Happy Herbivore Blog

Eat to Live vs. Live to Eat

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

Earlier this week I was catching up with my friend Stephanie online when she asked me how I was adjusting to the island. I told her while there are some things that annoy or frustrate me such as "island time" (we'll save that for another post) and the fact that most places close at noon on Sundays (a vast change from 24-hour New York City) I have generally found the culture here agreeable, if not refreshing.

This island, if you are unaware, is French and Dutch (it is quite literally split down the middle):

(Just past the airport to the left you'll see "cupecoy" thats where I live, smack on the border. I joke that in my frontyard, I'm on the Dutch side, and in my backyard, the French. This is not really an exaggeration!)

Although I've only been out of the U.S. for three weeks---I've gleaned a lot of perspective in that time. For example, I always knew that Americans were obsessed with BIG everything -- big cars, big houses and big portions -- but I never realized how much that spilled over into other faucets of life.

Let me back up. St. Martin carries a reputation for being a culinary mecca and you'd think that everyone here would be food obsessed as a result... you'd expect dining out to be integrated into the culture the way it is New York City and other culinary hot spots in America --but it's not. People that live here seem generally...disinterested. 

During my converstaion with Stephanie, it all came together for me. The difference is, Eat to Live vs. Live to Eat. and perhaps that is why the French are so slender as a people. They aren't living to eat, but eating to live---it's something they do because they have to, not something they do for the sake of pleasure. --but that's not to say that eating isn't pleasureful for them... 

This is another difference I observed, and it's best told in a story: I stopped at a local store, only to find it closed in the middle of the day. I peered through the window and saw a man sitting at the counter, eating a sandwich joyfully. I knocked on the door. He ignored me. I knocked again. Eventually he shouted something, which I translated to mean along the lines of "Closed for lunch." Okay, fine. The man has to eat. But he ate that sandwich for a good 25 minutes. Then he sat there, for a few more minutes (savoring my guess) until he finally opened up his shop again. I thought the whole thing was strange until a French friend explained it to me. "He had a sandwich. You don't rush through a sandwich." It was as though my expectation---my American expectation--- of a quick and dirty lunch was a totally alien idea to him. "But he almost lost my business" I squealed. "You'd have come back, no?" Apparently, the idea of interrupting lunch to make a sale was equally as absurd.

So, there it is, a primal lesson: you should stop, savor and enjoy every bit of your sandwich.

This part of the culture I'm really digging. They don't just Eat to Live, they live their eating. No dashboard dining, no desktop lunches, no shoveling it into the mouth to get back to whatever they need to do. When they do eat, they glean pleasure from every bite. and they eat with purpose. When we do go out to a restaurant, or even a bar here, the service is "slow" by American standards--I see now that this allows me to savor the entire experience of dining out, rather than Eat.Check please! and we're out the door...

So, now I open the discussion---What do YOU think of the "eat to live" vs. "live to eat" mentality?

Fat-Free Whole-Wheat Vegan Raisin Biscuits (Hardees Copycat)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

Does anyone remember those California Raisins commercials? The California Raisins were at their heyday when I was a child, so naturally, I was completely obsessed with them. I had all sorts of California Raisins swag--from a beloved sleeping bag to some 30 different figurines... (bless my mom's heart, she still has all of them in a box in her attic). 

But perhaps what I loved most about the California Raisins is that every weekend I was able to drag my parents to Hardees for their Raisin Biscuits (You see, kids got a California Raisins figurine back then, if their parents bought biscuits).

Really, I couldn't have been happier. I loved those biscuits. and I got a free toy!

Anyway, I'd forgotten all about those biscuits until a recent visit with my parents. My mom was kindly reminding me that she had all this stuff from my childhood in her attic (I'm telling you, Lindsay, you should sell that stuff on ebay!) when my Dad butted in to ask me if I remembered the California Raisins... and because parents always like to go that extra step to make sure you do remember, he starts singing "I heard it through the grapevine" (my Dad is really cute). Then, mid-chorus he stops himself and says "Do you remember those raisin biscuits at Hardees? Gosh, I really loved those. They're probably not healthy... Hey! You should try to make those vegan!"

I love my Dad.

So the task was upon me to make these biscuits---and I have to say, I'm overwhelmed with pure joy at how well they came out. 

They're whole wheat but still so light and fluffy... I mean, just look at them:

And even though they're "drop biscuits" (forgive me, I'm too lazy to roll out dough) they still manage to bake into a nice, circular, biscuit shape.

The icing, however, has created quite a stir in our household! I like to add a little lemon or orange juice to the icing (that's how I remember the biscuits tasting--with a hint of citrus) but Scott swears almond extract is where it's at. I tried it both ways (and also with vanilla extract, and just plain soymilk) and really, you can't go wrong. It's all really delicious.

I also found (& tried--I'm obsessed, clearly!) with Susan FFVK's pumpkin-raisin muffins. I got the idea from her to use white whole wheat flour instead of pastry here -- and I think that's the trick. Her biscuits are more traditional and need kneading and cutting, but I really love the idea of pumpkin being added in.

Recipe:Raisin Biscuits

Description

A copycat of Hardee's famous biscuits only vegan, fat-free and whole-wheat...though you would never be able to tell! 

Ingredients

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon (feel free to use more or less) and sugar, and whisk to combine. Add raisins, stirring a few times to ensure even distribution. Add applesauce (10 tbsp) and stir until the batter is lumpy with chunks of dough. A light flour dusting is okay but make sure there are no pockets of flour on the bottom or sides of the mixing bowl. Also be careful not to over stir--those lumps are important. Next add 1/2 cup nondairy milk, stirring until a wet, thick doughy-batter forms. It should be somewhat dry, so add remaining nondairy milk (some flours are not as thirsty as others, so if yours is plenty moist, do not add extra nondairy). Drop spoonfuls on your cookie sheet, leaving a few centimeters room between each so they can spread. For round biscuits, use clean fingers to shape and smooth out each drop into a circular fashion. (Yield 13-15 biscuits). Bake 9-12 minutes until firm to the touch, and golden around the edges.

For the icing, mix powdered sugar with 1 tsp liquid such as nondairy milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (the best!), fresh lemon juice or fresh orange juice. For a thinner icing, add more liquid. For a thicker icing, add more sugar.

Fat-Free Mango Oatmeal (Vegan)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

In Monday's post where I talked about my vegan diet, I mentioned how my breakfast always involves a fruit and a grain. That grain is usually uncooked rolled oats. I like the "crunch" and overall texture the oats provide my tofu yogurt and I also like how they make smoothies more filling. (Plus they're easy and convient, who am I kidding?).

Still, despite this love for uncooked rolled oats, I've been slow to jump on the oatmeal bandwagon. Now, don't get me wrong: I do like oatmeal on occasion (especially steel cut oatmeal with soaked raisins, cinnamon and maple syrup!) but I'm just not in love with regular ol' oatmeal and I never been able to eat any kind of oatmeal every day---that is, until this recipe!

You see, Scott & I were catching up on Dexter (Anyone else watch that show? Anyone else find it weird that you're slightly attracted to a serial killer?) Anyway-- Dexter (the lead) says to his sister that his son misses her mango oatmeal in the morning and I immediately thought: "Mango Oatmeal? Why didn't I think of that?!" 

(Yes, I'm sure it says a lot about me that I'm thinking about food while watching a TV show about a serial killer!)

Thankfully, I had two mangos ripening on my counter during this...discovery, so the next morning I took a stab (heh, I said stab!) at Mango Oatmeal--and my god, it's fabulous. It's simple and fabulous. It's healthy and fabulous! It's fabulous and fabulous!

And for all my friends that don't live on a tropical island, no worries! It works with frozen mango chunks too!

It's really so simple I feel embarrassed posting it--but when something tastes this good, how can I not share my new discovery with my friends! (and also, if you're feeling a little decadent, you can totally use a bit of nondairy milk (or if you're feeling really decadent, some coconut milk) in place of the water).

And just to make sure you really get the feel for this Tropical-Caribbean-Miami-inspired hot breakfast:

Yep, that'd be my view from my front patio. (Sorry friends in snow, this sunshine is for you!)

Anyway, so how you make it: cook your oatmeal as you like it (for me this is about 1 cup oats to 1 1/2 cups water) and after a minute or so, mix in cubed mango (the fruit of an entire fresh mango, or anywhere from 1-2 cups if you're using frozen, depending on chunk size) and let the oatmeal finish cooking. Give it a good mix around a few times and then place it into your bowl. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and eat! Really! That's all! The mango is so sweet that you don't need any extra sweetener! 

p.s. If you're feeling feisty, you can also add a little bit of cayenne or other hot spice. When I lived in Los Angeles, a co-worker from Mexico got me hooked on mango with hot spices on it... sounds gross, but it's delish! 

Any oatmeal fans out there? How do YOU eat YOUR oatmeal?