Thursday, February 28, 2013

You're a Vegan? What Do You Eat (Comfort Food Edition)

This is the winter that will not end.  Granted, St. Louis winters are mild compared to Urbana (it is always 5 degrees warmer here even though it is only 200 miles away) but unbearable nonetheless.  The older I get, the more intolerant I get of cold, of wind and snow and ice.  I still manage to get up and run in the mornings, but it takes so much out of me.  I haven't felt warm since sometime last September.

This year I made a deal with myself: I would survive winter until we went to Nicaragua (Feb 12-19), and by the time we got back, surely it would be spring.  Spring begins early in St. Louis.  Daffodils in March.  Irises in April.


We returned from Nicaragua and were greeted with 6 inches of snow and ice, bits of which still remain on the ground now a week later. The "highs" this week have been hovering near 31 degrees, with a "real feel" in the 20's when I get up and run at 6am.

Wrapped up in many layers and walking to work this morning amid snow flurries and slush, I started to bawl.  People weren't meant to live this way.

My mood, the cold, and extra hours I've had to work in order to make up for my trip to Nicaragua definitely called for a Comfort Food dinner tonight.  I decided to make pasta in a broccoli cheese sauce, vegan style.

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Like most of the things I make, there's no recipe for this.  You just make some pasta (any kind will do), and while that is cooking, chop up some broccoli and any other type of vegetable you have on hand.  You can even use frozen peas, no need to thaw.  When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and return it to the pot.  Add your chopped veggies.

Then it is time to make the "cheesy" sauce.  A highly technical process.  Add a whole bunch of nutritional yeast.  I don't know how much exactly, but probably a cup or two.  It depends on how much pasta you've got.  Then add some vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance, for better or for worse) and some liquid (I used unsweetened almond milk).  You'll also need to add some additional flavoring, or else it will be pretty bland.  I put in onion powder and garlic powder.  Maybe a teaspoon of each.

Stir that all up.  Turn the heat back on really low to get it heated all the way through.

Then, dish it up and enjoy.

A word of caution, though.  The thing about nutritional yeast is that it is a good source of vitamin B12 and protein but apparently it can make your pee turn neon yellow.  At least, that is something this household has noticed after we've consumed it.  I've tried doing various Google searches to find out more information on the nutritional yeast / neon pee link, but haven't come up with anything definitive.  Just people blogging about it or posting questions in chat rooms and forums.  So I cannot really say why this is happening (something to do with excreting all those B vitamins?), but on the plus side, it does not appear to be life threatening.  Perhaps just surprising or slightly alarming if you aren't aware that neon pee could result from such a meal.

I've never made this dish to serve to others, but if I someday do, I guess I ought to let them know about the possible aftermath.  Warning:  Melissa's vegan comfort food might turn your pee neon yellow.


Thanks for reading.

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