Vegan 'til 6

I'm trendy. Oprah did it. Now I'm doing it.

Saturday was Day 6 of the 21-day Vegan Kickstart. I am now vegan 'til 6.

Cookbook author and journalist, Mark Bittman eats a vegan diet.

But after about 6 p.m., anything goes. In a 2009 New York Times article, he explained his “vegan before dinnertime” strategy:
My arrangement with myself is that from the time I wake up until dinner I eat only fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. I don’t even eat white bread during the day. And then starting at dinner, I do. I have one meal a day when I do pretty much what I want, which is normally quite indulgent.

I plan on eating white bread. And wheat bread. Ezekiel bread. Onion bread. Potato bread. Whole grain bread. Flatbread. Gluten-free bread. I love bread. Actually, I've been eating a LOT of bread & it hasn't been good for my digestive tract. That being said, It's been a week of discovery, trial and error. I feel really good about my decision and to be truthful, I don't see myself looking back. I have had to make some decisions regarding my lifestyle and my professional life.

On Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours: Vegetarian. Practicing veganism is restricting for the restaurants and I want to be able to enjoy myself without too many restrictions. One of the perks of this job is being able to eat at every stop. I don't want it to be a disheartening experience. As time goes on, I may change my mind about this. For now, this is it.

On Fire in the Triad Dinners: Omnivore. While I am participating as the official blogger, I will eat animal products, dairy and anything else put in front of me. Each dinner begins at 7 pm, so I'm good in that department. As soon as September 26 gets here, I'll go back to 100% vegan (before 6).

On my job: Omnivore-lite. The second most important part of my job is creating tasty food (first = planning a varied menu) It's mandatory for me to taste my food for quality control. I could just wing it and hope for the best, but I take pride in what I do, so tasting is what I need to do. I know the different between tasting and eating and tasting does not require a plate, bowl, fork and spoon. A dip with the tip of a knife will be fine.

I've hardly followed the daily Kickstart menu at all, but I've been following it loosely. Very loosely.

Below are examples of things I've been cooking and eating.

Crispy corn cakes (with sauteed tofu & lemon wine sauce)

Vegan florentine quiche with faux chicken salad

sweet potato & quinoa chili over polenta (with soy yogurt & chive garnish)
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili
Adapted from Bon Appétit (February 2011)

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, fine dice
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 pound dried beans, rinsed well
1 chipotle chile from canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
6 cups water or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes (2-3 small), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or more, to taste)
2 teaspoons pepper (or more, to taste)

Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook until soft and beginning to brown, 6-7 minutes. Add chili powder and coriander, stir. Cook together for 1 minute.

Stir in beans, chipotle pepper, and oregano. Add 6 cups of water (or vegetable stock) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until beans are flavorful and tender, anywhere from 2 - 4 hours (depending on the age of your beans).

After 1 1/2 hours of cooking, add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, and salt. Place the pot's lid back on slightly ajar and allow to simmer on low heat until the beans are soft and the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooked through. Add more water if the chili becomes too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Rainbow chard

Cannelloni beans and tomatoes

Vegan chocolate pudding
Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Serves 6

16oz. silken tofu, drained
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar

Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy, about 10 seconds.

As I plan my meals each day, I find that I eat out a lot. I knew that beforehand, but I have to cut out restaurants that don't have anything I can eat. That happened last week. Restaurants usually have a pasta with marinara sauce or SOMETHING! This place had none.

Tonight, I plan on eating out again. This time: no bread & plenty of vegetables that have nothing to do with a salad or a boring vinaigrette.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

Leave a reply

  1. I like it! Great plan. Tell me REALLY how that Chocolate "Pudding" was.

  2. Sue! This pudding is GREAT! NO one knows it's made with tofu until you tell them!


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