Monthly Archives: June 2015

Hot Day? Cold Soup!

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A few days ago I tried making my first soup out of The Plantpower Way cookbook. I made the cold heirloom tomato soup, since it was both incredibly simple to make and the temperature in Salt Lake has been soaring lately in the 90’s, so anything with “cold” in the title sounds automatically appealing. Ugh. The heat always gets me down, especially when I try to do fun things outside but then end up in a hot, sweaty mess within minutes. This cold soup, however, was just the right thing to finish off another roasting day in the valley: totally quick and totally refreshing!

If you’ve ever had gazpacho, this soup was basically a chunky version. I am hesitant to post the actual recipe here, since it came out of a brand new cookbook. However, the basic idea was to put about 6-7 heirloom tomatoes, celery, cucumber, fresh basil, and fresh mint into a blender/food processor and process until the soup became a lightly chunky gazpacho. So easy!! So if you ever need a simple, light, refreshing, quick dinner, skip the prepackaged stuff and blend up some veggies into a cold soup. You won’t be disappointed! (They also say it is great for your skin, so it’s worth a try).

In other news, I have started my summer job working with the Outdoor Program! Thus far we have been working with a lot of the summer camps that come to campus, mostly just being their belay slaves at the climbing wall. Luckily, I get to go outside tomorrow and take a bunch of young ladies out on a hike up in Big Cottonwood Canyon! Hopefully the mountains will provide a nice outdoor break from the indoor climbing wall, as well as a break from the sweltering heat down in the valley. Also, next week I get to go out on a day-long flyfishing trip! I have never been flyfishing in my entire life, so I really don’t even know how to “lead” a flyfishing trip at all, but it will be an adventurous experience either way. All in all, I can’t complain too much about my summer. If I’m not working (or is it actually playing for pay?) I get to go do fun stuff with Bridger and enjoy all that the SLC area has to offer. Here’s a concluding picture (or two) of Bridger and I on top of Mount Olympus last weekend. It was a hot and sweaty trudge straight uphill, but the view at the top was pretty neat.

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Bumpy Road

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It’s no secret: veganism can be a tough lifestyle to stick to. Recently I have been suffering from a lot of desire for things that I shouldn’t have: going out to pizza with the roommates and having to opt for a cheeseless version as they enjoy their gooey, cheesy pies; walking into our apartment with the smell of fresh-baked, non-vegan cookies thick in the air; wishing for a veggie and egg scramble topped with cheddar on buttered toast instead of my normal oatmeal or brown rice cereal. Let’s face it, non-vegan food is freakin delicious! And sometimes I do give in as I snag a fresh baked cookie off the cooling rack, but I have to remind myself that it is just a little bump in the road.

To cure myself of this bumpy road of vegan depression, I turned to my new vegan bible, The Plantpower Way, hoping they would have a section that would give me a little hope for my future. And they did! First, they have a great section on the protein dilemma that everyone seems to drill vegans with. Where do we get our protein? I have to say I started having my own doubts, thinking that I should perhaps reinstate eggs into my diet so I can get higher levels of protein. But really, there are so many extremely fit people, even international athletes, who eat a plant-based diet with no protein deficiencies. In the book, they claim that only about 10% of your daily calories should be protein to maintain a healthy body, which is pretty easy to accomplish without even focusing on your protein intake. Of course, eating a variety of grains, beans, nuts, veggies, and fruits is the key to maintaining balance, but the point is that protein isn’t really that big of a deal.

Second, one of the authors wrote a great section on how the transition to veganism is really tough, but we need to switch our perception of veganism from one of deprivation to thinking of all of the great culinary opportunities the plant-based diet provides. It is so easy, as I have done myself many a time, to think of all of the things I can’t have: no ice cream, no scrambled eggs, no gourmet cheeses. But it is time to focus on all of the things I get to have: coconut cream ice cream, tofu scrambles and superfood vegan pancakes for breakfast, gourmet nut cheeses that I never would have tried if I still was eating regular parmesan. I am opening doors to a new world of wonderful, nourishing foods that will support my body and help me to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

So yeah, this journey hasn’t been easy. But I guess no journey that is actually worthwhile is ever easy. And I still feel very passionately that it is my duty, as an individual who enjoys so many things that our beautiful planet has to offer, to help protect and conserve the health of our only home.