Happy Herbivore Blog

April 7, 2012

This Week's Q&A (talking Brownies, Agave Nectar & More)

You've got questions, I've got answers!

1. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for me on how to pop seeds without oil? I usually put some mustard and cumin seeds in a small amount of oil in a frying pan till they pop. They won't pop with broth and will burn, I think, with no oil. I don't want to eat oil anymore, but I'm not sure if there is any other way to make the seeds pop. Any suggestions?

I pop seeds all the time without oil. First get your pan hot (heat on high) when a drop of water fizzles, it's ready. You can then proceed to pop your seeds, etc. I pop quinoa, amaranth and barley this way. I've also done it with popcorn! I have stainless steel, and am unsure if that matters. You do have to keep an eye on them and shake them occasionally to keep it from burning, however.

2. Can I use previously frozen bananas for your Black Bean Brownies?

No, you need fresh bananas. Thawed brownies are too mushy and won't produce the right consistency needed for the brownies. Freezing damages the texture.

3. I'm interested on becoming vegan, but I'm too young to earn my own money and my parents don't want to spend theirs to buy any special food for me. Is it possible to have a balanced vegan diet without having to buy anything special, or should I wait a while when I can buy my own food to switch to vegan?

I was the only vegetarian in my house growing up (though I was really a vegan since I'm dairy intolerant and never ate eggs), and my parents didn't buy anything special for me or cook for me. I ate the vegetable sides my mother served with the meat, and made pb&j, or pasta when she didn't make vegetables. I ate a lot of rice -- usually I'd make some rice in the microwave to go with the vegetables.

As long as your parents buy vegetables (canned, fresh or frozen), fruits (canned, fresh, frozen, etc) and grains (rice, pasta, bread, etc), and most families do, you will have food to eat. You can also ask them to buy you lentils and beans in a can or dry, and cook them yourself. They are only a few dollars. You can get a bag of beans for $1 and it will last you all week. Maybe also ask for an allowance or do chores for an allowance to buy things?

4. What is the difference in light agave nectar and amber agave nectar?

I haven’t noticed much of a difference, though truthfully we don’t use agave too often. From what I’ve read, the light agave nectar has a milder flavor than the amber and the amber agave nectar has a little caramel flavor.

5. Do you know of any substitutes for water? I need to stay hydrated but I feel that water is too bland for me.

There really isn't a substitute for water -- we need to drink water every day, but if plain water is boring, try adding lemon or lime to it, try flavored sparkling waters, try adding cucumber or mint leaves to your pitcher of water, and spice things up with herbal teas.

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