn your finger around and then find another blog to read if you find it so annoying. There are PLENTY of us who LOVE this blog and are eager to open it up everyday to see what Miz Sayward has come up with next!

  • erosan

    @K: I don’t know, I enjoy all those backlinks to prev posts. I LOVE BA, but I have not had the time to go back and read every single article, and those links are awesome to discover (or rediscover) past posts. And to me they feel like the kind of segway you do on regular conversations: ‘Remember how the other day we talked about pickling cabbage? well if you do this or that… blah blah blah’. *shrug* to each his own, I guess. I like Saywards style of writing and find it enjoyable.

    @Sayward: tell your friend that I would absolutely love to see 1 thing. More vegan recipes that don’t care for omnivore’s food. I’ve always found amusing that people love to boast they are vegetarian, but they ‘crave’ meat enough to look for ways to recreate meat dishes, a’la fake turkey, or veggie hamburgers. Not that there is anything wrong with those dishes… but I that veganism has to find their voice, a cooking style that shows that they are not only trying to cook omnivore’s food with a twist, but that there are vegan dishes that stand on their own, so good that omnivores would crave to replicate them (probably without luck).

    Not sure that made sense, but if it did, please pass along the plead. I am not requesting this as an omnivore who loves his veggies, but as a foodie whose passion is to cook.

    Love list:

    1. Baby coming soon!
    2. Baby coming soon!
    3. Baby coming soon!

    (yeah, not much more on my head this week.)

  • Jacquelyn

    :) I would love to see vegan baked goods. I am an avid baker and have really enjoyed it while being vegetarian for the last 3 years, but now that we are vegan I’m overwhelmed with all the egg substitutes, when to use earth balance and when not to, etc. I want foolproof vegan cookies that I can make with ingredients I have on hand but it gets difficult when one recipe uses arrowroot or cornstarch and the next uses Ener-G ER. I just wanna use one, you know? I’m totally still enjoying baking as a vegan but I want some easy, go-to recipes :)

    I also agree with erosan ^^- more vegan recipes that are enjoyable in their own right, not because they mimic a meat and potatoes kind of dish. I don’t want to trick people into eating vegan, I want to show them that vegan is AWESOME on it’s own. Let’s put vegan cooking in the upper echelons of gourmet food. Amen.

  • Valerie

    Vegan Cookbook: first I want to say I wholeheartedly agree with Jeni, erosan, & Jacquelyn’s comments on the subject. My two cents: accessible ingredients! you know, stuff I can find @ the local supermarket (safeway, fred meyers, albertsons, etc.). Waiting to make a recipe till I can travel to downtown Seattle to whole foods, super-awesome-veg-friendly-store, whatever-you-have in your area is so annoying! Thanks for asking for suggestions!

  • zannie

    @vegan cookbook
    I am not vegan, but I can’t eat dairy and I avoid meat as much as I can, so I’m usually looking for vegan recipies. What I love about this situation is that it forced me to discover SO many new things I’ve never tried before! But what I’d really like to read is a short and to-the-point guide what should vegan eat to stay healthy. I mean, it took me a long, long time before I realised that I don’t really have to worry about fats now that i don’t eat meat – I actually should add this extra spoon of olive oil to the dressing. It was something I never thought about before. I was used to avoiding fats.
    Also, as Jeni already said, it would be great if there were some substitutes suggestions. Not everyone in the kitchen feels comfortable enough to try and substitute one thing with another. Some people follow recipies to the letter and doesn’t realize that it’s not always necessary.

  • Rachel

    Re cookbook: I would love to see some slow cooker recipes, or quick ‘n’ dirty recipes for the harried college student. I like Vegan with a Vengeance, but so many of the recipes take forEVER to prep and to cook!

  • Lenn

    Only seeds I saved this year are a few sunflower ones, but not many…It was my first time planting them and I didn’t know only one flower grew on each stalk. Yes, I do feel stupid. >.<

    1. My parents who have been especially awesome lately.
    2. My love (of course).
    3. Peanutbutter cookies. Now I'll go have one.

  • Sayward

    @ K – Wow, I’m sorry that you feel talked down to. Honestly I think this is a case of misunderstanding due to tone-not-coming-through-in-typing. For example in the passage that you quoted I was *definitely* being playful! The “*shock horror*” was totally tongue-in-cheek, in fact I was poking fun at the very perspective that you thought I was taking. Of course, I think we would all be healthier if we made everything from scratch, but I’m a realist above all else. I know that we’re all at different stages of this ‘greening’ game and I support everyone in the fact that we’re all here giving it a go! Lord knows I’m not perfect – not even close, ha! I’m always very careful NOT to hold myself above the Bonzai readers, for example by using terms like ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ in the passage you quoted.

    Anyway, I do have a pretty sarcastic style and I understand how it could be misinterpreted. I’m sorry you were offended and I will make an effort to be more clear in the future.

  • Joselle

    For the vegan cookbook, I’d like there to be no talk of the vegan diet being perfect in every way, particularly nutrition-wise. I think being vegan can be a very healthful choice in many ways but there are some pitfalls. You know this from some correspondance we’ve had but I never, ever, ever want to hear a vegan cookbook or book say, “It takes years to develop a b12 deficiency!” Uh, no, it doesn’t. And a multivitamin might not be enough. And yes, it is important because B12 is needed for every cell in the human body. Other supplements for micronutrients need to be discussed as well but this is the big one for me.

    I’d like there to be a direct link to and in any vegan book, too!

    And since this would be for new vegans, I’d advise anyone contemplating veganism to go to their primary healthcare provider and get lab results BEFORE going vegan that includes a basic chem panel (red blood cell counts, etc), serum B12, methylmalonic acid (MMA), homocysteine (H), cholesterol, and vitamin D. They should then get yearly blood work done to see if any deficiencies are developing. MMA and H might be expensive to do yearly but at least do it every few years and definitely if B12 levels drastically drop. Serum B12 is easy and cheap to check–can be done with the regualar yearly panel. Since many people go vegan while they are adolescents, the importance of going for regular healthcare visits should really be presented in an age-appropriate way. I hated going to the doctor when I was growing up. But it’s important.

    I’d also advise that anyone wanting to go vegan stay away from low-fat vegan diets. Many of the nutrients in plants need fat to for optimal absorption in the body. And since veganism in and of itself isn’t a ticket to weight loss (uh, I GAINED weight going veg), this is something to consider if you are vegan and also want to lost weight.

    Just my two cents as an almost 3-year long vegan!

    Love list:
    1. Yoga and lunch today with a new friend going through a hard time and trusted me enough to open up.
    2. A warm, lit-up home to come to in the cold winter.
    3. Planning all the Christmas gifts I’m going to make! Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and The Joy of Vegan Baking and limoncello and pomegranate vodka from The Urban Vegan and Nigella Christmas. So fun!

  • Heather (Perspective Is Everything)

    I think something to include in the cookbook would be:
    PANTRY ESSENTIALS. You could have lists of all the different kinds of oils,flours,”milks”, protein powders, and “unusual” items like nutritional yeast and flaxseed. Also, lists of ways vegan can acquire essential vitamins that most people get via meat and dairy.
    I’m all about the lists ;)

  • Colleen

    Hello… I found your blog via livejournal (vegancooking, I think) and I’ve been following it pretty closely ever since! I love it, and that’s saying a lot because blogs usually don’t hold my interest long (bread and honey is really the only other one I follow closely). You, your husband and your little one are beautiful! I am trying live in the same manner as you… close to the Earth. It can be tough at times, but the rewards are amazing! I grew up in Portland, but live in the Ozarks of Arkansas now (very different!) trying to homestead with my loved one. Thank you for all you have to offer!

    1. Homemade pizza
    2. Red wine
    3. Sharing both of these with my Mom and 93 year old Grandma.

  • Felicia

    I think its great that you have so many supporters that are willing to defend your blog! And to do it so nicely is even greater!

    Things I love:
    1.The whole Christmas season. Oh my goodness I am Christmas obsessed and sooo excited!
    2.Feeling my baby’s daily kicks and wiggles inside my biggering pregnant belly.
    3.Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. Enough said.

  • Meghan

    I reeeeaaaaalllly don’t like the suggestion that vegans need annual bloodwork. My diet/nutrient intake is significantly better than probably MOST omnis I know because I’m actually aware of nutrition.

    For some people it MUST take years to be B-12 deficient… at least for me! I’ve been SUPER spotty about taking multis and B-12 supplements (I’m trying now, but I’m sure I’ve gone yearlong stretches without ‘em) and I’ve been vegan since I was 13… which is 14 years, and my latest bloodwork shows fine B-12 levels! I am sure that isn’t true for everyone, but I also imagine that the majority of B-12 issues in vegans and non-vegans alike is probably more likely a problem of absorption rather than intake.

    Lest I be too much of a cranky-vegan… my love list!

    2. Vegan cupcakes! Made pumpkin chocolate chip for a party tonight!
    3. My new sneaky-back-way to school. It makes me feel like I don’t live in the vast sprawling DC/Baltimore metropolis!

    I fear I may be too far removed from new-veganitude to offer much as far as the cookbook goes, but I do agree with the suggestion about easy to get ingredients. I love my freaky-weird vegan crap, but it can be intimidating at first! I also agree with erosan about veggie dishes trying to be meat… but it really depends on the audience. Like, from what I hear, Skinny Bitch is full of fake meat, but a lot of people really like it, I guess. But whatever, it isn’t like you need a recipe to buy some boca burgers or notdogs, so if you want fake meat you can have that without a cookbook. :-)

  • Sara

    i think your blog is great! and i know when you are being sarcastic, or “smart” as my mother would put it. every time i read a post i’m inspired!

    Things I love:

    1) organic kale! (chip style)
    2) the first real snow of the year and puppies that have never been in the snow before!
    3) people that come to my pilates classes despite the cold!

    @ vegan cookbook- i think that it would be great if there was advice for people on a budget! I’m a student and pretty new to veganism. Your site is great for finding ways to be cheap : ) but a cookbook about it would be nice too. And good green smoothie recipes!!

  • Rea

    Love list:
    1. Motley Crue
    2. Guns ‘N Roses
    3. I’m getting married in 9 days.


  • zannie

    @Meghan: I actually think that _everyone_ should have annual bloodwork. There are so many things that can go wrong, no matter how healthy your diet is. Better safe than sorry, right?
    There’a an easy way to do it, too. I don’t know about US, but in Poland when you donate blood you get your whole bloodwork done for free. So it’s a win-win! You do something great AND get examination. Yay!;)

  • Sarah

    Seed exchange: I have some dried cayennes from my hugely prolific pepper plant that I could contribute if there was interest, but they’re easy enough to come by elsewhere. Otherwise, I don’t have much of a seed yield this year either!

    Vegan cookbook: I’d love to see some everyday basic meal plans that don’t involve hours of prep. A lot of my friends think becoming vegan requires the making of weekly seitan. Even just a basic plan like- beans, rice/etc., whatever that can be built on for a set of meals. Did I mention I wasn’t a foodie? Give me *simple* any day. :)

    Love list:
    1. Broken water pipes in the *yard* and not in the foundation. OMG.
    2. Not having to move in freezing weather with a 2yo and 2mo. (See #1)
    3. Spending hours playing on spreadsheets with various ways to make money with my many interests just to amuse myself.
    Bonus love: Running water!

    About humble writing: I actually took the post that K quoted as being pretty humble. It’s actually something I remember reading and thinking how it was nice that you weren’t one of *those* foodies. Like, hey look, I made bread and soup, but it’s not like I’ve never bought canned goods. Everyone interprets things differently, I guess! For me, I hardly ever do the cooking (hooray for my husband), so if I’m going to follow a foodie-leaning blog, I’d better pretty tolerant. :)

  • Sarah

    Oh, @erosan

    Early congratulations! I wish we could set up a meal delivery service for your babymoon days through BA. Too bad it’s not really cost effective or environmentally friendly to ship you some meals :P

  • Joselle

    Meghan, I have to respectfully disagree with some of your points. I certainly don’t think ONLY vegans should get annual bloodwork and mind their nutrition. Everyone should. But B12 isn’t reliably found in plant-based foods and I became deficient in B12 after only 8 months of practicing veganism (I have now been vegan close to 3 years). I do not think it was not a matter of malabsorption for me because I had high levels of B12 prior to going vegan. Since going vegan, I’ve always supplemented with a vegan multivitamin that had relatively high levels of B12–but not high enough for me.

    In older nonvegans, B12 deficiency is usually linked to malabsorption, specifically atrophic gastritis, which leads to, among other things, decreased stomach acid secretion and therefore, malabsorption of B12. All people over age 50 should definitely get their serum B12 levels checked, as serious B12 deficiencies are linked with a host of health problems that plague the elderly, including falls and dementia.

    I’ve spent the last year studying and taking courses in chemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology and nutrition in preparation for nursing school next year. I’ve learned a lot about how the human body works and specifically about my own issues about B12. I am still vegan and, yes, not all vegans have the issues with B12 that I’ve had but many do and may not realize it. B12 deficiency is very serious and its effects sometimes irreversible but it is also very easy to fix with proper supplementation. You can’t, however, address it if you don’t know your levels. And vegans are one of the groups at risk for this deficiency, so why not run a simple blood serum along with all the other run-of-the-mill bloodwork you get at an annual?

    And with that, I’ve said my peace and I will no longer discuss B12 in this thread! :)

  • Melisa

    I love vegan cookbooks! I would totally buy one for newbies!! Like Jacquelyn, I love to bake and would appreciate a foolproof cookie recipe that calls for on-hand ingredients. I also second Rachel’s suggestion of vegan crock pot recipes. I have yet to find even one really appetizing one. What I would add to the suggestions is relatively easy recipes for yummy snacks that travel well. These goodies serve two purposes: 1)Not nearly as tempted by non-vegan sweets lying around at work like landmines if I have my own treats from home. 2)When someone (inevitably) says, “How do you do it? I could never be vegan because the food is gross/weird/hard to make,” I could whip out healthful homemade proof to the contrary. Shi shaw!!

  • Rachel

    Vegan Cookbook = AWESOME!!!!
    Suggestions/requests: The idea of having a list of pantry essentials as mentioned in earlier comments would be a huge plus! But one more thing that sooo many cookbooks in general lack is the photos for each step. While it is great to see the end product (that most cookbooks at least show), having a photo with each step/point of process with vegan cooking and baking would greatly help those of us who are brand new to the world of veg*n and think something looks a little weird as we’re going (but later find out that it was fine or in fact horribly wrong). So PHOTOS PHOTOS PHOTOS! These are my two cents at least. Lots of love all around!

  • Meghan

    I just really think that the characterization of veganism as something has has to be medically managed is MAJORLY off-putting. And annual bloodwork what? I googled around a bit and for healthy adults bloodwork is only recommended by most US sources every five years. And while it certainly is probably no biggie to get bloodwork done more often for those with good insurance, in the US that is not a given for a large hunk of the population, and bloodwork ‘aint cheap if you don’t have insurance. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have your blood levels checked, I do it whenever I get bloodwork because it is free with my insurance and I like to be able to tell people questioning my veganism the last time my iron/B-12/whatever was checked and how great all of the numbers are. But it seems really unnecessary for me for most people that eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet, supplementing where appropriate.

  • Callie

    Cookbook: I love the idea of pantry musts. Vegan staples that can be made into many different lovely vegan meals or snacks would be REALLY helpful. Something I’d like would be good vegan recipes that don’t require too many specialized or hard to find ingredients. Some experimentation is fun, but it’s not a practical lifestyle if you’ve got to go to the farmers market, co-op, grocery store, and international market to get all the ingredients you need for one recipe, which has happened to me in the past. Also, veganism being heavily dependent on the plant foods, it would be great to have seasonal recipes so you don’t have to count on always having, for instance, fresh lettuce or tomatoes available. (One of the reasons I love your blog!)

    As far as the bloodwork/vitamins discussion goes, there are many differing opinions on how exactly to manage our health and diet, but let’s remember too that food is a wonderful thing to be enjoyed, not just a vessel for delivering nutrients into our bodies.

    My love list:
    1. Sarcasm is awesome!
    2. Just passed my VRS test and am now a fire fighter!
    3. I’ve got a date with a purty girl this week!

  • Annie

    I think an introduction to the ‘obscure’ ingredients would be lovely – veganism can be quite daunting if you don’t really know what you’re doing. There could be a list and how to use of ingredients such as nutritional yeast, agave, agar agar, and all the other commonly unfamiliar ingredients.
    Also, I don’t think you should make any sort of dietary change without being nutritionally informed, so maybe there could be some information about what nutrients you receive from meat and animal products teamed with information about where to find these nutrients in vegan foods.
    As far the transition goes, some veganized popular/favourite dishes could be pretty helpful for those easing into veganism. For example: Mac n Cheese, Spaghetti Bolognese, Fried Rice, Burritos, etc etc.
    Love List:
    1. Hanging out with my best friend who’s FINALLY returned from Canada. Dry Sarcasm, a little wine and what we call “moral debates of which we are both on the same team” were severely missed!
    2. Being able to laugh at my clumsiness. It ends up getting me hurt sometimes, but damn, it is pretty funny.
    3. MANGOES! Yay summer!!

  • Melissa C.

    For the cookbook, I’d love to see some EASY stuff to make. Quick stuff with minimal ingredients.

  • Kelly H.

    That photo is so very, very precious!

    Love list:
    1. All things Christmas! Music, lights, cookies, tree, presents.
    2. A great week of working out…finally! 3 days of jogging. 3 days of yoga. Hoping to repeat it this week.
    3. Not living paycheck to paycheck…finally!

  • Alina

    Book wishes, how exciting!:

    - recipes that don’t depend exclusively on expensive vegan “replacement” foods.
    -simple recipes, not necessarily quick ones but ones with smaller ingredient lists are nice

    for example, I love simple spiced bean and rice recipes over tofu dishes that feature too many ingredients and would love to expand my repertoire!

  • sarah

    Wow I’m late… been busy and away – still getting my RSS feeds but it’s not the same as reading it here.

    @K (and @Sayward):
    To say Sayward is not humble could not be farther from the truth. If there is one thing she is, it is realistic and practical. Nothing good comes without effort and all the baking bread and fermenting vegetables are things we all aspire to and learn to incorporate into our busy schedules. It certainly does not happen overnight. You are reading WAY to much into the links: as a blogger, when you mention something you’ve talked about previously, you link back to it as a courtesy to the reader. If I’ve just discovered Sayward’s blog I might think, “Oh, I’d like to see her recipe for homemade bread!” And instead of having to search through the archives there’s a handy little link. It has nothing to do with pride and everything to do with thoughtful attention to detail.

    I also think if you don’t realize the sarcasm of “*gasp horror*” you clearly haven’t been here long. That’s testament to a realistic attitude and the understanding that we will always been busy and have to give on things occasionally, and that’s ok.

    All in all though, I’m afraid your comment shows that you have fallen into the comparison game. DON’T DON’T DON’T measure yourself against other people… you are only putting yourself down. Create goals and work toward them, and when you slip up, oh well – it happens. Put it behind you and keep going. That’s what we all have to do. If a 6 month vegan decides to compare themselves to a 6 year vegan (or whatever), well, that’s obviously unfair. Just keep on keeping on. I have a friend who homeschools her four very busy/active kids, is a midwife, teaches classes, is heavily involved in church activities and who knows what else and STILL grinds her own grain to make her own bread (as in, they don’t buy bread at all) and does a ton of other things along those lines as well. I have no kids, and it makes my inability to make stock once a month look rather pathetic, you know? Rather than being offended by that I’m inspired… seriously? She’s my hero. And I just described her as Superwoman or something, but really? She was just telling me this weekend how bad she feels that the kids have been eating so much box/processed stuff lately because they’ve been so busy. See? Don’t take yourself too seriously man. Just keep working at it.

    Sayward I think you are awesome, humble, realistic, communicate clearly, teach us new tips and tricks and help us all get better at this thing every day, and you have NEVER come across as being “better than your readers” ;)

    And I HAVE been away for awhile – @erosan – congratulations!!

  • Sayward

    THANK YOU all for the excellent suggestions for my friend’s cookbook. So many great ideas here! Also appreciate the discussion and the diversity of opinions expressed . . . and everybody keeping it civil. Of course considering how much you guys rock, I’m not at all surprised. ;-)

    Also, thanks to those of you who spoke up in my defense. You do well to keep me humble, so filled with gratitude to have such awesome friends online. Thank you all my dears!

  • GrowingRaw

    I’m late too sorry, the last couple of weeks have been kind of like a whirlwind that speeds up the closer Christmas gets. I love this time of year, when people are trying to get together so often to touch base before the new year begins. I like how I get to see so many friends and family in such a condensed time space. Actually, that can be #1 on my gratitude list!
    #2 Rain – we’re getting so much Summer rain in Canberra and it’s making our bush block so LUSH! This time of year is usually bare and dry and brown – right now there are so many different greens dancing around and it’s beautiful.

    #3 Spotting the brown snake snoozing on the doorstep before I (or one of the kids) stepped on it. Move on buddy!

    About the vegan cookbook – I agree with erosan and Jacquelyn to a large degree that mimicking meat dishes is kind of unnecessary for someone with vegan goals. However, I can think of two reasons why a few meat-like recipes would be handy in a beginners cookbook.

    Firstly, beginners are transitioning still so being able to eat dishes that are similar to meat may be somewhat comforting and help ameliorate any cravings.

    Secondly, when you want to prepare vegan dishes but some of the other people in your family are non-vegan you can sometimes get away with it more easily if they feel there’s a central ingredient that’s substituting for their meat. (I know this may be considered pandering, but I tellya, when my Dad is visiting I have to get creative.)

    Along those lines, can you please pass this suggestion on to your friend in case she’s interested in using it…. I make a taco/burrito filling using adzuki beans that has a meaty texture and is very filling and satisfying.

    Adzuki filling recipe

    1 cup adzuki beans
    2 cups water
    1 spanish onion
    3 cloves garlic
    1 cup vegetable stock (or one cube dissolved in a cup of water)
    1 can tomatoes

    Soak adzuki beans in water overnight. Finely chop onion and garlic. Fry onion and garlic until light brown. Drain and rinse adzuki beans then add them to the pot. Add vegetable stock and tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the beans are completely soft.

    If you like you can simmer the beans in the veggie stock only and add the tomatoes for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Apparently the acid in the tomatoes inhibits the absorption of liquid into the adzuki beans, so adding the tomatoes at the end probably makes the softening happen faster. I just throw both in at once so I can leave the pot to do its thing while I do mine.

    p.s. Waits is looking SUPER cute! I like the scarf trick. I used to zip my babies up inside my over-size coat when I had them in the baby carrier.

  • Sayward

    @ GrowingRaw – Thanks for the recipe, sounds delicious! She’s reading this thread so consider it “passed”. =)