Forever would not have been enough

This post is dedicated to Peanut

baby Peanut
baby Peanut

Peanut was born on Christmas of 1996 and entered our home a week later, on New Year’s Eve of 1997. He’s been part of my family for 19 years. We basically grew up together. I promised him I was always going to love and take care of him. Peanut is a very special cat with an enormous will to live. Back in 2005 he got really sick. He got an internal ear infection that even the vets couldn’t originally diagnose, his head was constantly full of pus, and poor Peanut had 6 surgeries in less than a year. In 2006 after 10 surgeries total, and after 4 different diagnoses from different vets, we were told that the best thing we could do is put him to sleep. Thank God we didn’t. We put him in a clinic instead, had a million tests and MRI scans and got his one ear removed. A few months later, and after two polypus, we had to remove his other ear too. So now, 12 surgeries later, little peanut was basically deaf but healthy again. Still very active and playful, still very strong, still very lovable and adorable, always wanted to be petted and happy to live!

Peanut with my mom
Peanut with my mom
Me and Peanut
Me and Peanut

My story with veganism started here, as I was really sad that Peanut had to go through all this trouble and it got me thinking, why do I love one animal, and eat the others? But you can read more about this on the about me page.

Baby Peanut just few months old ...
Baby Peanut just few months old …

Following those two last surgeries, some of his nerves were damaged, his one ear dropped, and his one eye was always open. We had to put eye drops 5 times a days for years, yet eventually his eye got crystallized, he couldn’t see anymore and he was in a lot of pain. So in 2013 he had his last surgery, his one eye removed. Still with one eye and no ears, he was a very adorable and active kitty!!! Unfortunately earlier this year, at the age of 19, he was diagnosed with cat alzheimer’s disease. He wanted to eat every single hour as he kept forgetting he already had a meal, he meowed all day and all night long and he had to take pills and fluids in order to avoid a kidney failure.

peanut1

Then the bad thing happened. No, he didn’t pass away. I was (not really) a bit prepared for that. He left. I was shocked. Peanut was gone and nowhere to be found. I put posters up, ads everywhere, thousands of social media posts and shares, contacted every vet clinic and pet store, all cleaning road services, 24 hour gas stations and searched for weeks day and night. I still cannot believe this happened. My little peanut is gone.

peanut age 3

I hope… I know… I am sure that someone found him, immediately loved him and that he has a new home now. Because he is a very strong cat, and because he has a will to live, I can’t accept that something bad happened to him. I won’t lose hope, and I will never stop searching for him… Until we meet again…

Let me tell you more about Peanut. Peanut liked to travel. Over the years I did more than a hundred trips with him. He was the best travel companion I could have. He liked to sit on the passenger’s seat and he wouldn’t mind a non stop 6 hours trip with a car.  Peanut liked to eat plants. Flowers, greens, grass… it really didn’t matter! He was always so happy running around my mom’s garden. Peanut loved the snow. He was like a kid at a playground when I’d let him walk on the snow. But he didn’t like the cold. So once he got back inside he would warm his butt in front of the heater. Peanut liked hanging around other animals. His best friend was Almond. They loved playing around and sleep the one on top of the other. Peanut could feel every time I got sad and he would cuddle next to me for hours. Peanut liked to have a seat on the table at dinner parties and be part of our gatherings.

1 2 8 4

 

He was the best companion anyone could ever wish for….53 6 7

To my Peanut… I want you to know that life is not the same with you. I love you and I miss you every single moment. I miss those little things. Like your wake up calls for food. Your thankful nose kisses and the sound of your little pitter patter of paws on the floor.

peanut last

a couple from his latest photos
a couple of his latest photos

chickin parm

vegan chickin parm

I didn’t have many times in my life chicken parm, but it was for sure one of the best things I had the first time I visited New Jersey. And last couple of times I asked Sean what he wants for dinner, he said “chicken parm”. So I had to make it work. Instead of chicken I used Fry’s Vegetarian Chicken Style Burgers but I am sure that any kind of vegan chicken substitute will work. I love the Fry’s products because Sean eats them without complaining about eating fake meat. He once said that their chicken style burger is better than the real thing. I didn’t “pane” the burgers as they already look like that, plus I don’t like fried food. But I am posting a recipe below for making “Chickin pane” if you are using instead of Fry’s a different product such as Gardein chickin breast or chicken style seitan.

Chickin pane

4 Vegan chickin breasts
1/2 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp EnerG egg replacer
salt and pepper
1/2 cup breadcrubms
oil for frying

In a deep plate mix the milk with the egg replacer and the spices. In a different plate place the breadcrumbs. Deep the chickin breasts in the milk mixture and then in the breadcrumbs until fully coated. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the breasts until golden brown, both sides (about 3 minutes at each side).

For the chickin parm you will need

4 pane chickin breast or your favorite vegan chicken style burgers
2 cups of your preferred spaghetti sauce
1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
1/4 cup raw parma or your preferred vegan parmesan

Preheat the oven in 180C/350F. Grease a baking pan with olive oil and 1 Tbsp of tomato sauce. Place the chickin in the pan, top each chickin breast with 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup mozzarella shreds, another 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle a bit of vegan parmesan on top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot with pasta, rice or in a sandwich. Enjoy!

New Year’s Cake! Happy 2012

Vasilopita (St. Basil’s Bread) or New Year’s Cake is a tradition for the Orthodox Church here in Greece. It can be a loaf of sweet bread, cake or a pie. A coin is baked in the dough. On New Year’s Day, after the family dinner, the cake is traditionally cut by the senior male member of the family, and the person who receives the portion of the Cake which contains the coin is considered blessed for the New Year.

Happy New Year!

Each portion of the Cake is  distributed as follows: The first portion is cut for  Jesus Christ. The second is for The Virgin Mary. The third is for St. Basil the Great and the forth for the house. The other portions are cut for the members of the family beginning with the eldest.

If you are interested, you can read more about the Vasilopita and its history here.

Since I went vegan 5 years ago, it became a tradition for me to bake the Vasilopita every year. Not just for our house, but pretty much for everyone in the family. For my mom, my aunts, friends etc. This is a really tasty cake and you can make it any time during the year – just don’t write the year on it. It’s great with a morning coffee or a cup of tea.

New Year's Cakes

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegan margarine (1oo grams)
1 cup sugar
2 cups coconut milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp ground flax seed whisked with 1/4 cup of water
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
2 Tbsp corn flour
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1 cup ground walnuts

Mix the coconut milk with the apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle. Mix the ground flax seeds with the water and set aside until it forms a gel. In a mixing bowl sift the flour, corn flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix with a fork. In a big mixing bowl place the margarine and the sugar and use a hand mixer to mix them until the margarine becomes fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla extract, flax seeds mixture and a little bit of the coconut milk and blend. Start adding the flour mixture and the coconut milk, 1/2 cup at the time and mix with the hand mixer in low/medium. Once you have added all the milk and flour add the ground walnuts. Use a fork to distribute the walnuts all over the dough. Do not forget at this stage to slip a coin (covered in tinfoil) in the cake dough.  Grease and flour a baking pan, pour the dough in it and bake in preheated oven at 180 for about 40 minutes, until the cake is ready. Let it cool before removing from the pan. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and write the year on it.

Vegan MoFo Day 16: canning weekend

That’s what I’ ve been doing this weekend….

Canning roasted pepper and tomato sauce

tomato sauce

Canning fruit jam, roasted eggplants with tomato meze, spicy pepper pickles, green tomato pickles, eggplant sauce, roasted pepper sauce, mushrooms, pickled veggies…

cannning things...

I also visited the local farmers market and I was surprised to see apples being sold for only 40 cents per kg (20 cents per pound)…

apples 😀

I also visited my mom’s pumpkin field and stole a couple of pumpkins.

mama's pumpkin field
more pumpkins

Almond loves his big pumpkin!

Almond and his pumpkin

And of course Peanut is back home! My sweet pumpkin head 🙂

Peanut Love

What did you do this weekend? 🙂

PPK Vegan Survey

As you can see this is not a recipe but a survey run by the ppk forum.
And a photo of my little peanut! isn’t he adorable???

Q: What’s your favorite spice or spice blend?
A: Garam masala!

Q: You have $20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). what do you buy?
A: tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions, carrots, zucchinis, eggplants, spinach, broccoli, avocados, lemons, bananas, apples

Q: What’s your favorite way to make tofu?
A: Baked with lemony potatoes

Q: Vegan guilty pleasure?
A: Cupcakes!

Q: If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be?
A: My husband. That would probably make my life easier

Q: If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be?
A: http://www.veggie-wedgie.com for the food creativity and the great photography!

Q: Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food?
A: Ever since I remember myself, but I enjoy it more since I became vegan.

Q: Excluding analogues, what new things have you tried that you probably wouldn’t have as an omni?
A: Seitan. Pretty much that’s it. I preferred vegan food even as an omni.

Q: What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can’t get behind?
A: Seitan… it just doesn’t work for me. Not my taste…

Q: What was your first “wow, I’m such a stereotypical vegan” moment?
A: When I yelled to a friend that wanted to kill a roach… it was quite embarrassing…

Q: First recipe you veganized?
A: Meat and potatoes became tofu and potatoes. And it tasted quite the same as my omni friends said so.

Q: What would you like to veganize, but haven’t yet?
A: My moms walnut cake which I don’t think I will ever try as it asks for more than 5 eggs… snif snif

Q: Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?
A: Tofuxpress! Tofuxpress! Tofuxpress!

Q: Most disastrous kitchen failure?
A: steaming seitan… I forgot about it, my pot run out of water and soon it turned black. Disaster!

Q: First vegan cookbook?
A: How it all vegan by Sarah Kramer

Q: What question about being vegan do you HATE answering?
A: How do you get your protein? Or why no milk? I think the second one annoys me more

Q: If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be?
A: We are so “abnormal” 😛

Q: Funniest vegetable?
A: Brussels sprouts

Q: What is a family recipe you have veganized?
A: Mousaka

Q: Weirdest food combination ?
A: Beetroot chocolate cake

Q: Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins?
A: Stir fry, baked, scrambled

my little peanut
my little peanut

Q: Are your pets vegan? if so, what do you feed them? tell us about having vegan furbabies!
A: No. my little peanut eats pretty much everything

Q: Favorite non-dairy milk?
A: Soy milk in general but I prefer almond milk for desserts

Q: What’s one “vegan myth” you’d like to squash?
A: That milk is the only source for calcium

back to reality… snif

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been away following my favorite band (Guns N’ Roses)  on their European Tour. I visited quite few amazing cities like London, Belfast, Dublin, Milan and Rome. I had a blast and it was so much fun!!! I also had the chance to eat few amazing dishes like cauliflower-chickpeas stew, sweet potatoes-giant beans stew, baked potatoes stuffed with english style beans, the best veggie fajitas ever,  original marinara pizza and many many more. Now I am back home, back to work, back to normal and back to my kitchen! more recipes to come soon…

fajitas
veggie fajitas