End of an Era

After a lot of thought and wavering back and forth, I have made a big decision.

I've decided I am done with That's So Vegan.

I will miss this blog, I really will, but it just doesn't fit who I am anymore. I tried to adapt it to who I have become in this past year, but it wasn't working for me. It served me wonderfully throughout my vegan food adventures in my tiny college kitchen, but now my kitchen changes weekly along with my perspective on the world.

There are two major reasons why I've decided to abandon That's So Vegan:

1) I'm not really vegan anymore. I still don't eat dairy products (damn you, lactose intolerance) and generally stay away from meat, but I have rediscovered my love of soft boiled eggs on toast and fresh caught fish and chips. However, I continue to eat fairly healthy and maybe someday I'll go back to a vegan diet- it's just too much stress while I'm constantly on the go.

2) I want a space where I can combine all of my interests and inspirations- not just food and recipes. I want to write more about travel, music, life, and also improve and spotlight my photography more. This is why I have decided to commit fully to my travel blog and turn it into a travel and food blog. I have redesigned it a bit and I'm really excited to launch into a new era of my blogging life.

So, if you are still interested in following my stories and recipes (many of which will still be vegan, anyway), you will now be able to do so over at Wanderment!

Thank you to everyone who has read and followed this blog for the past two years. I am so grateful for all of the support and I hope to see you over in my new space :)

Goodbye, That's So Vegan. I'll never forget you.


Classic Apple Hand-Pies

As much as I love new food and new flavors in foreign places, sometimes I miss the taste of home.

Tangier is an incredibly sensory city. Every sight, smell, sound and texture is all-consuming and ever-changing. At first it all felt so foreign and chaotic, until I walked by a little Moroccan donut stand and the smell of fried dough and sugar suddenly brought me back to being up in Northern Minnesota, sitting by Lake Superior in the middle of July and eating a glazed donut from the World’s Best Donut Shop. Bizarre how just one little smell can transport you so far away from where you are.

Late night parade in the Old Medina
Now the chaos feels familiar to me. The hollering street vendors, sticking my hand into bags full of dried fruit and grains, music from the mosque rising up to the rooftops- this is my home for now. But I still like to walk past that donut stand and think about Grand Marais.

I wanted to recreate the smell of something comforting and familiar in my own kitchen (well, my friend’s kitchen, seeing as I’m ovenless) and what better way to do that than with classic, all-american apple pie. I completely missed the apple pie season... but better late than never, right?

Oh and since everything in Tangier is artisanal and unstructured, good luck finding any sort of measuring cup. I’ll give you guys the real measurements, but the way I actually measured everything was a little less exact:

Despite this, they still ended up absolutely delicious and my friend from Chicago and I savored the sweet flavors of apples, cinnamon and nostalgia.

Classic Apple Hand-Pies

makes 6 hand-pies

Dough (adapted from Oh, Ladycakes):
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vegan butter or margarine, cold
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
6-8 tbsp cold water

4 apples, peeled and sliced into small pieces
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp all-spice
1 tbsp flour

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients, using a fork or two knives. Once the mixture is crumbly, stick the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes to get everything nice and cold. Take it out and add the water, one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough sticks together. Knead for a minute, form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour. 

Prepare the filling by combining the apples, water, butter, sugar and spices in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat on low and mix occasionally, cooking until the apples are soft. Stir in the flour to thicken and remove from heat.

Preheat your oven to 400ยบ. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out onto a floured surface and using a bowl or cup, cut circles about 5 inches wide. Spoon the filling onto half of each circle, leaving a small border so that you can fold the dough in half and press the edges down with a fork. Poke holes in the top of each hand-pie for ventilation and sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. 


Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew

Here is what I believe: if you want to be truly inspired, you have to change something. Change your location. Change your mindset. Change who you talk to, how you see things, and what you do in your every day life. Or, like me, change all of these things in one big terrifying leap.

Morocco is possibly the most inspiring place I have ever been in my life. Not only have I been inspired to start up this blog again, but I have been inspired to write, photograph, and dance as much as possible. At my internship here at Cinematheque de Tanger, I am starting the most exciting project. I proposed to do a series of intensive workshops accumulating into a final performance that combines contemporary dance and cinema projections. The directors went for it (!!!) and now I am beginning the scary and amazing process of creating a community dance course/performance from scratch. It is a lot of work, but it’s the kind of work I love to do.

By the end of each day, I tend to be so worn out that all I want to do is make something easy and comforting for dinner with simple ingredients that I buy from the local markets. The solution? A steaming pot of soup infused with Moroccan-inspired spices. Yum.

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew

makes about 3-4 servings

2 cups red lentils
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
4 cups water
1 vegetable boullion cube (alternately, you can use 4 cups of vegetable broth and forget the boullion cube)
½ onion, chopped
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 tomato, diced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp tumeric
½ tsp paprika
salt to taste

Rinse your lentils and dump them into a large pot along with the water, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic and boullion cube. Turn the heat on medium low and bring to a boil for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and sweet poatatoes are soft and the water is absorbed.

Add the spices, adjusting to your taste and served topped with whatever you desire- I used arugula and avocado, but you could also add some parsley or vegan sour cream. 


Aaand I Am Back in the Game!

Oh hello

It’s been a while, my dears.
I have missed you, I have missed the kitchen, and I have missed being vegan.

Yep, that’s right, during my travels I decided to lapse from a strictly vegan diet for a little while. I know I know, but I’m supposed to be SO vegan. However, I really wanted to be able to fully immerse myself into new places and new cultures, and if that meant trying the local cuisine, which usually happened to include eggs or meat, I wouldn’t say no. Hey, nobody is perfect. But I have missed the lighter, healthier feeling I had when I didn’t eat animal products. I am still a vegan at heart and everything I cook and bake for myself and on this blog will always be animal-free.

If you have been keeping up with my travel blog, you will know that right now I’m writing from somewhere far from my tiny college kitchen, far from my hometown kitchen in Minneapolis, and for that matter so far from anything and everything in my previous life. I am writing from Morocco- the wonderfully strange city of Tangier, to be exact. 

I have been living here for 3 weeks now, interning at the Cinematheque de Tanger and exploring the tiny winding streets, overflowing food markets, and beautiful ocean vistas.

The markets here are really what inspired me to start blogging again. I have never seen so much gorgeous, fresh, and sinfully cheap produce in my entire life, so I figured I had better make use of it! There’s only one problem with starting up a blog dedicated primarily to baking while I’m here…

I have no oven in my apartment.

Some friends who live nearby have one, so maybe once in a while I can sneak a cake down the street, but otherwise you may be seeing a lot of no-bake desserts. Time to get creative.

Like I said in the very very beginning (oh god, what a long time ago), let’s start simple.

4 Ingredient Chocolate Orange Mousse

makes 4 small servings

200 g bittersweet chocolate (I used sweetened chocolate, but if yours isn’t very sweet you may want to add some agave or other sweetener to the recipe)
1 ½ avocados
½ tsp orange zest
1-2 tbsp non-dairy milk

Break up the chocolate and place it in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 2 minutes or until the chocolate is completely melted. In a food processor, spoon out the avocado flesh and puree until smooth. Add melted chocolate, orange zest, 1 tbsp of non-dairy milk and blend. If the mixture seems too thick (it should be pudding consistency) add another tbsp of milk. Scrape the mousse into a bowl and let it chill for about 1 hour. Serve topped with chocolate shavings, walnuts, or more orange zest.

If you are curious about where else I have been in the world so far, check out my other blog Wanderment. I will continue to update it with my traveling adventures, while That’s So Vegan will once again document my food adventures. I am so happy to be back!

Oh, and can you tell I'm getting ready for Valentine's Day?