zoot

I'm addicted to superhero movies, donuts, craft beer, playing in the woods, and reading YA fiction. I'm a writer by day and a dreamer by night.

Lazy Spicy Collards

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

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.

Unknown Ingredients

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.

Rudeness

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!

IMG_6354

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.

Spicy Collard Greens + Black Eyed Peas and White Rice = #LazyHerbivore lunch!

A photo posted by Kim Holmes (@misszoot) on

12 comments on “Lazy Spicy Collards

  1. I have never thought to combine the two, interesting. I love turnip greens and maybe I will try it with those.

    1. Full Disclosure: I wouldn’t have either except they served them in the Montevallo Cafeteria when I went to visit E several weeks ago. That’s me…getting recipe ideas from a college caf 😉

  2. A) Love that idea. I put Rotel in EVERYTHING and use my crockpot a ton, but rarely do greens. And B) I like the “label” pro-reproductive choice and I’m going to start using it now. Thanks for both!!

  3. I’m going to have to try this. My husband loves greens and I have no idea how to cook them. He is from NE Arkansas and I’m from west Texas. I can cook some great Mexican food but I have no idea how to cook traditional Southern food. I have learned a little over the years but I know he would like more.

    I want to share something with you about what people think about you. I used to worry about it so much. It held me back from going places or getting to know people. Before I turned 40 I had a mini break down about where was I in my life?? What was I going to do with the rest of my life?? I finally decided to go back to college AND to quit caring what people thought of me. I decided that I liked me and that if people didn’t like me then it was ok. It really made a difference in my life. Five years later, I have graduated from school with a bachelors degree!! AND I have a great group of friends. I don’t worry about what people think about me any more–I’m me and I’m happy 🙂

    1. Please ignore this post ***I just updated my picture and wanted to see if it updated or not***

  4. I feel like this needs to be a bullets point comment, because I have so many random responses that it will be pages long if I try to connect them. Also, I feel the need to get a little personal here, so I’m going to post anonymously even though I know that’s really annoying. Apologies in advance.

    (a) I grow collards, and we can’t always eat them as fast as they need to be harvested. I think I’m going to try this and then freeze it. The tomatoes should keep them from drying out. (I freeze my regular recipe, too, but the crock pot is an added bonus.)

    (b) I have a smattering of friends who are vegan. Its not a big deal to accommodate them, and because they aren’t snarky about what I’m eating I feel no need to talk about it with them or behind their back. 🙂

    (c) I was surprised that anyone would have anything to say about how you eat and what you wear. And then I thought about the fact that a family member felt the right/need to weigh in against my using birth control two weeks after I almost died in childbirth. Literally, it took 5 hours and 26 units of blood to save my life and my doctors have advised another pregnancy – much less birthing – would almost certainly be disastrous. But, someone thought two weeks later that their religious views against birth control were a conversation we should be having. Some people are judgmental and inappropriate. That’s on them, not you.

    (d) Also, yes, pro-reproductive rights. In the event the birth control fails, it will be our horrible decision to have to make. No one else should be part of it, much less my government. (Please, please don’t let us be in the 1%.)

    (e) I have what looks to be the same crock pot. I routinely use one setting lower than the recipe calls for. I have a ‘keep warm’ option that works perfectly for low.

  5. I get where you’re coming from as someone who no longer eats meat or dairy but still has honey and the occasional egg. The specifics are more important than the label – and even then only when someone else is trying to figure out what to feed you.

  6. Have you tried making dal? It’s an Indian lentil stew that is vegan and delicious. I use red lentils, coconut milk or cream (in a can, not a box) and whatever veggies we have around with a generous dollop of curry paste. It simmers nicely for an hour, making your house smell amazing. Some naan on the side and you’re done!

  7. Ugh, I have had issues with people being snarky to me too because of what I eat/don’t eat…Why do other people even care? Can’t they just say ‘ok’ and be NICE, LOL??

    Anyway, love your writing as always, and will try the recipe too!

  8. Can I request the recipe for the black-eyed peas and rice? I’m not even a huge fan but that looks so good!

  9. What are your favorite wool running socks? I did a search of favorite socks and ended up reading your running story. It’s cool you’ve made big changes in the last few years. I find that encouraging finding people who have discovered or rekindled interests.

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