My hometown is full of great restaurants and grocery stores that have everything you could ever need to adopt the vegan lifestyle. I have to admit that a large portion of my hesitation in becoming a vegetarian or vegan was rooted in the limited food choices when away at college. I love having options, especially when it comes to food.
College students eating in the dining hall every day, three times a day, know how wonderful it is to come home and have home cooked meals and options galore. Even though BC dining serves good food and a decent amount of options, it’s no surprise that most students hit a food rut at one time or another. Further limiting my food options while away at school has always seemed like an added stress to me.
My friends and I do make a conscious effort to eat less meat while at school. Especially during second semester, we ate less white meat and no red meat to try and be a little healthier. Not only did it really help us all eat healthier, but also it really made me appreciate the difficulty that vegetarians and vegans go through at BC and at any other school.
Being at home means that I really have no excuse when it comes to eating healthy. Having a kitchen is a luxury now, and I intend to use it to its full potential. Vegan cooking is a challenge, but vegan baking is just tough.
This week I decided to try my hand at making some vegan chocolate chip cookies. It may not have been the best idea considering the 90-degree weather and lack of air conditioning in my house, but it didn’t turn out too bad. The great thing about making these cookies was that they didn’t need to bake long. Heating up an oven in the midst of a heat wave becomes a lot less intimidating when the cooking time is cut in half.
Shopping for the ingredients for this particular recipe can be a challenge. Instead of using butter and eggs like regular cookies, vegan cookies call for vegan margarine, vegan chocolate chips and egg replacer. Vegan margarine and vegan chocolate chips are not too hard to find. Most grocery stores do sell them; just make sure that you double-check the ingredients for any animal products.
Egg replacer is another story. The first time I used egg replacer, I have to admit, it was weird. Mixing this powdery stuff with water and seeing how runny it was made me doubt its ability to truly replace egg in the cookie mix. However, the mix does the job and the cookies turn out just as good without real eggs. The great thing about egg replacer is that you can keep it for nearly an entire year before having to get a new mix, which is great for someone who doesn’t keep eggs in the house or doesn’t bake often.
My mom has been a reluctant supporter of this undertaking. While she respects my food exploration and likes to see me cooking, she doesn’t understand why I’m specifically focusing on vegan food when I’m not even a vegetarian. Fair enough, mom. Eating vegan meals does not make one a vegan. The vegan lifestyle calls for a total absence of animal made products, whether they be food, clothing or otherwise. The barrier between people and their food has grown exponentially as people seek out urban lifestyles and leave behind the connection that people once had to their crops and their animals. I’m not saying that we all need to go back to the caveman era and hunt for our own food. Progress is great, humans are smart and life has become a lot easier. Just don’t forget where your meal came from.
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of vegan margarine
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs (egg replacer)
1 ½ cups vegan chocolate chips
1. Mix together the flour, salt, nutmeg, oats and baking soda in one bowl. The oats and nutmeg are optional, but I added them for extra flavor and texture.
2. In separate large bowl, beat together the margarine, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and egg replacement. Make sure to follow the directions on the package to mix enough for two eggs before adding it to the other ingredients.
3. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.
4. Stir in the vegan chocolate chips.
5. Place a medium spoonful onto a cookie sheet for each cookie. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.