Meatless Monday: Vegan Sushi


courtesy of Meatless Monday

I’m sitting in the chemistry lab right now. Not doing any chemistry, but that’s probably for the best.

I can’t really think, mainly because the Sri Lank-an kid asked me to play Indian music and so now my computer is blasting “Hindi filmi” songs. How am I supposed to think with Shah Rukh Khan music playing in the background?!

For anyone following the trend, today is Meatless Monday, which is the main reason I am posting.

Please excuse the incongruence of the post. Anyone who speaks two languages (or more) might understand the brain confusion that results from writing in one while listening to another. It’s all I can do to not writing in Hindi.

It’s ironic that today’s meatless (vegan and budget-friendly) recipe is from an entirely different country.


It's sushi time!

Easy Vegan Sushi (with and Indian twist)

makes about 6 rolls (depending on how you cut it)

  • Nori sheets (available in some grocery stores and  most ethnic foods stores)
  • Sushi rice, cooked (I cheated and used the sprouted brown sushi rice I had leftover from an Annie Chun’s meal)
  • Baby corn
  • Sliced mini bella mushrooms
  • Vinegar (I went with a mix of apple cider and red wine)
  • Dipping sauce

Dipping Sauce

  • Soy sauce
  • A few pinches garam masala
  • Garlic powder or minced garlic cloves
  • Ginger paste or, even better, fresh grated ginger

→Make the dipping sauce by mixing the ingredients and letting it sit, covered, for at least half an hour or, even better, overnight.

If you have time, marinate the mushrooms in the vinegar overnight. If not, “quick marinate” them by placing them in a bowl with the vinegar and microwaving for about a minute (covered).

Place the nori on a clean, dry surface rough side up. If you have a bamboo mat, that’s great, but I didn’t so I put mine on a cutting board.

Spread the sushi rice evenly over the nori sheet, leaving an inch or two at once end (this will be the “sealing” part). Place the baby corn and “marinated” mushrooms in a thin line across one side of the sushi (the side farthest from the side without rice).

Roll the sushi and slice it. I would try to explain the rolling process but it was my first time, so I’m not sure I’m qualified. For a step-by-step (with pictures!) on rolling sushi, check out Make My Sushi’s illustrated guide.

If you’re brave, attempt chopsticks. Or do it Indian-style and get your hands dirty.


Whoopie Pies for the One I Love

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Writer’s Block

I feel it’s been an eternity of two paragraph posts never finished since I’ve written here. Perhaps I went too far with the cover letters, exhausting all my “wordly” abilities on them; perhaps I am no longer able to write.

Regardless of the brick sitting heavy in my mind where words used to be, I cannot give up on this blog. You see, in some ways, I feel it is all I have left. The people that happen upon it (whether they comment, read, or only skim) are in so many ways more connected to me than anyone else has ever been and, therefore are, in some physics-driven closed-loop phenomenon, strange sort of friends that are better than any I’ve known in real life.


On the black waves forever
we sail on together,
having fought fate’s creatures with our lost guide.
When power will call us,
it runs madly through us.
Our hearts filled with night-
our tears will cover the light.

On the black wind forever
we ride on together,
having destroyed your sight with freedom’s guide.
When the master will call us,
he bows down before us.
Our hearts filled with wonder-
our pride will shine over the light.

On the black sand forever
we gallop on together,
having destroyed fate’s storm with eternity.
When the fire will call us,
it glitters around us.
Our minds filled with ice-
Our time will destroy the light.

Questions to ponder:

  1. Do you ever have a “block” (whether it be in creativity, relationships or anything else you consider a big part of your life)?
  2. If so, how do you deal with it? DO you deal with it?
  3. How do you think procrastination plays into the concept of a “block”?

Green Living = Economical Living


courtesy of Meatless Monday

First it was rainbow, then chrome; now, more than ever, we (as a society) seem to have developed a liking for the color green. For the record, I have been hugging trees since the early ’90s. Seriously, there are pictures of me hugging trees as a 3-year-old (I felt stepping on them would be “mean”). Sometimes I even indulge in a little self-flattery and pretend I was one of the founders of this trend. I did convince the menu planners of the new college cafeteria to start offering vegan and vegetarian options (other than morningstar burgers and peanut butter) back when it first opened. And I did try to talk my school’s theatre department into recycling instead of burning the wood used for the set.

Let’s face it, though: I am not a “change the world” kind of person. Don’t get me wrong; I would love to change the world as much as anyone who’s still young (and naive) enough to afford the idealistic world-view most people have in their early 20s. But I am not (nor ever will be) a socially-competent individual.

Needless to say, I have long given up on changing the world. I’ve resigned myself to a life of solitary tree-hugging and boca-burger eating, which is probably why I didn’t immediately recognize the progress other (more socially apt) tree-huggers have made. But I’m beginning to notice something: boca burgers are now available at mega-marts, my quiet corner has turned into a noisy room, and 1/7 of year is now dedicated to “PETA eating”….

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that living a “greener” life is easy or that it’s always the cheapest option (have you seen the price tags on a lot of vegetarian meat options lately?!), but it can be affordable. You don’t need to switch to expensive organic cleaning products, buy a hybrid car, or even invest in overpriced veggie burgers to help the environment or non-human animals.

As the “Meatless Monday” movement suggests, even eating meatless just one day of the week can make a difference for both the environment and your health. In honor of the movement, I’ll be posting a new vegan, budget-friendly recipe every Monday (since everything’s already vegetarian here, I figure I should take it up a notch).

For this week, here’s a list of recipes (from my blog) in honor of being vegetarian (or vegan)–the budget friendly way.

DIY Sponge Cake (microwave-friendly)
DIY Cookies (microwave-friendly)
Rosemary-scented Balsamic Spaghetti Squash with Peppers and Mushrooms
Pistachio Butter and/or “Nutella”
Curry-spiced Green Beans
Zingy Trees of Goodness (i.e. Spiced Roasted Broccoli)
Curried Lentil Loaf with Chatpata Butternut Sabzi
…for even more ideas, click on the “vegan” tag

Grocery Store Finds: Blueberry Pomegranate Vinegar

As I wandered the grocery store aisles, attempting to remember what it was I had come there to buy, I somehow found myself staring at a shelf full of vinegar. Among the clinking glass bottles was one that proclaimed it had been infused with pomegranate and blueberries. Being a lover of all things blue and all things berry, I couldn’t resist the urge to pick it up, put it in my cart and bring it home. The only problem is, now I am stuck with a bottle of vinegar that tastes nothing like blueberries OR pomegranate (or vinegar for that matter).

Rather, it has a strange, almost off, taste. As if they TRIED to make it taste like blueberries but failed. I’m still working out what to do with the stuff, but any suggestions are welcome.



And, of course, in classic “Mekkie” fashion, I forgot the mushrooms, which is what I gone to buy.

Mix ‘n Match Cake (Healthy AND Low-Calorie)

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Thoughts on Food Addiction and Bingeing

Binge, a word that, at one point referred only to the over-consumption of alcohol, has come to mean many things to many different people. It seems to have become a universal buzz word for the psychological community–for every addiction, there is a binge: gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol and, of course, food.

Oh! To be addicted to something to the extent that it consumes your every waking thought, infects the metaphors of your dreams, squelches true emotion with its sensory stimulants, and, inevitably, leaves you physically ill and emotionally scarred. No wonder Borders has an entire section for self-help books peddling techniques spanning from hospitalization to meditation.

And, as we’ve all heard several times, if self-help books are a country, diet books are their presidents, complete with scandals, gimmicks, unfulfilled promises and a huge paycheck. What cosmic irony that the populace continues to trust in these books just as it continues to believe the next political figure will save the world. Losing weight and saving the world: two things, I for one, will never master.

But there is a reason these books sell so well: they promise health, happiness, a life free of food addiction. Even the thought of such a life makes me want to run to the store and buy every diet book on the shelf. Unfortunately, I’m almost positive it would do nothing more for me than add debt to my ever-growing list of problems.

There is no book that will undo yesterday’s food binge; no diet plan that will make the pain go away; no photoshopped, washboard-abs laden exercise pundit that will make me hate myself any less. These things, like the promises of the politicians we elect, take time, effort, and, the one thing I find hardest, forgiveness.

I am not a religious person and I never will be, but I will spend my entire life attempting to have enough serenity to accept what is–what will not change–and to forgive myself for the past.

Questions to ponder:

  1. Do you ever indulge in behavior that would be considered “bingeing” (of any sort)? If so, how often?
  2. How do you moderate the consequences of the behavior?
  3. How do you deal with the emotions you have the day after a binge (no matter what your addiction)? How do you separate the physical/tangible consequences from the emotional/mental?
  4. What do you feel is the most important component of “recovering” from binge behavior?

Breakfast of Champions: Lemon-Raspberry Parfait

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I have a confession to make: I’ve been eating a lot of cake/brownies/cookies lately. It makes me feel incredibly guilty, which, from a logical standpoint, doesn’t make much sense. If one were to take into account all the ingredients, they wouldn’t find a single guilt-worthy one. After all, what makes a plate of steamed broccoli “healthier” than pureed steamed broccoli in a cake?

I suppose it’s more about the psychological connections we have with certain foods. I remember my friend telling me once that, every time he ate something “unhealthy,” he would follow it up with something “healthy” like “broccoli”. Of course, being the kind of person that puts broccoli in my cake, my first question was what he would do if the cake was made out of something “healthy” (like broccoli). Not being one to obsess over every bite of food, he shrugged and let the issue pass, but I haven’t been able to let go of it since.

Whenever I eat a “healthy” version of a typically “unhealthy” food, my id and superego begin to battle it out in a dialogue reminiscent of the 1930s comedy sketch, “Who’s on First?” It seems neither one can understand the other and neither one cares to try. As a result, I am left guilty and confused about whether or not I should consider my baked goods “unhealthy” or “healthy”.

I guess the only question that really needs to be answered is why I care so much.

Things to think about:

  1. How do you define healthy? Is it macronutrient composition? Raw food? Calories? Is it more a “feeling” based on what you associate the food with?
  2. Based on your definition, how do you (or how don’t you) moderate unhealthy vs. healthy foods?
  3. Where would you put a cake made out of broccoli on the spectrum?

For the parfait:

  • Lemon Cake: Sponge cake seasoned with lemon zest
  • Whipped Cream: Try my version made with sugar-free, fat-free pudding
  • Raspberry Sauce: Mix low-calorie raspberry yogurt with water until it forms a saucy consistency

Adventures in Molecular Gastronomy: Vegan, Low-Calorie Sponge Cake

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Low-Calorie Whipped Cream

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