March 26, 2011

Interview with Happy Herbivore & vegan carrot soup recipe

When Lindsay at Happy Herbivore called out to bloggers for interviews, I knew I had to jump on that bandwagon and quick! You see, in a desperate plight to get my vegan eating lifestyle on track, I scoured the internet for recipes and websites that would be good reference tools. I came upon HH the fall of 2010 and have been hooked ever since. Lindsay has released her first (but not last!) wonderful cookbook which I pre-ordered and have made a few recipes out of. It was so good that I referred my friend and allergie-free baker, Susy, to the book. She bought it shortly thereafter and has already cooked up a few recipes.

Without further delay, lets to get to the interview.

Q: I bought your new book, "The Happy Herbivore Cookbook" (preordered it
actually and jumped up and down with excitement when I receieved it in the
mail) and love it so far.


Q: This was obviously a labor of love. What was your favorite part of putting together your cookbook?

I think developing the recipes is the natural answer, but I also really enjoyed working with my testers. There are a lot of hands behind the curtain with every cookbook and much like with the theater, that's usually where all the magic happens.

Q: I know that you do not add oil into your recipes (and for this I am grateful as I also believe in the principles of Dr. McDougall) but I know no-fat cannot apply to all of your meals. How do you balance your fat intake on a daily basis in terms of consuming foods not made by yourself and things that you do cook?

I pretty much eat no added fats. I will have some avocado or guacamole on occasion, and sometimes even a handful of nuts, but there is fat in everything you eat -- even bananas and apples and kale, and a lot of foods (like beans) have a surprising amount of natural fat. I get plenty of fat, more than enough to meet my daily requirements, without adding in extra. I never use oil with my cooking though, I don't even keep it in the house.

Q: I have to say that my favorite recipe in your book thus far are the chickpea tacos. OMG, so good! Even my omnivore family loves them. What is your absolutely favorite recipe from your first HH cookbook?

I go in waves with my favorites, I have so many that I love that I sort of cycle through them. Last week I was obsessed with the nacho cheese, for example, but now I'm really hungry for some of the cornbread.

Q: I have to admit that I have slipped as a vegan eater and ate some foods that are vegetarian. The times I struggle most are during family gatherings and going out with my friends (there is only so much veggie sandwiches a girl can eat!). As being vegan eater for a number of years, what advise would you give someone like me who is relatively new to this sort of diet (under one year) when with family or in a social setting?

My friend Carrie tweeted this quote yesterday and I think it sums it up nicely "Veganism is simply the acknowledgment that a replaceable and fleeting pleasure isn't more valuable than someone's life and liberty." ~Unknown
I am always vegan, even when it's inconvenient to be. Once I realized how bad animal products were for my body, and what consuming them meant for the animals, that was it. I could never compromise on that. I take care to be proactive. I go to restaurants with friends that have options for me to eat, I scope menus out ahead of time, I go to family gatherings with food I've prepared, though my family and friends have become better about it in recent years. For example, my cousin realized she could make a dessert vegan by using margarine instead of butter, and did so -- making a quick run to the store and everything -- knowing I'd be there. I felt so loved and respected.

Q: Is there any aspect of being vegan that irks or irritate you at all?

There seems to be a splinter group of vegans that are elitist--I'm not sure if that's the right word to describe them, but they treat veganism like a "cool club" and you're either in or your out, but probably out because they want it to be "exclusive" and that irks me to no end. I'm all for making anyone feel welcome and not judged. I applaud every meatless meal, rather than getting mad someone isn't eating only meatless meals, and I guess I just wish others were as supportive.

Q: One last question. I know that you can't say much about your new cookbooks to come but understand the second is slated for later this year or early 2012. So far, what is your absolute favorite recipe or flavor element from your 2nd new book?

I've brought in a lot of Cajun flavors. Yum.

Just for you lovely readers, Lindsay is offering a recipe from her repetoire! Creamy Carrot Soup. Yum! It is still really cold here in Ontario, Canada so this soup would be a wonderful meal to send off grumpy old winter and welcome in smiley springtime. If you make the soup, let me knows how it turns out (I already know it will be killer!)

Creamy Carrot Soup (serves 2) -- Oats are the magical ingredient in this soup. They give the soup a texture it wouldn't otherwise have and also impart a lot of creamy flavor without using actual cream. This soup also whips up in an instant.

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup instant oats
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (such as fat-free soymilk)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
salt and pepper - to taste (optional)

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of water, carrots, onion and oats over high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until oats are cooked and carrots are fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender, in batches if necessary, and blend with non-dairy milk until smooth and creamy. Add extra water or non-dairy milk if needed. Return soup to sauce pan and add spices. Gently reheat and add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Thank you so much Lindsay.

P.S., I highly recommend Happy Herbivore cook book for some simple and delicious recipes. They are all vegan but honestly, the recipes are all so yummy, you won't miss the meat!

P.P.S., during the week, I made up the apply muffins in from the cookbook and the batch was gone in 3 days. I admit that I ate more than my share but I didn't feel bad because they were fat free and made with whole, natual ingredients.

What is your favorite cookbook?


Lindsay (Happy Herbivore) said...

thanks fo having me! i love those apple muffins!!

Classy Career Girl said...

Interesting interview! That carrot soup sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

Alorinna said...

I tried this - made it with rice milk, and no ginger or allspice. It was DREAMY.