Tag: cooking

Tools for Making Homemade Tofu (Zero Waste + Vegan)

Mastering tofu (well, as much as a little grasshopper can master a 2,000-year-old practice) has been my highlight of 2020. It’s all the more exciting because I failed so many times, and when I realized what was hindering my success, it was like a dam breaking. I’ve never looked back and now make tofu successfully a couple times a week. 

Is it worth making tofu at home? ABSOLUTELY! 

  • Homemade tofu is so much less expensive than store-bought
  • Homemade tofu eliminates plastic packaging (i.e. zero waste / low waste)
  • Homemade tofu tastes absolutely scrumptious!

Now that my live Homemade Tofu cooking class is available as an On-Demand class (full video and recipe/instructions), I thought it would be helpful to share the basic “equipment” needed to make your own tofu at home. As you’ll see, I mention a couple things you probably already have on hand, but there are some things that will be new to you. 

Tofu Mold: As for the tofu mold, I prefer a wooden tofu mold, which I’ve had for years, but when I looked for one to refer you to, I found it difficult to find one that wasn’t part of a tofu-making kit. However, considering the fact that the kits provide you with everything you need, it may be worth it in the end. The two kits I recommend are:

  1. SoyaJoy Tofu Kit with Wooden Mold, Nigari, and Cheesecloth 
  2. Yamako Tofu Kit with Wooden Mold, Nigari, and Cheesecloth 

Because I wanted to ease you into the homemade tofu-making process, I also wanted to find an option for you to use a mold you may already have on hand without having to buy one just yet. While a “colander” would work (as some blogs suggest), you need more than just a colander…you need a colander/strainer that will also act as a mold (usually square but any shape will do). So, two options to consider:

  1. A plastic tupperware container you punch / drill holes into the bottom of.
  2. A small plastic basket — like those that strawberries come in. The fruit basket is actually the perfect size, and it creates / presses a pretty little design into the tofu block once it’s finished pressing. 

Cheese Cloth: Whatever mold you use, you still need a cheesecloth, though, so just purchase some at a store near you, or buy some online; here’s one I like — it’s unbleached, you can cut it into whatever size you need, and you can wash it and use it again and again and again. And I do.

Nigari: As for the nigari, as I mentioned, it can be purchased in crystal or liquid form and can be found at most Japanese or Asian grocery stores, or you can order online here (in crystal form) or here (in liquid form). FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve used only the crystalized nigari that I dilute in water, and while it comes in a plastic bag, the amount of plastic waste you avoid using by making your own tofu makes up for it a hundred fold. (For instance, 1 pound of crystallized nigari makes about 240 pounds of tofu!) HOWEVER, I *am* curious about using liquid nigari, and since the one I recommend comes in a glass bottle, it would be even less plastic waste. I just haven’t tried it yet. What I use at the present time is nigari salts that I dissolve in water. 

Kitchen / Candy Thermometer: I mention below that this is not required, but I like to know I’m at the right temperature when adding my coagulant, so I use a simple thermometer to do so. Here is the one I have

The main thing I learned in terms of successfully making tofu was that the soy milk has to be made … from scratch. I mean…you definitely can’t use store-bought commercial soy milk and try to make tofu, but my failed attempts at making tofu also came from using soy milk I made in my favorite soy milk maker. I still use that soy milk maker just for making soy milk for daily use, but for making tofu, you have to do it without a machine.

If you missed the live class, fear not! You can get the video with full instructions and demo by purchasing the On-Demand class for only $9.99!

Vegan Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

We had a fabulous time in our Breakfast & Brunch Class, and I’m still reaping the rewards (READ: eating the leftovers)! The On-Demand Class is now available for you to enjoy the video and recipes! 

Thank you for supporting a small vegan business. xo

PURCHASE THE ON-DEMAND BREAKFAST RECIPES + VIDEO

  • Fluffy Pancakes
  • Maple Tempeh Bacon
  • Strawberries ‘n Custard Parfait

…plus I shared David’s recipe and secrets for making a STRAWBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP to add to sparkling wine or sparkly soda. GET YOUR RECIPES TODAY!  

$9.99

____________________

See listing for my online cooking classes here!

For more on living and cooking vegan (i.e. compassionately and healthfully), my books are here to help:

The Joy of Vegan Baking 

The Vegan Table

Color Me Vegan

Vegan’s Daily Companion

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The Joyful Vegan

Thanksgiving Without the Turkey

Gratitude, community, abundance — these are the values I celebrate when I prepare for Thanksgiving each year. Not turkey.

Please listen to this NPR / KQED Radio editorial about how to enjoy the true meaning of this holiday without hurting anyone. Listen here or below.

Favorite Countertop Appliances + Lessons from a Kitchen Remodel

Food processors, blenders, air fryers, oh my! While it’s true that countertop appliances require some space, it’s also true that they make it easy to prepare and eat delicious, nutrient-dense, animal-free, plant-based dishes. While you can get along without them, I do think a couple are worth the space they take up on your counter, and their price points are really reasonable these days. In addition, I share some lessons and gifts from our kitchen remodel — things I’m thrilled we did; things I wish we didn’t. 

MORE RESOURCES! In addition to listening to this episode, check out this sister blog post that has the links and details about the specific items I mention in the podcast, including my favorite soy milk maker, food processor, blender, air fryer, juicer, stand mixer, and more.

Essentials for a Well-Stocked Kitchen

Having a well-stocked kitchen is essential whether you’re looking to throw together a last-minute meal, a well-planned meal (which I recommend should be the default), or if you’re just not able to get out of the house because of weather, sickness, or other circumstances.

Knowing what to have in your pantry, cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer also provides security and predictability when the future is uncertain and people are social distancing and sheltering at home, such as during the time of the Coronavirus pandemic 2020.

Today’s episode is focused on my personal strategies for buying wisely, eating well, and stocking up — principles that can be applied every day or during emergencies. Also, see below for links to my favorite appliances, including my favorite pressure cooker, air fryer, and popcorn maker!

How Zero Waste Changed the Way I Eat (And Why Baby Carrots Are Evil)

Once you decide to make zero-waste, plastic-free, low- or no-packaging a priority in your life, you learn very quickly you have to make some changes when it comes to what you buy, how you shop, what you eat, and how you cook. Some might find this an inconvenience. I find it an adventure. Journey with me as I share some reflections on favorite foods and how my relationship with them has changed since “becoming zero-waste.”  Oh right, and I’ll also share with you WHY BABY CARROTS ARE EVIL from this joyful vegan’s point of view. 

Thank you to supporters for making this a 100% listener-supported podcast. Become a supporter at patreon.com/colleenpatrickgoudreau!

25 Meaningful Zero-Waste, Ethical Gifts

Aspiring to live “zero-waste” doesn’t mean being perfect or never buying anything ever again. It means valuing and taking responsibility for what we bring into our lives or into the lives of others.  This list first debuted on my Food for Thought Podcast, so if you’d like to hear it in the context of a larger story about living meaningfully, compassionately, and thoughtfully, check out the episode Lessons and Gifts: Making Meaningful Holidays (and Lives).

As for our list, I’ve categorized them into a few different categories and look forward to hearing your thoughts and your ideas for meaningful, zero-waste, ethical gifts. Please use the comments below to do so!

FOOD

  1. Loose Tea — find your favorite in bulk or in tins; if you order from FarLeaves.com (their tins are reusable and recyclable), enter “colleen” as the coupon code for 10% off
  2. Herbs and Spices — If you can’t find them in bulk near you, you should be able to find spices and herbs in glass jars (which can be reused again and again).  When creating your gift for others, you can make theme-based gift packets, such as “baking spices” (including cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom), or “Italian herbs” (including parsley, basil, and oregano), or “favorite herbs for soup.” You get the idea. Add the spice jars to a basket and wrap in a pretty kitchen towel and raffia ribbon.
  3. Fruit and Nut Basket — Go to a local farm stand or farmers market and buy some beautiful seasonal fruits like persimmon, pomegranates, and apples and some whole walnuts (along with a nice metal nutcracker) — even a jar of local or homemade jam and create a gift basket. Add a couple hand-written recipes that feature the fruits you’ve included. 
  4. Ready-to-Bake Ingredients in a Jar — Instead of giving chocolate chip cookies, what about giving chocolate chip cookies ingredients (and promising to come over and bake with your friend)! Get a bunch of jars from a thrift store and add exactly the amount of all the ingredients in each jar, along with the recipe itself. Make it more special by adding a pie plate or cupcake tin, and pack it up in a pretty paper box. 
  5. Homemade Baked Goods — Bake a pie, crumble, or cobbler and hand-deliver your gift! Make my Caramel Popcorn (from The Joy of Vegan Baking), and present it in a pretty  tin. There are so many ways to create a pretty presentation of homemade goodies.

REUSABLES
Give these individually, as stocking stuffers, or Secret Santa gifts — or create a gift pack of some or all of these. (If you order online, just call when you’re placing your order to request using only paper and not plastic packing materials.)

  1. Reusable straws
  2. Stainless steel food containers
  3. Reusable coffee cups
  4. Reusable grocery shopping bags
  5. Reusable produce bags
  6. Reusable water bottles
  7. Reusable tea thermos (you know me and my favorite tea thermos!)
  8. Reusable shampoo and conditioner bottles
  9. Reusable travel cutlery set
  10.  

EXPERIENCES

  1. The 30-Day Vegan Challenge Online Course 
  2. Concert or Theatre Tickets  — Either find a theatre near your recipient and pick a show you think they’d like to see, or buy a gift certificate from the theatre so your recipient can choose exactly what show they want to attend. 
  3. The Gift of Time (in a Coupon Book): Something I’ve done over many years is create a little coupon book, which you can make as simple or as elaborate as you like, that you give to a loved one for them to redeem — for a massage, a home-cooked meal, a movie, a walk, a hike, a dance — whatever experiences you want to encourage you loved one to ask you for. There are companies that sell these nowadays, but I just like making my own. 
  4. Travel by Theme: My husband David and I set for ourselves the goal to sleep in every county in California. When we lived on the east coast, one theme was “Literary / Author’s Houses” (and still is, depending on where we go) as well as “Lighthouses of New England.” The National Parks of North America is another on our list, and that can be done either by driving or by train! (Travel doesn’t have to include flying, though if you want it to, then I recommend my CPG Vegan Trips!)
  5. Local Walking Tours. Many cities have walking tours led by docents who love where they live and relish sharing the history of the place with others. Lots of cities also have themed walking tours — they might be literary, history, architectural, women’s history, etc. (For those who came to my Compassion in Action a couple years ago, I led a walking tour of the animal protection history in Oakland!). Contact a city’s chamber of commerce and register you and a friend today! Many are free; some ask for donations, some you pay a minimal fee for — it’s worth it! I promise!

BOOKS 
 Obviously, as a writer and a reader, I’m a huge fan of books — even if they’re ebooks or audiobooks. I usually buy a bunch of my favorite books to give out throughout the year, and I’ve listed some below that I use as manuals for living every day. I encourage you to create your own.

  1. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (trans. Stephen Mitchell)
  2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (trans. Gregory Hays)
  3. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
  4. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
  5. Zooburbia by Tal Moses
  6. Commonplace Book and / or Blank Journals — I journal every day, but I also keep a common book inspired by the Stoics. (Ryan Holiday explains here.) The idea is to not only record your own thoughts (blank journaling/free-writing) but also to record quotes and thoughts of others you find meaningful and want to remember. The act of just writing down meaningful sentences and paragraphs penetrates your mind even more than just reading them. 

BONUS IDEA: MY BOOKS. I’m an author. I’m proud of my seven babies. If you’d like to buy one or more as gifts for others, you’ve made it worth the work I’ve put into each of them. Thank you. 

ENJOY!


Enjoyed this post & want to show your gratitude? Then please support me on Patreon!

 

 

No Turkey on Thanksgiving? Everybody CALM DOWN!

SHARE WITH YOUR MOM (or anyone’s mom, for that matter!)

If we think a dead bird characterizes the meaning of this autumn feast, we have lost perspective.

I’m Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author, cultural commentator, podcaster, and now…Thanksgiving elf.

May this perspective help you, your friends, your family members…and the turkeys!

Turkey-free Thanksgiving recipes in my books:
*The Joy of Vegan Baking
*The Vegan Table
*Color Me Vegan, and more…

So…what are you serving on this turkey-free Thanksgiving?

The Vegan Police: How to Speak Up for Animals without Talking Down to People

A small subset of opinionated, passionate, well-intentioned people perpetuate the stereotype of the angry, self-righteous, perfection-focused animal rights vegan when they spew invective at anyone who is not “vegan enough” in their eyes. They are otherwise known as The Vegan Police.

Of course I’m very well aware of how judgmental people can be — we’re all guilty of it — and nothing tastes better than sweet self-righteousness, especially when it exists in the name of justice. But self-righteousness,  arrogance, and meanness are just ugly regardless of what inspires them. And of course I’ve been keenly aware of the existence of the perfectionist vegan for as long as I’ve been vegan — probably since before I was vegan.

But I’ve been seeing it so much more invective on social media – not much of it directly because I won’t venture into territory that is filled with self-righteousness and piety and name-calling.  But I’m hearing about it a lot more because my audience comes to me and tells me what they see and hear, and frankly…forgive my naivete,  I find it shocking. I’m shocked at the things people say and how they say them. These comments are filled with so much scorn and unkindness, and I have to believe that the people writing it aren’t aware of how toxic it is for everyone — including for the animals.

As I see it, this toxic self-righteousness is coming from two groups — and this is a broad generalization, but there seems to be:

  1. some well-intentioned ethical vegans who are concerned that veganism as an ethical way of living is watered down by the media and celebrities who position veganism as a temporary, trendy diet. Hooked on the ideology, the badge, the label, the purity, this is the group that acts as if veganism is the end rather than the means to an end. 
  2. some well-intentioned health-oriented plant-based eaters who excoriate the consumption of oil, sugar, flour, wheat, gluten, or soy.  This is the group of dietary purity that scorns anyone as a “junk food vegan” who doesn’t fit their prescribed notion of what vegans should eat (and look) like. 

I bring up both of these groups because I see policing on both sides. It’s really more than acting like the police; it’s also playing judge, jury, and executioner. Today, I’m going to talk only about the first category and save the second for an upcoming podcast episode.

In the first category, those folks attack:

  • Vegetarians who are not yet vegan.
  • People who identify as vegan but who “cheat” or eat animal products occasionally.
  • People who identify as vegan but who have stopped eating animals and animal products for health reasons. The feeling is that if they’re not doing it for the animals, then they shouldn’t call themselves vegan.
  • People who don’t identify as vegan but who have stopped eating animals and animal products for health reasons and thus call themselves “plant-based.” The feeling is that if they’re just “plant-based,” then it’s not about the animals and they’ll still be contributing to animal exploitation.
  • Non-vegans (including celebrities) who have vegan companies or sell vegan products. (Even though many of us live in the real world where we buy vegan products from non-vegan grocery stores and plants harvested by non-vegan farmers and eat in vegan restaurants owned by non-vegans, when a non-vegan celebrity (ahem, Beyonce) announced that she’s creating a vegan food delivery service, the Interwebs went nuts — accusing her of appropriating the vegan ethic.)

But it’s not just the non-vegans who are targets of their scorn. It’s also vegans — it’s vegans who are pregnant or who have children (“breeders”). Vegans who have companion animals (“perpetuating animal slavery”). Vegans who are religious. Vegans who celebrate Christmas. Vegans who celebrate Valentine’s Day. Vegans who aren’t intersectionalists. Vegans who aren’t activists. Vegans who share recipes. Vegans who aren’t angry all the time. Vegans who aren’t Level-5 vegans.

In a famous Simpson’s episode called “Lisa the Tree Hugger,” Lisa meets animal/enviornmental rights activist, Jesse. She falls head over heels in love and wants him to notice how conscious and ethical she is.  

Lisa: Oh, the earth is the best! That’s why I’m a vegetarian.
Jesse: Heh. Well, that’s a start.
Lisa: Uh, well, I was thinking of going vegan.
Jesse: I’m a level 5 vegan — I won’t eat anything that casts a shadow.

Ah, yes. It’s funny because it’s so true.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love people who have opinions. I’m one of them. I love people who stand up for what they believe in. I’m one of them. I love people who speak up for the animals and act on their behalf. I’m one of them. But we can do all of that without being cruel. I feel like I’m constantly talking about walking the line between this and that: walking the line between speaking up for what we believe in and not being attached to the outcome. Walking the line between asking for what we want without being demanding. Walking the line between expressing our opinion without attacking other people. We can do it all. We can. It takes practice, and it takes time, but it can be done.

I think we humans — especially opinionated or justice-oriented humans — are not good at living in the grey areas or at least areas we feel are places of contradiction. For instance, I think what happens for so many animal rights activists and ethical vegans is that we feel so acutely aware of how much animals are suffering that we think if we don’t demonstrate outrage about this fact all the time, then we’re not being true to them. We’re not being good advocates. I think we think that if we’re not in a constant state of anger about how animals are treated, we’re letting the animals down. We feel that if we don’t speak UP for animals, we’re letting them down, but speaking up for the non-human animals doesn’t mean we have to speak down to the human animals. 

I understand the urgency. I understand the desperation, the outrage, the anger. It’s why I talk about this in the podcast series I did called The 10 Stages You Go Through When You Stop Eating Animals (and it’s the subject of my upcoming book The Joyful Vegan’s Guide to Life). It’s not that we shouldn’t be outraged and motivated and angry, but I think some people lose the plot. Or maybe they haven’t lost the plot at all. Maybe the problem is they see nothing but the plot, but that’s a problem because when you see only one thing through one lens, you become incredibly myopic. Animals are victims of horrific violence at our hands for the sake of our pleasure and convenience. That is true. That is real. But that’s not all that’s real. That’s not all that’s true. As human beings, we don’t live in a vacuum.

We are complex people who live in a complex world with many, many inputs determining who we become and what we do and what we believe and what we buy and who we eat. Forces are in play every day conditioning us, reinforcing belief systems, influencing our decisions, and affecting our relationships.

It’s neither realistic nor fair to expect everyone to see through the same lens we do. And as advocates, we want to speak up and help guide people toward embracing their empathy and compassion for animals and not contribute to this violence. In fact, the word “advocate” is built from the word “vocare” – to call – which is related to the word “vox” – voice. As advocates we MUST use our voices in order to be voices for animals, but we have to be mindful of HOW to use our voice so that we’re not only compassionate but effective. We must speak up, but we don’t have to be cretins to do so. 

I will emphasize the word “effective” for those who don’t think they have to be compassionate to people when the stakes (for animals) are so high, but I will tell you that if you think people will be attracted to venom and invective, then I will just say I vehemently disagree.

People join groups and befriend people they’re attracted to, and I guarantee you that very few people are attracted to self-righteousness, especially when something is new to them and they’re already feeling vulnerable and exploring unfamiliar territory. And when the attack comes publicly, that’s even worse, because nobody likes being humiliated. That should just go without saying, but I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again. Nobody likes being humiliated.

I’m not saying everyone has to agree or have the same viewpoints. But that doesn’t mean in disagreeing or having conviction or having opinions we can’t do it in a way that is constructive rather than destructive.

Of course, you can say that in the end, the person who happens upon a negative comment and chooses not to be vegan because of it is really their own blocks and they’re just using it as an excuse to not change their behavior. But I don’t think it’s as simple as that. Yes, I believe very much that we’re ultimately responsible for our own actions, but we’re also social creatures and psychological creatures, and some things really are just a turn-off for people, and if you don’t know that you have an effect on people for better or for worse, then you’re just lying to yourself.

You’re lying because if you’re any kind of activist, you’re ACTING to affect someone else’s behavior, so you’re at least aware that there’s a relationship taking place, that there’s a cause and effect. And what I’m saying is that mean, nasty, self-righteous posts mostly have the EFFECT of turning people away.

Now, in the end, my little lecture isn’t going to change much. It will probably receive approval from those who already agree with me and scorn from those who don’t. In the end, I can’t control how others represent veganism and animal advocacy. And that’s part of the point. We can’t control how people — the media, celebrities, the public, vegans, plant-based eaters, etc. —  will use or represent what “vegan” is!

We can’t control the message, because there is no single voice. My voice is singular; it’s my own, and I use it. Your voice is singular; it’s your own. Use it wisely and intelligently and effectively. How I represent myself as a vegan and animal activist is all I can control, and in being able to control that, I’m going to be the best, most steadfast, most compassionate, most effective voice for animals I can be. 

“Vegan” isn’t a trademark that any of us own. It’s a means for achieving my goal of living in a way that doesn’t contribute to violence against animals. We can help clarify what vegan means, because it does mean something, but we don’t get vegan certification when we become vegan. Being vegan is not about being perfect or pure, and I think this expectation of perfection is what stops many people from even trying to be vegan.

Their fear is justified when they proudly declare to someone or in a message board that they’ve become vegan, and they’re met with smug responses from non-vegans that the shoes they’re wearing are made of are leather or from vegans that the machines on which their peanut butter was made were also used to make non-vegan food products.

That isn’t to say that in this imperfect world I don’t accidentally contribute to the suffering of human or non-human animals, but that doesn’t make me less vegan. It just makes me human: an imperfect human in an imperfect world using this thing called VEGAN as a pretty fantastic way to reflect my values of compassion and wellness.

And that’s the message I want to convey when people are trying to do the right thing. I want them to know that there’s so much they can do in their own lives to not contribute to violence against animals and though they, too, are imperfect humans in this imperfect world. Imperfection is built into being vegan. But so is compassion. And without that, it’s just ideology.  

All of this is in today’s episode — speaking up for animals — online and in person — without alienating people who are trying to make compassionate choices. I’ll be addressing it in this year’s Compassion in Action conference as well as in my upcoming book.

Thank you for your support and for sharing. 

GET YOUR FREE JOYFUL VEGAN GUIDE

Includes delicious plant-based recipes and a meal plan!




© 2022 ColleenPatrickGoudreau.com. All Rights Reserved.