26 March 2011

Tricky Ingredients

(Knitted by my friend Lizzie.)
A vi-curious (omnivore who digs eating vegan) friend of mine was saying she has a lot of trouble finding some vegan ingredients.  Girl, so do I!  It's not easy being vegan the Scottish countryside.  If it weren't for the large Indian population in the UK, I would be totally screwed.

Black beans, wheat berries, nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten and such all have to be ordered from specialty places on-line, although I can make a special day-trip to the big city and hit the See Woo in Glasgow for black beans and wheat berries (and dried fungus and miso paste and seaweed and spices).  And don't even get me talkin' about Latin American ingredients like tomatillos or mole.  Tofu and tahini can, thankfully, be found in some stores, although tofu is getting more expensive and harder to find.  I even went to a heath food store in Glasgow once and they were OUT OF TOFU!!  They were, like, "we run out of tofu all the time."  So why don't you stock more?  They shrugged.  

So, I'm wondering what ingredients are hard for you guys to find?  I'm going to try to come up with some recipes with simpler ingredients.

Slow-cooked cassoulet.  Such tender carrots!

I have an update for you on my slow cooker -- I LOVE it!  It's probably the one of the most well-spent £7.99 ever.  :D  I've gotten lots of recipes and inspiration from this book and this blog and I use it all the time.  I made a cassoulet from the aforementioned book and the carrots were sooo tender!  I'm usually pretty neutral when it comes to cooked carrots, but these were lovely.

I also got a waffle maker1c flour, 1c soy milk, 1 tbsp baking powder, and 1 tbsp oil and you are good to go (that makes about 6 waffles, so I usually triple it -- I've found you don't really need to triple the amount of baking powder -- you know in case you are always running low, like me).  My husband had 12 waffles the first time I made them.  12!!  I usually make 40 or 50 in one go (seriously!) and freeze a bunch for later (they fit in the toaster perfectly).  I also made falafel and hash browns in my waffle maker.  It is so much fun.

And on a totally different non-food, non-crafter note, MINIMALISM.  I've decided to get rid of some of my non-essentials & other things I don't use as often as I used to and have been looking at minimalist blogs for inspiration.  I'm not a total hoarder, but I do struggle with getting rid of sentimental things.  If you guys have any tips, philosophies, or interesting links and such, please share!

Much love from your favourite Crabby Crafter!  :D


  1. Have you tried the Seitan recipe in the Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook?

  2. Not yet, but I plan to try it some time when the scarecrow (husband) is free to watch the kids for a long while (he's been busy lately and both of them pretty much refuse to take naps).

  3. What I have a hard time finding in downtown Detroit:
    1. Peanut Butter with only peanuts as an ingredient.
    2. Affordable soy milk.
    3. Soy yogurt. The store runs out of it all the time.
    4. An item that I wish I could get here is Toby's Tofu Pate. I ate a lot of that stuff when I lived in Portland. I think it was basically like egg salad, but made with tofu and veganaise. I also miss Higher Taste Spicy TLC sandwiches, which I think were seitan. In general, I miss all the delicious vegan junk food that was available in Portland.

    Luckily there is are large Indian and Middle Eastern populations in my vicinity. Not far from here is "Mexicantown" that has a great Mexican grocer called "Honeybee Market." So I can find all the legumes, spices and giant bags of reasonably priced basmati rice that I need.

    On Minimalism: The best way to reduce stuff is to move. Sometimes I have been known to just rearrange everything, and pretend that I am moving. I take everything out of every box that is tucked in every corner, and rearrange all the furniture, and really evaluate why I am hanging on to all the crap. Just a year ago, I moved across the country, and already I am accumulating useless crap.
    I have a lot of sentimentality over things. Sometimes I have to sit with an item in my hands for a bit and think, "Will I still have whatever memory I am clinging to if I don't have this object?" Also, I can't put things aside to donate. Eventually, I take everything out of my donation pile, unless I get rid of it immediately. It is a freeing, light and scary feeling to just pitch something in the dumpster, but that's the only way I can do it sometimes. I also have been known to take or draw pictures of sentimental objects before I get rid of them.
    Here in the city, we have some issues with critters (roaches and bedbugs). I also use that as an incentive to release my clutter. Give those creeps fewer places to hide, and make it easier for me to keep up on my preventative cleaning.

  4. I'm so glad you're getting ideas from my blog! Slow cooking makes life so much easier!

  5. 'Vi-Curious' is a such a great turn of phrase haha!
    Oh wow, tofu IS expensive huh? I can only get it from Tesco and it's usually £2.52 a block - just ridiculous!
    I love my slow-cooker too, it speaks to the lazy cook in me, I love doing soup or just huge veggie mixes in it, and it's great for cooking up a big batch of beans. Great stuff :D

  6. I was in Chapters and came across the book "100 Things Challenge" (or something along those lines). Where a guy whittled all his possessions down to 100 things.

    While he did have a list, some items were very specific (tooth brush) some not so much (library).

    An interesting thought experiment, for sure, but I'm not so interested. I'm all about getting rid of things I don't need/use, but even though I don't NEED my KA Standmixer, you'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

  7. OH! And for the life of me, I can't find dried fruit that DOESN'T have sugar added. Even the 'health food store' has organic cane sugar.