WHAT I WISH FOR US AS HUMANITY

less of the egoistic, capitalist mindset and more of a together

less competition and more sharing

less hierarchy and more empathy

more sensitivity and connectedness with and understanding of oneself and one another

more connectedness with nature and the realization that we are part of it and cannot live separately, if we hurt nature we hurt ourselves

more understanding for the fellow living creatures on this wonderful planet and the realization of the pain and agony we, as the human race, are causing them

more appreciation for the soil and the plants that nourish us, the air, the water and the sun that keep us alive and the people important to us, without whom this life would be far less fun.

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2013! NOW WHAT?!

I’ve really been neglecting my blog baby quite badly lately.
Feeling quite guilty.

Thinking of how I started it and how I was so excited to write every day about all these exciting things, new and old, great and interesting ideas and knowledge.

Maybe it was a bit much for someone who still wasn’t really connected to blog writing?

It took me ages to research, write and edit most posts, several hours. I didn’t just wanna write quick posts with mediocre information.

The end of last year was super stressful for me. Actually, almost the whole year.
My move back to Europe turned out to be far more stressful then imagined and the bureaucratic onslaught that followed was overwhelming.

I have learned so many new things last year and revisited topics that I already knew about.
My favourite topics lately have been “living without money” and “sustainable companies”.
But more on that in my next posts.

I DID make some New Years Resolution. I think they are kind of fun. Even if people often don’t stick to all of them. It’s cool to have a clean, new slate and use the New Year as some sort of deadline and inspiration.

I made a list for the New Year, of things that I am already doing which are good for me and of things that I definitely wanna bring into my life.

Here are some of it:

•Pay more attention to my blog baby

•Spend more time with old and new friends

•Keep an open mind

•Don’t let myself get too stressed by outside influences

•Make more, reuse and recycle more

•Buy as little as possible, especially new things, spend as little money as possible (and still fun)

•Forget about perfectionism

•Work in my own business

•Do new activities were I can connect with likeminded people, learn new things and have fun

•Implement ways of doing things better, like green web hosting, using a community bank or using sites like Freecycle and Ebay’s free section to get new furniture

•Take care of myself, my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing!!

•Take time for myself

•Less internet and facebook

•Eat more fresh fruit and unprocessed food

•Get better at receiving and giving

•Treasure my health, my body, my mind and the time I have to enjoy them and all the cool things I can do with them

Pretty comprehensive list, huh?!
Do you have any New Years resolutions? What are they? And if not, why not?

NO CHICKEN SALAD

This is one of the most delicious things I’ve made in weeks! Just writing about it makes me so hungry, I seriously just wanna make this salad again tomorrow!

But first let’s talk about the name. When the conversation comes to fake meats there is often someone who can’t keep it to themselves and cries out, “Why do these damn vegans always copy meat dishes, they should be making their own dishes. This is fucking disgusting and they shouldn’t be allowed to do this!” My opinion is, these people need to shut up and chill the fuck out! Seriously, who cares?! If there is NO MEAT in it, you can make it taste like whatever you fucking want. Also, what they might not (want to) consider is, that there are certain foods you might have enjoyed in your former meat and dairy eating past and even if not, who cares if it tastes good?!

And then there is this other group of specialists! When they hear something about a “vegan chicken salad”, they are like “Yeah, I had chicken too today and it was vegan. Like, you know, it was on a vegan diet. HA HA HA..” Seriously… I try not to even start commenting on.. that…

Well anyways, I call this a “No Chicken Salad” coz it’s easier to understand what taste we’re going for. So people can easily recognize it. In reality it’s an asparagus, mushroom, soy meat salad. Which is quite a moutful. Literally!

So tasty!

But anyways here goes the recipe,

4 cups soy meat
1 cup canned asparagus (or if in season use fresh)
2 cups fresh champignons
8 tbsp of margarine
1 onion
1 cup vegan Mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic
1 can of mandarines
1 tbsp paprika
vegetable oil
tamari-sauce
salt pepper

put the soy meat with some salt in a bowl cover with boiling water, leave for at least 15min

peel fresh asparagus and chop up into 1/2″ pieces, cook in some salt water til soft

canned asparagus can be chopped up straight away

dice champignons, not too small and fry in some oil, put salt and pepper in to taste and half of the onion, finely chopped, turn down temperature and let simmer

drain soy meat well, and if bigger pieces, cut them up fairly small

fry up soy meat in margarine, season with tamari sauce, put rest of the finely chopped onion in, leave until meat slightly crunchy, add crushed garlic and season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika

mix all ingredients, let cool down, chill in fridge and add vegan mayonnaise.

season again to taste

Of curz this is another recipe, slightly altered, which I’ve got from Björn Moschinski. Who is really making some great stuff and is also easy to watch in those instruction videos(not so easy if you don’t speak German, but I’ll post the video here anyways).

This is so delicious, you need to try it! Maybe it’s just one of these things Germans are used to, mayonnaise based, protein rich salads, but I think most people should like this.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

MAYO WARS

Yesterday I’ve made another attempt to make the best vegan mayo ever. Or just an edible version would have done.

Last time I’ve made it it tasted kind of .. questionable. I think that was due to making it partially with olive oil(coz I’ve ran out of sunflower oil in the middle of production) and to the fact that I was so stunned by getting it to a perfect consistency that I didn’t dare seasoning it.

So, the taste was quite overwhelming and strong. Not so great.

Yesterday, I wanted to make a “vegan chicken salad”, so I needed some more mayonaise. And why buy it?! Vegan mayo is fucking expensive and I also like learning how to make things from scratch. Sometimes..
Not so much the first two trials.

I’ve only put soy milk in it and vegetable oil and both times, it turned into a gluggy mass. Like a big jug of really oily milk. Yuck!!
It was gross. And what a waste!! But what are you supposed to make with that?! Down the drain I’d say!

The first time I used soy milk from a regular supermarket. It had some additives in it, sugar, stabilizers, crap like that. I’ve added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the milk before the oil, as it was suggested in the german video below. And regular sunflower oil.


An instruction video for our German friends – Ein how-to video für unsere deutschen FreundInnen

The second time(in between I had to go to the supermarket to get some more oil) I’ve used organic soy milk, made only from water and soy beans and canola oil.

By that time I was really sick of reading any more recipes. But I saw a great hint in one of the recipes which was, to put the oil in really slowly, because otherwise it’s too heavy and just goes straight to the bottom of the blender. That helped.

So here are my best tips for making the perfect vegan mayonnaise

•Use a small amount of soy milk(half a cup) for a trial, so you don’t waste so much of the ingredients if it doesn’t work out

•Pour the oil into the blender, which has to be at highest speed, VERY SLOWLY!! A very thin stream while still pouring it in steadily

•Apparently both, soy milk and oil should have room temperature(same temperature) or it won’t work

•If the oil is still a bit separate in the end, just put the mayo into a bowl and stir it while also stirring in the seasoning and the oil will blend with the rest

•Put the seasoning in after you’re happy with the consistency, some people put them in in the beginning, you might wanna do that once you’ve perfected your technique, otherwise, see above, regarding waste. You don’t wanna throw all this stuff in and then having to pour it down the drain

Perfect vegan mayo

And here is the recipe

1/2 cup soy milk
1 1/2 cups oil(flavour neutral oil, like sunflower or canola, or experiment with olive oil)

And then season to your liking. This is what I’ve put in.

1/2 tsp mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar(or any other vinegar or lemon)
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

I’m very picky with my mayo, I hated Australian mayonnaise, I refused to eat it and would only eat a certain Swiss brand. It’s gross, too sour and sweet and, brrr, just slimy.
But I’m really happy with how this recipe turned out. It tastes like The Real Deal. And you can season it up how you want it, which makes it taste even better.

Making the perfect mayonaise is like an art form!

Lunch

I would also recommend this recipe to meat eaters or vegetarians. I mean, why eat mayo with raw eggs if you don’t have to. Why take the risk of salmonella, that shit is dangerous. And raw eggs?! Gross!
And why eat animal products where it’s really not necessary?!

Just to make sure the recipe really works, I’ve tried it again today. Well, the first time it went shit again. What I’ve noticed already yesterday with one batch is, that it first solidifies and then all of a sudden goes liquid again. Which is so frustrating! Not sure if I’ve put too much oil in or put it in too fast, but I really tried to put it in as slow as possible. Maybe too much then?!
So, I don’t really wanna call myself a vegan mayo expert now. But I am! It doesn’t always turn out, but when it works, ‘Wow!’ lol

And if you think, “This shit is gross, coz too oily!” or if you can’t get it to work or wanna try something different, here are 2 more recipes, one is a raw almond mayonnaise and the other one a tofu mayonnaise. Have fun experimenting and tell me how it went!

VEGAN PASTA SALAD

If you follow The Forage on Facebook you might remember me talking about some vegan pasta salad I said I’d post the recipe of. That was about 2 months ago. Today I will finally post it. Yeah, that’s the speed I work at..

I’m a bit sluggish sometimes, but it’s a REALLY delicious salad so it needs to be done!

I love pasta salad by the way, I remember eating it as a kid, the more mayonnaise the better. It’s a finely tuned mix of sweet, sour, salty and fatty flavours. Oh My God, if you make it right it’s just so delicious. Also, if you make lots of it, it’s the perfect snack to pull out of the fridge when you come home after a day of work.
Or whatever else you do during the day. Or night.

I normally freestyle most of my food, so I just made a list of things I thought needed to be put in and served it to my guests at our house warming party. They loved it! I was so happy!!

Ok, but here’s the recipe, remember it’s vegan, so you need to get some vegan mayonnaise (mayonnaise is the key) from the health food shop, apparently they sometimes even have it at normal supermarkets too. I haven’t seen it there so far though.

Recipe for 8 people and then some,

fusilli(spirelli)  3bags of 500g
vegan mayo 2 jars
tofu smoked 1pack
vegan deli slices 1 pack
vegan sausages(spicy) 1 pack
(3 meaty things in total)
gherkins 1 jar
onion 2-3
apple 2
cherry tomatoes
mushrooms
or other veg
olive oil
capers 1 jar (optional)
salt
pepper
paprika
cayenne pepper

fry up mushrooms and tomatoes(you can use other vegetables of your choice, like zucchinis or peppers) in olive oil and some spices, when they are semi done let them cool

boil pasta, strain just before al dente and let cool

cut onions, apples, gherkins and sausages and all other ingredients into small pieces, I like them fairly small, but that’s a matter of taste

stir the mayo into the cool-ish pasta

and put the cooked vegetables and the rest of the chopped stuff in

add capers and spices to your liking

stir well

put in plastic container with lids and let sit in fridge over night

Of curz you can leave out any ingredient you or your guests wont like or are allergic too. Or add whatever else takes your fancy. I added the cayenne pepper quite freely, so the salad had quite a spicy kick to it, which thankfully everyone loved. Made it a bit different.

I made one batch with onion and one without, afterwards one of my friends said she didn’t quite like the apple, but she loved the salad, so I guess I could have left that out of one as well. Inquire about your friends dietary requirements beforehand if you’re not sure.

It was a delicious salad, I made another batch just for the two of us a few days later, but it wasn’t quite as good. I used a different kind of mayonaise, coz I couln’t find the other one and I blame that.

This is a great salad for a buffet when you have friends over or as I said, a semi-healthy quick meal.

Next time I might try a potato salad, I quite like that as well. I used to love a good egg salad, but I can’t imagine making a vegan egg salad..?
Have you ever made pasta salad? What’s your favourite non lettuce-ey salad?

VEGAN CHOCOLATE BROWNIES OR MUD CAKE OR SOMETHING

I know, I’ve really been bad with writing lately.. This whole ‘one post a day for a year thing’ apparently didn’t work out. I blame the move..

Anyways, I tried to get a bit more into cooking and baking lately. So I thought, if you want something sweet, “What’s better then chocolate brownies?!”. When I was vegetarian I used to make chocolate brownies every now and then and they were delicious. But that’s kind of easy if you can use 6 eggs or whatever..

So I thought I’d try a vegan version. I’ve had a few vegan cakes now and I thought it’s time to practice making my own.

So I got the following recipe:

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tbs baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups water
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup over ripe banana mashed well
some olive oil(or another oil of your choice to grease pan)

mix dry ingredient

mix wet ingredients

pour wet into dry ingredients, mix well(if banana not very ripe mash up in blender)

pour batter into pan which you greased with an oil of your choice before

preheat oven to 170 Degrees C and bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on if you want it more gooey or more solid

Well, I think I went a bit overboard with the wet ingredients and the dough turned out quite runny. Next time, gotta cut down on that.
The cake has a very fluffy, kind of sticky texture, it really turned out more like a mud cake.

Also, I’m not quite satisfied with the taste yet, not sweet and chocolatey enough, even if the flavour improved over night, as it always seems to do. In the future I gotta take it easy on the wet ingredients and will replace the water with rice or some other plant based milk for a sweeter, creamier taste and maybe even put more cocoa powder in it. I also replaced the olive oil with coconut oil, but that was just for greasing the tin anyways.

Coz the man sourced the recipe, he forgot to put the chocolate chips on the shopping list, so I used a vegan chocolate spread as icing instead.

As I said I’m still experimenting. I will keep you updated on how the cake goes with the alterations. If you have any more suggestions on how to improve this recipe or have any favourite vegan (baked) treats let us know in the comments!

SORE THROAT CURES

The weather has been shit in Berlin. Apparently it isn’t summer right now, it’s RAINING SEASON! Seriously, it rains EVERY day, since weeks. Yeah, The Groundhog doesn’t lie and on Groundhog Day there was the most terrible weather ever. Stormy, windy, cold and I’m sure there was thunder and lightning as well.

So yeah, this shit is wearing me out right now. Also, I have to cycle around the city every day and it’s hot, cold, rainy and humid, changing every half an hour.

Anyways, coz this shit has been wearing me out I woke up with a sore throat yesterday. First thing I did, I remembered reading some really glorious reviews of gargling with a cayenne pepper drink. So I did that! Not so nice, especially if you choke on the pepper, you have tears streaming down your face, your lips and your whole mouth are burning like hell and your sore throat still isn’t better.

It just doesn’t work that well for me and I’ve tried it several times before.. but I keep thinking it SHOULD work. It seems to work for so many people!

I did that pepper drink twice yesterday and it didn’t get much better, in fact it was worse the next morning. I can take pain better then nausea, which I absolutely cannot cope with, but a sore throat really, really is annoying.. it’s agonizing. But I remembered that I read about drinks with apple cider vinegar being helpful.

Of curz I’d only use the organic, unpasteurized, unfiltered(cloudy) apple cider vinegar. The cheap crap you get in the supermarket might work alright too, but I wouldn’t use it.

What you need to make the drink,

•organic apple cider vinegar
•a sweetener of your choice, agave syrup, brown sugar, honey or whatever  you       like
•and warm water

I put 1 or 2 table spoons of vinegar in a glass and then add some agave syrup and half fill the glass with cold water, mix it and add boiling water. I add the boiling water later, to not completely fry the ingredients.

Stir and finished! Now you just need to drink it really slowly and maybe keep it in your mouth/throat for a while if you can. You can also gargle, but I hate gargling. That’s for children!

As I said, I woke up with quite a painful sore throat. I had 2 drinks in the morning, the first one I made wayyy too strong, apparently I forgot that one table spoon is enough and took about 1000% more. I don’t necessarily recommend that, but it may help if you are in REALLY bad pain. Then I had another drink in the evening. 3 drinks a day and my sore throat is almost gone. Awesome!

It soothes it more or less straight away, but if you remember, when you’re having a sore throat, hot drinks soothe it most of the time, but only for like a few minutes and then it’s just as bad as before. With the apple cider vinegar it soothes it and then gets better and better. Sounds like I’m convinced, doesn’t it?! No seriously, it’s good and maybe you wanna give it a try when your next sore throat is kicking in. And don’t use the cayenne pepper, it’s not necessary. ..unless you’re into really hot foods that is!