Preface: This was supposed to be a “recipe” entry but I kinda got wordy about being a #LazyHerbivore and the recipe is, like, a million words away. Feel free to skip all of the crap in the middle. And remember – my recipes are lazy at best. It’s more like, “Here’s some crap I through in a crock pot and it turned out tasty.”
Oh! If I ever do a cookbook that will be the title: Crap Vegans Can Throw In A Crockpot That Will Turn Out Tasty.
I’ve struggled with the word “vegan” since day 01 of giving up eating animal products. It started because I learned that the word has a VERY STRICT definition. It’s not like being “gluten intolerant” which can range from [Gluten Destroys My Intestines So I Absorb No Nutrients And Can Become Malnourished] to [Bread Makes Me Gassy]. No. Vegan is very specific and I learned (from vegans and non-vegans alike, non-vegans are actually MUCH QUICKER to point out when you’re doing something wrong, I have found) that I shouldn’t use unless it I follow the strict letter of the law.
Honey and Wool
See, calling myself a vegan would mean I would stop eating honey (which I don’t eat often but I buy at our Farmer’s Market and do enjoy sometimes) and stop wearing my favorite wool running socks (which I won’t do because I love them too much). And those two things probably aren’t going to happen. I actually know people who make their OWN HONEY. (No smoke involved!) Some do it as part of a bigger ecosystem to support other gardens and what not. And I love my socks! So, yeah, probably not going to give those up.
Donuts are my comfort food and when I’m having a really bad day, they bring me joy. And yes, that is part of a bigger issue as it relates to my relationship with food. But for right now, let’s just stick to the fact that donuts make me happy and so sometimes I eat them. And while I’m fairly certain I could give those up eventually? I’m at a stressful point in my life right not and IT IS NOT HAPPENING.
There are these websites and apps where you can search ingredients you see listed and y’all? I’m too lazy to do that. If I think something should be vegan but it might have ingredients I don’t recognize? I’m not going to search it out. I have memorized things like: Vegan breads. Or tortillas that were made with vegetable oils instead of animal fat. I have done research, but I’m not googling ever item that I eat to make sure: THIS BETTER BE VEGAN.
I don’t want to turn down food someone who didn’t know better made me. And I don’t want to make someone cook something special for me. Now, I usually eat before I go places if I don’t know for sure (I did that this Sunday, as a matter of fact, just ate first!) or I bring a frozen vegan burrito with me if I’m going somewhere that I know they wouldn’t care for me to heat it up. But there have been a few incidents where I’ve enjoyed something somewhere simply because I didn’t want to seem rude or ungrateful.
SO! I’ve settled on being the #LazyHerbivore. I tell people who ask that I eat vegan when I’m in charge of my own food but that I don’t use the word vegan as I’m not very disciplined. I also don’t like cooking so I depend a lot on my crockpot and on stir-fry so I don’t want people thinking I’m doing green smoothies and cauliflower pizzas when in reality I’m doing bean burritos and vegan chili.
But the strangest thing of all, has been how I’ve had to really face a lot of demons in relation to my feelings about “what people think about me”. I mean, I am very vocal about a lot of controversial things but I guess – because they’re controversial – no one seems to really confront me about them. People don’t challenge me about my atheism or my stance on gay marriage or the fact that I’m pro-choice. (Sidenote: I prefer “pro-reproductive rights” because so much of anti-abortion legislation effects people with fertility issues.) No – people don’t confront me about those often so I can live in this little world where I assume no one cares and they still love me regardless!
But people have NO PROBLEM confronting me about my eating habits. A few months ago a guy started snarking on me out of the blue, making fun of me when I said I’m vegan. I had someone just meanly confront me about the honey thing early on. “YOU CAN’T EAT THAT IF YOU’RE VEGAN!” I even had someone point out a (fake) leather belt once and say, “Hope that’s not leather!” And of course ALL of them were meat eaters. So, I find myself doing that thing I did in middle school where I’m constantly imagining people complaining about me behind my back.
“Kim and this vegan thing, what is up with that? How long do you think she’ll stick to it? What a pain in the ass. The only place we can all go eat together is Anaheim Chili because of her weirdo eating habits. It’s so annoying.”
Seriously. I have these visions of people bitching about me when we’re planning outings or family gatherings or work events. It’s awful. And my lone vegan running friend had to MOVE, damn her. NOW IT’S ALL ON ME.
So, while the Plant Based lifestyle has really changed the way I think about food and where it comes from, and I’m so glad I made the change, it has REALLY challenged me to try to try not to be a 12-year old girl all over again and to stop projecting my own insecurities onto other people. Most of the people in my life don’t care, and if they do care? That’s not my problem, right?
RIGHT??!?!?!?! (Says the 12-year old insecure Kim.)
Oh my goodness. Would you believe that my goal with this entry was actually to share a recipe with you? Can you believe I’ve written almost 1,000 words and still haven’t gotten to the recipe? MAN. I need to add a note in the beginning. Hang on.
Okay! Preface Added! Now for the “recipe”.
Lazy Spicy Collards
All I did was throw a bag of frozen collards and three cans of rotel (Ideally I do 3 cans of “chunky” but only one store I go to has that so I’ll do 2 original and 1 hot for an extra kick) into a crockpot on high for 3 hours and BAM! A delicious side dish that I added to meals for DAYS. I do keep an eye on the moisture level and have added up to a can of water if it cooks too low. My crockpot’s “HIGH” setting sometimes gets a little too “HIGH” (If a recipe says 4 hours on “high” mine does it in 3 or less.) so I can’t just walk away. But maybe you can, I don’t know!
Either way – it’s my new weekly “Go To” because it goes good with EVERYTHING. One day I even added some sliced mushrooms I needed to get rid of once and it turned out good. Obviously you could do fresh collards but, you know…#LazyHerbivore and all. I do stir fry fresh stuff sometimes. But if it’s a crockpot night? I’m in the mood for comfort food and my most comforting meals are the ones that require no effort whatsoever.