Veganuary Day 23: 30 Days of Vegan to Save the Planet
This is Day 23 of Veganuary, a 30-day pledge to eat vegan to save the planet. Today includes a special feature on vegan foods and meals for backpacking and camping, as many of us are already planning their warmer days escapes.
I wake up at 6am to go to my masters swim training. I haven’t been in 2 weeks and it feels good to be back, except today it’s a butterfly special so I get out of the pool knackered and famished. All I can think of on my bicycle on the way back home is that I could eat a horse and how very un-PC that sounds during Veganuary.
Exercising before breakfast is the best. It’s really my favorite time of day. It’s sometimes a bit hard to get myself out of a warm bed to throw myself in a pool or at the Serpentine to get wet, but I never regret it. It does make me hungry, though. I could really eat a horse.
Since I don’t have a tofu-horse at home, I improvise for breakfast.
This seems like a healthy kind of day, so I start with fruit salad.
Since fruit salad is a starter, I follow through with a massive bowl of granola and soy yogurt. The soy yogurt, I really didn’t need, but it’s my fridge door and I need to eat it. During my granola-xtravaganza, my youngest daughter cooks crepes and I mention that Burns Night at the Serpentine was really fun, that vegetarian haggis was surprisingly tasty and that hey, I’ve got some in the fridge for tonight.
She looks at me.
“Are you kidding me? Mom, it’s disgusting. Would you eat chocolate mousse shaped like a turd?”
Excuse me, young lady, but what’s that got to do with vegetarian haggis? She insists that it looks like a nasty sausage and that she won’t eat any. The chocolate mousse turd makes me chuckle. Damn it. Kids.
Lunch is, fortunately, an easy affair. I like brainless lunches, they’re so relaxing.
It’s Day 20‘s leftovers, fried tofu and soba with ginger soy sauce. My colleagues say that it looks very good and indeed, it is. Given that I dumped the whole pot of soy sauce and freshly grated ginger on the soba noodles, my mouth is on fire and I now need a fire extinguisher.
Or fresh fruit. Chop chop, here come an orange and a pear, plate mates for a few minutes in the sun.
Cycling home, I can’t help but think that vegetarian haggis would have been such an easy option. I plot to surprise my girls with it tomorrow evening and give it a new name. Vegetable porridge? Nah, that won’t sell very well. Guinea posset? I need to think.
As soon as I get home, I rehydrate Italian dried porcini in soy cream (yes, there is such a thing), pop it on the stove, covered, at low heat and promptly forget about it while I fill in my tax return. What do you know, the tax return takes longer than expected to complete.
An alarming bubbling sound later, I’m wiping the stovetop and cursing soy cream for reacting like cow cream when hot by spilling over my saucepan. At the same time, I’m cooking new potatoes in a steam basket but they don’t boil over. In fact, they’re barely warm. I crank up the heat.
A sauteed kale later, we sit down to kale with mushrooms and new potatoes in cream. It’s not half bad. Both my girls take seconds and my 14-year-old remarks that she likes the soy cream in this dish. Me too but it’s not exactly the same taste as cow cream.
What’s with the fruit salads today? Clearly, I’m craving fresh fruit. This is pineapple, pomegranate, kiwi and passionfruit (the yellow seed mush on top is passionfruit).
Vegan Meals on the Trail
As I’m planning backpacking and hiking trips with my girls, I polled the Veganuary and wild camping community on portable vegan meals to eat on the trail, using a camping stove to heat/cook. Here are a few ideas that I will try:
- Burritos. Find dehydrated refried beans- sometimes you can get them at the health food store. Rehydrate and wrap in tortillas. Add spices to flavor.
- Ramen is always a good bet. It is quick, easy and palatable on the trail. Throw in a freeze dried veggie mix and you are good to go.
- Thai style curries. Take an onion and pepper pre cut in a bag, some spices, dried coconut milk powder (be careful with shop bought pastes as they often contain fish!). Eat with flat breads or rice.
- Bannock bread is an option too for traditional camp cooking. Recipe here.
- Bean burgers/falafel can be easy to make before and take with you.
- Boil-in-a-bag sachets out of baked beans and bbq sauce in doubled up Ziploc bags.
- If your having a fire, baked potato works well.
- Make vegetable curries using coconut milk and have them with rice.
- Make your own instant porridge for breakfast using coconut milk powder and grinding down oats until they are fine. Hot water just needs adding.
- Chocolate fondue. Best dessert ever. Take a bar of dark chocolate, some coconut cream, and some dried (or fresh) fruit, e.g. apricots/figs. Melt chocolate and coconut cream together over a pan of hot water. Dip dried fruit into it. Use hot water from bain marie to make a cuppa!
- Vegan banana pancakes. Mix dry ingredients beforehand (flour, baking powder, bit of sugar and salt- google for exact recipe) and take in a zippy bag. Then mix with mashed banana & water and fry. If you want to avoid squished bananas in your bag, buy banana puree from the baby food aisle (Ella’s Kitchen do one that’s literally just mashed banana in a pouch).
- Take frozen Linda McCartney’s sausages and fry them up at night for sausage sarnies.
- Porridge is a good one, especially if you soak it the night before, it won’t need as much cooking in the morning thus saving fuel and time.
- There are dried mixes like Sosmix which you can make sausage patties out of and add your own herbs for added flavour.
- Wild mushrooms and wild garlic make a scrummy omelette – vegan omelette (or traditional Italian chick pea fritatta) can be made with chick pea flour (gram flour) which is really versatile. Either make a batter with water and gram flour and cook like a pancake/omelette and herbs of your choice (Italian seasoning is versatile), or you can make pakoras and onion bahjis with it and shallow fry. Trex is a solid fat which is quite easy to carry with you and won’t go off.
Funny, nobody mentioned pasta in their suggestions, but I love these ideas. Any thoughts?