Tropical Watermelon Smoothie

For some reason I just don’t like eating fruit. I’ll have it once in a while if someone has already prepared it, maybe after a meal or something when it’s hot out. Otherwise I just really have a hard time getting myself to eat fruit…except, apparently, when it’s in a smoothie!

This summer I’ve been going through bananas like crazy, I eat about 8 a week. I peel and chop them and store them in a freezer bag in the freezer to use as a smoothie base (they’re nice and creamy when blended), and I’ve been drinking about 5 smoothies a week. Sometimes I freeze other fruit, too. I bought fresh pineapple rings from Meijer in a little plastic container and just chucked the whole thing in the freezer without even cutting the rings into smaller pieces first. I was kind of mad at myself for that when I went to use them yesterday, but was surprised to find they were still easy to cut through when frozen. My dad also bought a giant watermelon and asked me to chop it for him (one of my least favorite jobs). There was so much, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to throw some of it in the freezer, too. And so the Tropical Watermelon Smoothie was born.

Tropical Watermelon Smoothie | Orthodox and Vegan
Tropical Watermelon Smoothie
1/4 C frozen chopped banana
1/3 C frozen chopped pineapple
1 C frozen chopped watermelon
1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)

Blend all ingredients. Drink. Enjoy! As with pretty much all my smoothie recipes, this is made to fit perfectly in the single serve cup of my Ninja blender.

I could use a few more ideas for adding fruit to my diet. What is your favorite fruit during the summer months, and how do you prepare it? Please let me know by commenting below!

What Vegans Eat: Tea Party Picnic

Because people sometimes get the idea it’s hard to be vegan and still have a fun social life, I’d like to occasionally share with you What Vegans Eat at various social events.

My mom got us tickets to the Picnic Pops Music of David Bowie concert for my birthday. The Picnic Pops are held at a ski area during the summer months. You can get general admission tickets and sit out on the hill, or pay extra to get reserved seats at the picnic tables in front of the stage. We got the reserved seats and I LOVE picnics, but then I realized…the concert was August 2. During the Dormition Fast. I’m vegan all year anyway, but strict fasting days for me also means eliminating oil. Could we pull off a vegan & oil free picnic spread?

What Vegans Eat: Tea Party Picnic | Orthodox and Vegan
Yup. Here’s what vegans eat at a tea-less tea party inspired picnic (full disclosure: my mom grabbed the vegan cupcakes from her freezer, they were made for another occasion and probably contained oil. I decided to accept the hospitality, but I do have an awesome oil free cake recipe I’ll share soon!)

What Vegans Eat: Picnic Pops Tea Party | Orthodox and Vegan
I made little tea sandwiches with Italian bread I found at Dollar Tree (yes!! – take & bake bread for $1!) and homemade Cashew Basil Pesto topped with fresh spearmint and cucumber – I’ll post the pesto recipe tomorrow. Mom made raw seed crackers, and we topped half with my Coconut Milk Cheese and half with an experimental lentil spread I’m perfecting. And did you know Rose of Sharon is edible? We didn’t eat those flowers, but we could have. (Orange Trumpet Flowers not edible)

What Vegans Eat: Tea Party Picnic | Orthodox and Vegan
Mom also made this Spinach & Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Quiche, and bruschetta. In the top picture you can see a champagne glass filled with chickpea salad – also made by mom. I cannot give you a recipe but she basically threw in all the wild greens from her garden along with homemade fermented veggies, and mixed it all with a tahini sauce.

Multiple people commented on the beauty and splendor of our picnic spread, and in the end we actually enjoyed it more than the concert. So you see, it is possible to live a normal, happy life, eat good food, have fun, and Be Vegan.

Have an event coming up and unsure what to bring? Comment below!

Vegan Q&A, Part 2: Why Don’t Vegans Eat Eggs?

Why Don't Vegans Eat Eggs? | Orthodox and Vegan
“But why don’t vegans eat eggs? You don’t have to hurt the animals to get those.”
I’ve heard this about both milk and eggs several times a year for the past 18 years. Today I’ll just focus on the eggs.

Why Don't Vegans Eat Eggs? | Orthodox and Vegan

Debeaking a Chick

I’m not sure what most people imagine when they think of chickens being raised to lay eggs. Maybe, like me a long time ago, they don’t really think about it at all. The unfortunate truth is that most eggs come from factory farmed chickens, and factory farming involves a lot of suffering.

Did You Know

Newly-hatched chicks are sent down a conveyor belt to be manually inspected by chicken sexers – great job title, huh? The job of the chicken sexer is to determine the sex of the chicks within a fraction of a second. The chicks are then sorted. Obviously female chicks are needed to one day produce eggs. On the other hand since these chickens are bred for egg laying, male chicks are useless and are disposed of. Within moments of being hatched, the male chicks may be thrown into a macerated to be ground up alive. In some facilities they gather the chicks and gas them, while others may shock them, break their necks, or suffocate them using foam or plastic bags.


This sleek video shows how processing chicks can be neatly streamlined. The brown sludge you see shooting out of the machine around the 1 minute mark is the shredded bodies of unwanted male chicks which are culled (in this case macerated) moments after being hatched.

Why Don't Vegans Eat Eggs? | Orthodox and Vegan
If the chick is lucky enough to be a female she will be debeaked (seen above), loaded with antibiotics, and crammed into a battery cage. The chickens must be debeaked because living in an overcrowded, confined space makes them anxious and prone to pecking each other (and cannibalism!). The cages are often stacked high, with feces from the chickens above falling onto the chickens below.

A hen’s egg production will usually slow after about 2 years. When egg production stops, or becomes so slow that it is no longer economical to keep the hen, she will be slaughtered. This, and chick culling, are not only issues on factory farms. Small farms – even backyard farms – are not likely to keep hens that don’t produce.

But Don’t We Need Eggs?

Nope. Did you know in baked goods you can replace eggs with mashed bananas, ground flax, chia seeds, or baking soda and vinegar? You can also make vegan omelettes with chickpea flour, or the very popular VeganEgg from Follow Your Heart (the Amazon price flucuates. If it’s about $7, try to find it locally). Tofu scramble is a breakfast classic.

What are your favorite egg substitutes? If you have a question about substituting eggs in a certain recipe, post in the comments below!

Dormition Fast 101

The Dormition of the Holy Mother of God

Christ holding the soul of the Theotokos


Hello, Friends!

The Dormition Fast is almost here (August 1-15 New Calendar, August 14-28 Old Calendar) and I’ve noticed a few people have found my blog by searching for Dormition Fast menu planning. Unfortunately I am terrible at planning and didn’t even realize it’s nearly the end of July! So. While it’s a little late to lay out a menu for you, I will give you some ideas. I’ve also posted my official Dormition Fast page in the top menu of the blog which contains a bunch more ideas…not sure why I just spent so much time on this when that page exists :p

Breakfast Cereal for Kids
-Fruity Pebbles
-Cap’n Crunch
-Reese’s Puffs
-Rice Krispies
-Corn Flakes
-Pops

Serve with your fav non-dairy milk (almond milk, cashew milk, flax milk, oat milk, soy milk, hemp milk, rice milk, coconut milk. I’d pair sweet cereals with an unsweetened milk)

In a Pinch
How to Order Vegan at Taco Bell

Bread
-Ezekiel sprouted grains (oil free)
-Brownberry Italian
-Arnold – according to LiveStrong.com, “Arnold’s Carb-counting multi-grain, Jewish rye, and stone ground whole wheat breads; and potato, wheat or sesame sandwich rolls.”
-Thomas bagels – plain, blueberry, cinnamon swirl, everything, and cinnamon raisin flavors are vegan, and at least a couple flavors are oil free.

Serve nut butter toast with breakfast, veggie sandwiches for lunch, with soup for dinner. A plain toasted bagel makes a great hot pretzel substitute – dip it in mustard! (Although SuperPretzels are also Lenten, and oil free)

Potatoes
This is so easy! Buy a 5 pound bag of potatoes (I prefer red, they tend to be more moist and have a somewhat buttery flavor). Bake a bunch of them at once, they’ll keep for several days in the fridge so do enough for the week.
Besides eating them like a standard baked potato, you can mash them, chop them up for a breakfast hash, or simply slice them up, season with salt, and eat them covered with ketchup.

On oil free days I do baked potatoes with a side of steamed veggies, and cover everything in tahini sauce. This Nacho Cheez tahini sauce is great, or you can customize it to your taste. On weekends I prefer straight up olive oil to margarine.

Pasta
I love angel hair pasta because it cooks so quickly. And speaking of that tahini sauce, it’s great on pasta! You could also do an herb pesto and use avocado for the fat instead of oil.

On weekends, drizzle the pasta with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, and parsley. Top with sauteed broccoli and onions.
(Of course you can also just dump canned marinara on pasta if you don’t want to cook much!)

Legumes/Pulses
Buy one pound bags of lentils, chickpeas, and/or black beans, cook them all and pop them them in the fridge or freezer. With a few cans of refried beans, too, you can make all kinds of wonderful things. Such as…

Lentils:
-BBQ Lentils – Like Sloppy Joes. Simmer the cooked lentils in BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s and often find it on sale for $1) with minced onion. Eat it on a bun with pickles and mustard, or however you’d top your Sloppy Joe. If you’re gluten free, do a lettuce wrap.
-Lentil Tacos – season the cooked lentils like you would taco meat. Fill corn* tortillas with the seasoned lentils, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes & onions. And you can put that Nacho Cheez sauce to use again.
*I use corn tortillas because they’re oil free. If you’re only abstaining from olive oil, or if it’s the weekend, flour tortillas should be fine (at least here in Michigan I haven’t seen any that contain lard).

Chickpeas:
-Hummus – A huge bowl of hummus, and you can eat it with pita and olives and veggies.
-Curry – simmer the cooked chickpeas in canned coconut milk (I prefer full fat) seasoned to taste with curry powder and whatever else you like. Add cauliflower and onions and cook until tender. Serve over rice to bulk it up.
-Add chickpeas to salads for extra protein

Black Beans & Refried Beans:
-Tacos, Burritos, Tostadas, Nachos, Taco Salad, CRUNCHWRAPS
The black beans act as a meat replacement (be sure to season them), and refried beans hold things together and are great for bulking up tacos and burritos. Add your favorite veggies and, if you like, salsa and guac.

I put the tahini sauce on everything, but you can mix things up by making Coconut Milk Cheese and adding that instead. You can also use it to make quesadillas 😀

-Black beans & rice – top with a tomato sauce or your favorite hot sauce

Bananas
Buy a few bananas for each person in your home. Peel, chop, freeze in a bag. Frozen bananas make a great creamy base for smoothies! Try this one:

1/2 C frozen banana
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter or PB2
1 C ice
1 C vanilla almond milk
(makes one serving)

If you wanna really bulk it up, blend 3 Tbsp hemp seeds and 1/4 C quick cooking oats with the almond milk before adding the other ingredients. It’ll add 12g protein and a decent amount of iron – but if you’re using unsweetened almond milk, you may want to add a tiny bit of maple syrup to mask the oatmeal taste.
This is also great with a couple teaspoons of cocoa powder. Or omit the peanut butter and half the ice, and replace with pineapple and frozen mango.

I hope between this and the Dormition Fast page you’ll have enough ideas to get you through this little two week fast. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch! If you have a go-to meal for fasting days, tell us about it in the comments below.

Dormition Fast Begins Tomorrow

The Dormition of the Holy Mother of God

Christ holding the soul of the Theotokos

The Dormition Fast begins August 1, and ends on the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15. I have added the Dormition Fast page back to the menu, with fasting guidelines and very simple Lenten meal ideas.

Blessed fast to you all!