Small-Bite Sundays: August 27, 2017

Small-Bite Sundays

First things first: Have you entered my giveaway yet? Win a handmade vegan-emblazoned mug here! (And if you have a recommendation for another vegan small-business interview, drop me a line.)

I spent last weekend in Rhode Island, visiting with family, meeting my sister-in-law’s family (they’re visiting the U.S. from their home in Thailand), and celebrating my mom’s 60th a bit belatedly. All visits to RI give me the chance to spend lots of time with my two little nephews… meaning all visits to RI include about a 50/50 percent chance of me coming home with some kind of terrible kid-transmitted illness. This time, I ended up with a killer cold and spent about three days glued to the couch with my trusty tissue box by my side.

Luckily, though, the cold didn’t strike until later in the week, or else Steven’s and my eight-hour drive home on Monday would have been pretty miserable. During our drive, we stopped in a state park to watch the eclipse — what we could see from northern Maryland, at least. We had about 83% coverage, and I was (naively) surprised at how little change there was in the light. At least we had eclipse glasses to see what was happening, and we were able to share them with a family who was taking a mid-day hike but didn’t have any glasses. Anyway, the experience left me wishing we’d driven somewhere to see totality, and I think we’ll attempt to do so during the next one — just seven years from now. :)

Small bites: to read

Fellow vegan blogger Jenny has a brief piece on Medium about how a nasty vegan weight-loss site stole an image of her and used it to promote their vegan diet program. Ironically, the image was originally used on another piece she wrote… about the intersections (or frequent lack thereof) between veganism and fat acceptance.

The incident stands out to me for a few reasons. One, it’s an example of the bizarre way folks seem to think images on the internet are fair game for reuse, even when they’re not marked as creative commons. Two, it highlights the continued problem of fat-shaming within the vegan community and the icky idea that veganism should be/is a weight-loss tool. Third, it’s actually heartening to see the way people responded to Jenny when she put a call out on social media for others to demand the site take her photo down. Thanks to the folks who mobilized on her behalf, not only did the site remove her photo, but they deleted the entire post in which it was used.

If you’re interested in reading more about vegan body positivity and weight inclusivity, check out Jenny’s Big Fat Vegan Zine Tumblr.

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I am so intrigued by the thought of cooking with so-called “roasted sugar,” sugar that’s been slowly, well, roasted in the oven until it develops a deeper and almost caramelized flavor. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it! (I contemplated putting this in the “To eat” section, but even I, a lover of sweets, would not sit down to a bowl of roasted sugar.)

 

Small bites: to watch

It’s a bit long, but I enjoyed this video demonstrating the absurdly long process of getting dressed as an 18th century Western woman. Fans of 18th century British novels in particular (guilty!) will likely appreciate this visual; female protagonists in these books frequently reference their dress.

Small bites: to eat

I am always on board for cashew cream, and these adorable creamy tomato-basil tartlets from Vegan Yack Attack feature a basil-infused cashew cream in spades. I’d sub in a gluten-full crust, and I’d probably make a full-size tart (alas, I have no tiny tart pans), but otherwise this recipe is a perfect way to do justice to your end-of-summer tomato stash.

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Aquafaba is a seriously versatile ingredient — not only has it revolutionized vegan meringues and macarons, but apparently it makes an amazing caramel. I love the inclusion of macadamia nuts, too; I can imagine them adding a perfectly rich and buttery element to this caramel sauce.

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As I mentioned earlier, we celebrated my mom’s 60th in RI last weekend. What I didn’t mention was that my dad basically catered a three-course fully vegan meal for 20+ guests all by himself. He’s always been the star cook of the family, but he really outdid himself here. We enjoyed appetizers (Texas caviar and a seriously incredible three-bean dip), a soup course (spicy sweet potato and kale), and a main course featuring twice-baked potatoes (augmented with mashed cauliflower!), a light salad, and grilled veg sausages and veggies. Plus, Dad made three original cocktails to order, including an incredible chocolate drink that was perfect for my chocoholic mom. Oh, also? Nearly everything was gluten-free so my celiac aunt could enjoy it. Yeah, my dad should probably go into the catering business.

We followed everything up with a vegan cake from a local bakery. They decorated it like a barbell weight as a nod to my bodybuilder mom’s favorite hobby. :)

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What was your eclipse experience, if you’re in the States? What have you  read/watched/eaten lately?

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Small-Bite Sundays: June 25, 2017

Small-Bite Sundays

June in Maryland: hot, humid, and heavenly. Does anyone else actually enjoy humidity? As someone who is nearly always cold, I view humidity as a promise of warmth, a muggy blanket enveloping me in comfort. Alas, Steven disagrees, and we have to turn on the air conditioning occasionally to dry out the house and cool it down a bit. But he was in Denver for three days this week, and I took full advantage of the solitude — just me and Moria in my swampy house. Perfection!

Anyway. This week’s post features a mixed bag of small bites, some light, some heavy, some to sink your teeth into and chew on. Enjoy, and let me know what you’ve been reading, watching, and eating this week!

Small bites: to read

An intriguing — if surface-level — look at the “social aspects” of veganism, based on Harvard sociology grad student Nina Gheihman’s ongoing research. Gheihman (herself an ethical vegan) wants to explore how veganism has become a so-called lifestyle movement and is focusing on that evolution in both France and Israel. I’m of two minds on this trend. I’m glad when anybody reduces their animal product intake, because at a basic level, that means that fewer animals will be harmed. But I also rankle at the description of veganism as a trend, a lifestyle to be adopted for a certain amount of time before being set aside as it becomes passe. That’s why I find the term “plant-based” helpful as a differentiator… but at the same time, I know it can be confusing to have two terms for what mainstream culture views as the same thing. Basically, it’s complicated. :)

This raw, personal account of what it’s like to fly while fat broke my heart — and strengthened my commitment to love and support my fat sisters. The anonymous author (writing under the poignant pseudonym of “Your Fat Friend”) makes it impossible not to empathize with her, and I felt nervous and on edge the whole time. It reminded me, yet again, of the crucial importance of empathy in breaking down the walls that keep us from caring about one another.

Small bites: to watch

The Keepers, Netflix’s new(ish) documentary series that delves into a particularly grim sexual abuse scandal at a Catholic high school in Baltimore and the unsolved murder of a nun who worked there. I’m only two episodes in and I’m both fascinated and horrified. This is true crime told through the perspectives of the women who experienced the abuse and through two other women who are investigating the cold case murder. Keep in mind that it’s not exactly a breezy, binge-y, summery series before  you settle in with the popcorn for a night of Netflix. (I found the second episode so disturbing that I needed to distract myself while I watched.)

On a lighter note, a video of five toy poodles jumping rope. It’s exactly what it sounds like and is exactly as wonderful as you’re imagining.

Small bites: to eat

Panzanella! This bread salad is the epitome of fresh summer eating. I made mine with cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market, basil and parsley from the garden, and a gorgeous herby sourdough bread from a friend. I can’t find the exact recipe that inspired me, but for this particular panzanella I tossed the bread cubes with melted butter and sauteed garlic before toasting them. Super indulgent and, of course, super delicious… especially when served alongside a jalapeño-lime margarita.

Summery panzanella

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