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Our 1 Year Veganniversary!

We have officially been vegan for a whole year! To celebrate, we figured we would each write a little letter to all of our followers! We also included the two recipes that we recently made for our dinner celebration!

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Jenn

Wow! I cannot believe it has already been a year. But then again, I feel as if I don’t quite remember life before I made became vegan. Being vegan has been so amazing and life changing, yet I feel as if this is how I have always lived – or always should have lived.

There have been many changes I have noticed about myself, both physically and mentally, since going from vegetarian to vegan. I feel physically well and energized and mentally more connected to the world and animals. I look at other animals as equals, simply beings we share the earth with. We are each on our own journey, one not better than the other. What kind of a human feels it is right to stop another living creature from living out their life, so he can live his a certain way? I am proud to say that my lifestyle does not prevent another being from living.

I am so thankful to have had my sister, Kelli, along the way. It has been such a learning experience, from learning new recipes to nutrition. I love that we have been able to document our journey and share this blog together!

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Kelli

I am so proud of myself and the changes I’ve made in this last year. Going from a 10 year vegetarian to one year as a vegan feels amazing!! I always say that my diet and lifestyle has been a journey-but just this last year-that journey got kicked up a few notches into a new level of appreciation and compassion for life, people, animals, food and this planet. It’s a new awareness that I have about the world and the way it connects and vibrates outward and inward. I feel like a child seeing things for the first time, wide-eyed and awestruck. I want to live my life as thoughtfully and as peacefully as I can choose to and the choices are mine to live out-which is incredibly freeing once you realize that.

Becoming vegan has made me feel great-inside and out. There is a lightness about my body. I can’t describe this except to say that I don’t feel like I have a weight in stomach that I used to feel . And, I have not had a stomach ache in a year! ONE WHOLE YEAR! I had no idea how much my stomach ached slightly or badly until it didn’t anymore. That was my “normal” before I gave up dairy. Also, I don’t get sick as often! I usually catch at least 2 colds during the year. I think I was one of the only people at my work to not catch any of the seasonal colds that got spread around me-my immunity is up in a big, noticeable way!  I look at all animals now with a newfound respect and compassion. I see the same life force in each and every animal’s eyes and cannot separate a cow or a pig from my own dogs. My periods are light and easy! My nails are stronger and prettier! It’s so many little things and big things that I continue to notice about myself and the world that confirm that what I’m doing is building a healthier body, mindset and planet. I could not have made this step in my life had it not been for my sister, Jenn by my side. We have been passionate about this lifestyle for as long as we can remember and now we can finally say that we are living out our values.

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We’d also like thank fellow vegan bloggers. We are so thankful to have a
community of people to refer to who think and feel the same way that we
do. And in case no one has thanked you for doing what you do for the
animals, we’d like to. So thank you – each and every one of you. You
are making an unbelievable difference in the lives of animals.

– Jenn and Kelli

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Now, on to the recipes! We have been on the hunt for jackfruit ever since we tasted it last year! Finally, Jenn found it in an asian market in Memphis.

I bought 2 cases – thats 58 cans! (We split it between us, Jenn and Kelli, and our Mom). You can imagine how crazy the cashier thought I was! As the guy at the market was helping me bring the boxes to my car, he asked what possessed me to buy so many cans of jackfruit. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I was going to smother it in barbecue sauce!

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*When buying jackfruit to make these dishes, remember to buy young green jackfruit in salt or water, not sugar. The canned jackfruit that is soaked in sugar is ripe and and used desserts.

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Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • canned young green jackfruit in brine or water
  • garlic (about 2 cloves per can used)
  • olive oil (about a tablespoon for each can used)
  • barbecue sauce

– Drain and wash the jackfruit several times.

– Squeeze each piece of jackfruit to remove excess water.

– In a pan, saute garlic and oil.

– Add jackfruit, and continue to saute for about 5 minutes.

– Transfer jackfruit into slow cooker with barbecue sauce and mix. Let it sit for an hour or two, depending on how much you are making. ( We made a good bit, about 5 cans worth. So we let it sit in the slow cooker for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more barbecue sauce along the way. You will know when it is ready when you are able to easily shred the jackfruit with a fork.)

– Serve on a bun and enjoy! We also made some coleslaw to put on top of it – perfection!

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Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes

We used this recipe. (But we quadrupled it, of course!) And served it with spicy remoulade sauce (recipe below).

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 can young green jackfruit in water or brine, rinsed & well drained
  • 14 ounces firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons dried arame 
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon old bay seasoning 
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (quick or regular oats)
  • Bread crumbs

– Chop the onion finely in food processor and place it in a medium bowl. Drain the jackfruit and rinse it well and add it to the processor. Pulse until it is broken into rough pieces about 1/2-inch in size; keep it fairly coarse and be careful not to grind it into a paste. Add it to the onions.

– Place the tofu or white beans into the processor along with all remaining ingredients except oatmeal and breading. Pulse to crumble the tofu finely and distribute the seasonings. Add the tofu mixture to the bowl along with the oatmeal, and stir well to combine with the jackfruit and onions. Refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes.
– Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spread breadcrumbs on a large plate.
– Scoop up about 1/3 cup of the mixture and shape it into a patty. Place it into the breading, if desired, sprinkle a little breading on top, and gently pat into the top and sides. Carefully place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully turn over each cake and bake for another 20 minutes.
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Spicy Remoulade (credit)

1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 T ketchup
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t minced dried onion
1/2 t minced dried parsley
1 T capers with brine
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t sea salt
Combine all ingredients until well mixed.


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Easy Mango Salsa!

Mangos are delicious right?! Can a get a hell yeah?! Well, in our household of Jason and I and the pups, mangos are a typical food that we eat. They’re sweet and creamy and juicy and everything perfect in a fruit! And usually, we buy them and eat them within the next day or so-not really leaving much to be played with in recipes or anything. But they’re great on salads or as the base of a dressing or blended into a sorbet; But, like I said, they usually don’t make it beyond us cutting them up and eating it right then and there. Last weekend though, we went to a party and there was a fresh mango salsa that we went crazy over! (I’m always game for Southwestern and Mexican flavors) So fresh and perfect for summer. So yesterday, before my 10 year high school reunion (eek…can that really be true?!) we had over our friends Jenny and Pete. They hadn’t seen our new house yet, so, trying to be a good hostess, I figured it’d be fun to throw together some mango salsa to munch on after the tour. It was delicious!! And just now, for this evening, when the first pre-season Saints football game comes on, I made this again for whoever shows up to watch it! I just kind of Googled it and threw something together based on a few of the recipes I found-and, as usual, my ingredient amounts are kind of eye-balled until I find the right mix. So here’s how I did it!

Easy Mango Salsa

1 mango, peeled and chopped

1/2 large cucumber, skinned and chopped

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

1 tbsp jalapeno, finely chopped

1/3 cup cilantro, very roughly chopped (I threw mine in the mini processor, I also got rid of the hard stems, but left the thin ones in between leaves)

Directions:

Throw it also together and mix up and enjoy!

Tips and Ideas!

*Add this to a salad or wrap!

*Double or triple this recipe if you’re feeding a bunch of people or bringing it to a party

*Save the cilantro stems for juicing

*Do NOT touch your eyes before seriously scrubbing your hands after handing the jalapeno…as I sit here, typing through tears…

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