Two [crazy, weird, excellent, life-changing, challenging, delicious, scary, wonderful] Dairy-Free Weeks.

On the one year anniversary of my sister’s and brother-in-law’s wedding AND the fact that it is Labor Day weekend, I knew today was bound to be excellent from the moment I woke up.

Actually, before that.

I mentioned a while back that I sleep so much better and that I dream much more vividly — so much so that I can remember my dreams in great detail well into the day. Last night, I had a dream about Jimmy John’s. Yeah. Feel free to judge and make fun and I still won’t care too awfully much. In my dream, I was enjoying my #6 Unwich (wrapped in lettuce) with no cheese and eating their Salt and Vinegar Chips (seriously, those things are little crisps sent straight down from heaven).

Let me pause this by saying I know for a FACT that their potato chips contain dairy. I have had them enough and have passively read the label enough to know that these chips contain milk byproducts. Now I’ll continue.

In my dream, I opened my chips, reached my hand in the bag and stopped for a minute. This doesn’t seem right. There I was, Danielle-in-dream-form, about to eat a potato chip that happened to contain dairy. Dream-Danielle stopped, wiped her hand off on a napkin and promptly discarded the chips because Dream-Danielle realized they weren’t vegan. 

I woke up this morning and had that confusion that normally comes with vivid dreams of “Was that real or did I dream that?!” When I realized it was a dream, I couldn’t help but smile. You know how people say that you know you are fluent in a foreign language when you dream in it? Maybe that’s how I know vegan is second-nature to me now — I identify as a vegan in my dreams and live/eat/dream accordingly. It was the single most enchanting, empowering moment I have had as a vegan and in a really long time, to be honest. Like my inner most self was speaking out or something. I can’t really describe it.

Like I said, this day was destined to be great.

So let me fast forward to this dinner situation that I am still basking in the afterglow of.

Behold [clockwise from top]: Chickpea Curry (from Victoria Moran’s “Main Street Vegan,” basmati rice, homemade naan bread and some cucumbers for my naan).

As soon as I stumbled upon Moran’s recipe, I knew I had to try it immediately. I love Indian food and have been craving it from my favorite place back home for over a week now. If I can’t get my favorite St. Louis Indian food, I was just going to have to get creative and bring the best of it to me.

I thought this curry was actually more more like a daal rather than a curry, but I love Indian food all the same. It had russet potatoes (sweet potatoes would probably be really good, too), chickpeas and carrots — in addition to a bunch of spices. Be sure to check out the recipe in “Main Street Vegan” by Victoria Moran. It is supposed to have green beans in it but I took a liberty and omitted those because I don’t particularly care for green beans.

The basmati rice is available anywhere! An aromatic, long grain white rice, these little gems are fragrant and sweet and delicious to mix in with the curry.

The naan was a TOTAL last-minute decision and one that I was really not 100% confident about the entire time I cooked/prepped it. I have made naan before and it turned out quite well. Thankfully, I saved the pin (check it out here). Unfortunately for vegan me, this recipe called for one egg and skim milk. I’m sure I could have substituted the milk for the unsweetened almond milk I have in my fridge and I probably could have used a baking soda mixture to stand in for the egg. I don’t know though….I haven’t really cooked with yeast enough to feel confident in my ability to experiment with it. I wasn’t feeling very intuitive so I just searched for an all-vegan recipe and found this gem. The difference here (beside it being vegan) was that it was cooked in the skillet with a TINY bit of olive oil rather than baked. Also, it didn’t roll out very big. It almost reminded me of silver-dollar sized pancakes. They cooked up nice and bubbly and golden and toasty and fluffy — tandoori style just like the restaurant, except smaller. So delicious.

I was really scared because the dough never rose very much or doubled in volume as per the recipe, but you’d never notice by looking at them and certainly not by biting into one of them.

This meal was easy. It took just a little bit of prep and if I would have been more prepared myself, it would have been even smoother than it already was. It does take quite a while to cook and reduce but is well worth the wait. Added bonus? Your house/apartment will smell like ethnic goodness. I normally don’t drink at dinner (empty calories) but since today was the day it was, I poured a glass of Cupcake Red Velvet  and savored every bite of my meal with this wine. I have been dairy free for 2 weeks — what would be the official halfway point if I was just doing this for thirty days like I had originally intended. I’m proud of myself so tonight, I raise my glass to a few things:

  • 2 dairy free weeks
  • This delicious Indian meal
  • The support I have gotten from all of you
  • The changes I have noticed in myself — mentally and physically — since going vegan
  • My sister’s/brother-in-law’s anniversary
  • Animals everywhere who I can look at with nothing but compassion
  • The road ahead as I continue learning and growing and loving as a vegan




4 thoughts on “Two [crazy, weird, excellent, life-changing, challenging, delicious, scary, wonderful] Dairy-Free Weeks.

  1. Cheers for making your own naan! I love baking, but that’s a project I haven’t tackled yet.

    Cheers, too, for trying veganism. I was vegan for four years. Sometimes it was easy, sometimes it was hard. Ultimately, I had to give it up because of crazy things it was doing to my blood sugar. I do eat animal products now, but little by little I’m trying to raise more of them myself. (I’ve got the chickens; the milk goats are still in the works!)

    • Thanks so much, Sharon!!

      I haven’t extended far into the bake-sphere yet, except for the naan. I have never been the best baker as it were, so I think I might wait to tackle that one, too! You’re not alone!!

      That’s awesome for going vegan for so long! Did you slowly transition back to animal products or did you make the switch immediately?

      • I started with just some free-range eggs and yogurt and cheese from grass-fed cattle. Then, when I started raising chickens, I had my first fried chicken in five years. After that, I have to admit, I started eating more industrially raised animal products than I would like, but as I am able to raise more myself, I hope to swing back in the other direction.

      • That is so cool that you are raising them yourself! I have heard that it is much easier to gradually reintroduce those things back into your diet rather than make the switch all at once. 🙂

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