Let me start by saying the holidays should not merely be a time to drain your bank accounts in the name of generosity. It should be a time for gratitude, for taking care of ourselves by relaxing and indulging, and for spending time with the people we love. But this is ‘Merica, and here, we like to buy things.

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Little-girl Zoe just adored spaghetti with meatballs. As I have been sick with a nasty head-cold the past week, I was craving some comfort food and decided to whip up some Spaghetti with Bean balls from my fav vegan cookbook, Veganomicon. (When I related to my father that bean balls were on my menu he said “oh no, those poor beans.” hardy-har-har…)

These delicious balls o’ beans have a great taste and texture, and I was mildly horrified that it took me so long to try them out. While the recipe says to mix the bean paste in a bowl with a fork, I have found that it works just as well in a food processor if you pulse the ingredients for a minute or so — don’t let it run freely or you will end up with a mixture that will be better for dipping chips in than rolling into balls.

After baking, crispy on the pan!

 

Looking lovely over whole grain spaghetti with saucy spinach and broccoli

Try them out for yourself, and amuse yourself while you cook by singing the SexyTofu rendition of “On Top of Spaghetti” : On top of spaghetti, all covered with beans..I lost my poor bean ball, when somebody..beaned.

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This past week was my spring break, but because I am so financially challenged (broke) these days I didn’t go on any big trip like most college seniors. Sigh. Don’t feel too bad for me though, I am heading to Bermuda right after graduation. Anyways, one thing I did over break was hole up at my boyfriends and do a ton of vegan cooking.  I tried a recipe from Veganomicon that everyone orbiting around the vegan sphere has been talking about; chickpea cutlets. I was a bit skeptical but went out to find the key ingredient, vital wheat gluten, at a local health food store and got down to business, cooking the recipe with Ben for his parents.

We decided to serve the cutlets exactly the way the book suggested-with roasted asparagus and mustard sauce. We got a bit overwhelmed in the kitchen trying to make sure everything was ready at the same time and I think we made his mom a bit nervous (she is very protective about her kitchen). The end result was pretty good- the cutlets definitely had a meaty texture and the spices gave it a chickeny flavor. I wasn’t such a fan of the mustard sauce but I believe that was just personal taste, as Ben and his dad ate it right up.

Later on during break I went to visit my vegan buddy Hannah, whose boyfriend has decided to try being  a vegetarian and is having some serious chicken withdrawals. We decided to make him some chickpea cutlets, emulating his favorite italian dish, chicken parmesan. I liked the cutlets much better this way- first we prepared them in a pan the way recipe directs. Next,while the pasta was boiling, we baked them in the oven with tomato sauce and vegan cheese. Yum!

While I was excited about the chickeny feel of these recipes, never had there been a time in my life where I was more relieved to not eat chicken. Ben lives in Bridgewater, VA, the home of at least two different Perdue factories. I love the quiet little town of Bridgewater,with its peaceful community, old victorian houses and great farmers markets, but the smell (which gets worse in the summer) coming from the factories is really repulsive. A cross between road-kill and manure. Once this past week Ben and I got stuck driving directly behind a Perdue truck and I could see hundreds of fluffy white chickens shoved four stories high in the back of the truck. Pretty much ruined my day..

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