Monthly Archives: September 2008

October is Vegetarian Awarness Month

October 1 is World Vegetarian Day and kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month.

In honor of that, a local hospital has offer Five Tips for a Vegetarian Diet, which, if nothing else, can give you a little insight into what eating more of a plant-based diet can do for you and your body, even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan.

A good resources is a Web site called, where you can get a free vegetarian start kit.

I, personally, subscribe to Vegetarian Times, where I have learned a lot and have dozens of amazing recipes at my fingertips..

(I recently tested VT’s African Chickpea and Spinach Soup and it was AMAZING.

And, if I haven’t mentioned it before, check out VegMichigan.

I volunteer as editor of VegMichigan’s monthly newsletter and monthly news updates. It’s a great resource for information and vegetarian or vegan events, potlucks, information and more, including the annual MeatOut which, at the local level anyway, has been renamed VegFest and is scheduled to be at Ferndale High School in April.

OK, I think I’ve inundated you with far too many links, so I’ll leave it at that. If you ever know of any vegetarian-friendly news or events, feel free to post here or let me know!


What’s a vegan to do?

My co-worker and regular recipe tester Mary T. recently found herself at a wedding where she had requested a vegan meal. She couldn’t believe it when they showed up with a pile of cantaloupe and a pile of tabbouleh.

Per the waiter’s instruction, she mixed it together and dove in. Sound crazy? I agree.

But Mary swears that it’s now a favorite of her and her husband, Matt, who’s not even vegetarian, let alone vegan.

On a recently night they filled a giant pasta bowl of the mixture and killed it, with the help of some pita bread.

I’ve never been much of a picky eater so I’m willing to give it a try! I mean, I’ve grown to love strawberry jelly on grilled cheese, so why not give this a shot, right?

If you try it, let me know what you think! On that note, if you try any of the recipes I post here, I would love to hear your comments on what you think of them.

Oh, no!

Eating veggies shrinks the brain

African Chickpea and Spinach Soup

I have been subscribing to Vegetarian Times for almost two years now and, sadly, have yet to make a single recipe from any issue.

That is, until tonight. I’ve been saving my soon-to-spoil herbs, stalks, peels and more for a few weeks and decided it was time to make some veggie broth — if for no other reason than the refrigerator at the new house is teeny so it was fighting veggie burgers and ice cube trays for space.

I filled a pot with my two gallon-sized Ziploc bags full of vegetable scraps and let it simmer for about five hours, then let it cool for another hour or so. It made almost 20 cups of broth! Most of it is in plastic bags in the freezer…

Out of three contenders I was deciding between, I realized I had 95 percent of the ingredients for the African Chickpea and Spinach Soup from the March 2007 issue so that’s what won. That and the fact that it sounded goooood.

I just finished making it and — holy cow — did I choose wisely. A brief taste test is all I have experienced, but it’s really good. In a way that’s a little unexpected. One of those recipes that just works, but you can’t figure out what your favorite part is. It almost doesn’t make sense, but that’s OK — it’s delicious nonsense.

Here it is:

2 tsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1 c.)
1 clove minced garlic — about 1 tsp (I used 2 because I love garlic)
1/4 c. smooth natural peanut butter (I only had Jiff, which seems to have worked fine)
2 c. low sodium vegetable broth (or no sodium, if you make your own)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I added a touch more for extra kick)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz. an of diced tomatoes
2 oz. spinach chopped (about 2 c.)

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until garlic is lightly browned.

2. Blend peanut butter and 1/2 c. broth in food processor to make smooth paste. (Note: I don’t see how this could be a paste. Maybe with natural peanut butter? It made peanut butter liquid for me, which seems to have turned out fine. Maybe it’s because I just used a whisk instead of putting it in a food processor.) Blend in remaining 1 1/2 c. of broth.

3. Add paprika, coriander and cayenne into onion mixture and saute about 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in peanut butter mixture, chickpeas and tomatoes.

4. Simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach just before serving. (Although I don’t intend to eat it until tomorrow, I chopped up about 1/2 a bag of spinach and added it. I’m guessing it will hold up just fine until tomorrow).

According to Veg Times, per serving:
257 calories
11 grams protein
13 grams total fat (2 g. saturated fat)
28 grams carbohydrates
581 milligrams sodium
9 grams fiber
9 grams sugar