The thing most of my friends say they could never do without food-wise is cheese. People don’t comprehend how I can go without it. Truth be told I love cheese, or loved it rather. My sister and I used to sit in this ugly green chair when we were little and just eat slices of cheese. My favorite place to eat growing up was Bananza (I lived in the south, what do you expect) because there was always this great big mound of cheese on the buffet line waiting for me to take a big chunk out of it.
In my early 20’s I finally started looking at what’s in all this food I was eating. I never paid attention to labels or fat content or any sort of calorie information period. Once I started noticing these things I began to cut back on higher fat foods, cheese being one of them.
Today I don’t pay nearly as much attention to fat content and calories as I used to, but everything I eat is so damn healthy I don’t really need to. A vegan diet isn’t necessarily healthy by default, but mine is (lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, good fats, and no high fructose corn syrup).
But every once in awhile I still miss cheese. One of my all time favorites is a plain ole grilled cheese sandwich. I can’t honestly remember the last time I had a “real” one, but the other day I made a strikingly similar replica of one and it was flippin awesome! Of course, if I had recently had cheese it probably wouldn’t have tasted anything like it, but the good thing about not having eaten cheese in years is that I don’t remember exactly what it tastes like.
The best part about my “cheese,” it’s not some over-processed, pre-packaged, non-melting, stupidly expensive variety of vegan cheese you find in the stores. I’ve actually never bought that stuff because it just seems like a waste of $5. And I can make my own. The “cheese” recipe I used is actually from Vegan Yum Yum’s Mac & Cheeze recipe. This is the best cheese sauce recipe I’ve come across (even though my omnivore friends think it tastes like pureed veggies). It’s extremely versatile too. My favorite way to make it so far is with a yam instead of a white potato. And, you don’t need half of the stuff it calls for either, in case you find yourself halfway through making dinner and realize you don’t have miso, tahini or carrots (oops!). It works great as cheese dip too by adding some salsa, jalapenos, etc. The version that made its way in between two slices of grilled bread was made with a red potato, no carrots, sesame seeds, only a spoon full of margarine, 1/4 cup cashews and soy sauce. Cheesy, melty, toasty and healthy! It was so good I even sent a text message to my sister telling her about it. =)
So, here’s to being vegan (or mostly vegan) and having your cheese too! All I need now is some tomato soup and cold weather.