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Just Another Sunday in the South

A Tractor’s View of a Job Well Done – Photo Courtesy of Marge Swayne

Sundays in the South are made for relaxing and spending time with family.  We spend a lot of our Sundays, especially holidays, having dinner with my grandparents on their farm, Stillmeadow Farm.  Stillmeadow Farm is a small, hobby farm established in 1981 and tucked down a back road.  It’s a haven for all animals from the hunting dogs that lost their way and became family pets to the deer that spend all fall seeking sanctuary from the hunters while roaming the woods.

 

Heather Smiles for the Camera – Photo Courtesy of Marge Swayne

Every visit to the farm begins by waving at the dairy goats, Claudette, Claude and Heather, as you drive by the red barn and as you turn the corner of the circle driveway, you’re bound to see a cat or two lounging in the sunshine on a wooden bench in the grass.  We’ll then make our way to the back porch by walking around the chickens as they wander the yard collecting bugs and the rooster proudly crows announcing our arrival to his humans.

 

Star and Sadie Sunbathing in the Herb Garden – Photo Courtesy of Marge Swayne

 

Before we get to speak to the humans of the house, we have to play fetch with Star, a loyal German Shepard, while Sadie, a mischievous Alaskan Malamute, plots to steal your attention since she is not a fan of physical activity except when it involves making snow angels.

 

 

 

 

Sister, Sister? – Photo Courtesy of Marge Swayne

Once we finally make an appearance in the house, Kiki, the oldest and fearless leader of the house cats, greets us at the door while begging you pet her.  Over the years, Sophie, a gray version of Kiki, has gained enough confidence to allow us to pet her as she inquires about dinner from the cook, my grandmother.  Sophie and her two other siblings, Lily and Luna, were rescues that were abandoned in my grandparent’s drive way years ago so there’s been a bit of learning curve earning their trust.  After pulling Grandpa away from a NASCAR race or the grill on the deck, we sit down, say grace and enjoy a dinner made with love.

Field Roast Smoked Tomato Quarter Loaf

For this particular Sunday, I enjoyed a new vegan meat alternative that I have not tried before along side fresh vegetables from my grandparent’s garden.  It was a Field Roast Smoked Tomato Quarter Loaf.  The instructions warned against cooking this product in the oven so I prepared it by sauteing thin slices in a little bit of coconut oil on the stove top.  After they were done cooking for about 8 minutes total, I laid the slices on a few paper towels to absorb some of the excess oil.  Although I don’t rely on these meat alternatives like I did when I went vegetarian, I do enjoy them from time to time or on special occasions.

 

 

I thought this product was very flavorful with not as much tomato flavor as I was anticipating.  I ate a few bites alone, but enjoyed it much more in a freshly baked roll.  I re-purposed the leftovers in a sandwich as well.  The texture is very similar to other Field Roast products since they mostly all start with the same main ingredient – vital wheat gluten.  Vital wheat gluten is a the powdered form of the gluten (protein) found in wheat.  It’s a popular ingredient across the board in a lot of vegetarian or vegan meat alternatives.  Unfortunately, if you suffer from gluten sensitivity or allergy, this is an ingredient you need to avoid in your meat alternatives so make sure to check the labels!

Omnivore Rating: 6/10     ~     Vegan Wannabe Rating: 7/10

Bye y’all!

Chinese food can be vegan?

When I decided to go vegetarian with dreams of being vegan, I was missing Chinese food.  My favorite choice was always beef and broccoli and one of my husband’s favorites was sweet and sour pork.  I was never much of a fan because I don’t like a lot of heavily deep fried foods.  When we lived in the city, there were tons of Chinese restaurants that offered tofu options instead of meat, but in my little small town it’s a little harder to come by.

Insert the frozen aisle of most grocery stores even in my small town.

gardein-watermark

 

Gardein Sweet & Sour Pork!  It’s not beef and broccoli, but it’s a great Chinese alternative without all the grease and heavy feeling.  It’s super easy to make and you can easily customize it however you like.  The hardest part of this recipe is waiting on the rice cooker to cook your rice!

 

Follow these simple steps to make your Chinese at home my way.

  1. Place 1 cup of Basmati rice and 2 cups of water in your rice cooker.  I also love this product with Jasmine rice, but my husband doesn’t care for it so I just save it for meals when I’m the only one eating rice.  Remember to wash your rice thoroughly before cooking.
  2. I always serve broccoli on the side with my Chinese food no matter what variation I’m making.  Start boiling fresh or frozen broccoli on the stove top with some water.  Once completed cooking, drain the excess water and add a little bit of sea salt and vegan butter.  I prefer Smart Balance because the price point is usually a little cheaper.
  3. While everything is moving along, put 1/2 a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet and let that warm up.  Once heated and completely melted, add the porkless chunks.  Saute until all sides are crispy.  It takes about 6-8 minutes when stirring frequently.
  4. Once they are fully cooked, add the sauce packet that comes in the Gardein bag.  At this point, you can add whatever you want in addition to the Gardein pork.  My favorite addition is chopped canned pineapple.  Other options we have added were snap peas, sugar snap peas, sweet onion, bell pepper strips, mushrooms and broccoli.  If you are using these fresh veggie additions, I prefer to saute them before adding, but the pineapple just needs to be heated and mingle with the sauce.
  5. Once plated, I always sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  Occasionally I will use a low sodium soy sauce, but not always.

watermark

My favorite aspects of this product are that it is made with Non-GMO soy, it is certified vegan and labeled for easy reading and it’s nutrition content.  For one third of the bag, there are 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 9 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein!  My husband and I usually eat two thirds of the meal the night of and I usually get about a third the next day for leftovers.  It heats up well in both the microwave or stove top the next day.

Wannabe Vegan Rating: 10/10

Omnivore Rating: 9.5/10

Bye y’all!

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