Category Archives: freak flag flying

Foodie Friday – Sausage ‘n’ Kraut Skillet

Sausage for a vegan, you ask?  Why, of course!  It’s Original Field Roast Grain Meat Company Sausage!  This stuff is good.  For real.  Trust me.  It’s so good, in fact that when I brought leftovers of this dish in to work, my co-worker, Sprout proposed to me!  Twice!  And we’re both straight!  Magical stuff, this is.

I bought the Smoked Apple Sage Sausage and used it in this recipe.  I was able to find it at my local health food store and rumor has it you can also find it at Wegmans.  You should be able to find it as well or look at their website using the link above to find a store near you.  Here’s the recipe; perfect for those autumn apples!

Sausage ‘n’ Kraut Skillet

2 Tbl. shortening (I used olive oil)
1/4 C. diced onion
1/4 C. diced pepper (I omitted this as I cannot eat cooked green peppers)
3 C. sauerkraut
1 C. diced apples
1 pkg of four Original Field Roast Grain Meat Company Smoked Apple Sage Sausage, sliced into rounds

Melt shortening in a large heavy saucepan.  Add onion and green pepper and saute for 5 minutes.  Add sauerkraut and diced apples.  Cover and cook over low heat until the apples are almost soft (about 20 minutes).

Meanwhile, put a little olive oil in a pan and saute sausage until browned.  Top hot sauerkraut mixture with sausage and serve.

Blog of the Week: Meaty Vegan

My brother.  Isn’t he cute?

First, a confession:  Meaty Vegan is my brother’s blog.  That is the confession, now for two warnings.

#1:  Eric is very strong in his vegan views after making the lifestyle change over 18 months ago with his wife. 

#2: You will laugh your @$$ off at some of his posts.  My brother has a wicked (and sometimes twisted) sense of humor.

Eric used to dream of gravy and ate more chicken wings than anyone I knew.  That was until he and his wife decided to try a vegan lifestyle…just for 30 days.  Those 30 days have turned into close to two years of both of them being committed to this lifestyle.  On top of that, they both follow a gluten free diet.  I consider that whenever I start to think staying vegan is hard. Eric is in the best health of his life and has lost a ton of weight  Hats off to you and Jen, little brother!

Check him out!  He’s lettin’ his freak flag fly!  Go (Meaty) Vegan!

Living authentically

I figured the best way to share my story is by sharing a blog post from my other blog Life at the Lake in which I talk about what brought me to change my lifestyle and become vegan. I hope it tells you a little bit about the beginning of my journey.  Enjoy!

Living authentically

If you look back on my New Year’s Resolution post of earlier this year, you’ll see I resolved to adapt to an entirely plant-based diet by the end of 2013.  I had been a vegetarian since early 2011 after watching the movie Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives.  To be more concise, I was a ovo-lacto-pescetarian consuming eggs, dairy and fish.

By the middle of 2013, I assumed my resolution to become a vegan would go by the wayside as so many resolutions do (see the one I made about writing in this blog more often) and I was okay with that.  After all, I was still sticking to not eating meat and it seemed to be working for me.

But was it working?  In March of 2013, my cholesterol was 274 and my doctor was being patient with me.  He gave me another six months to get it under control threatening to put me on medication if it didn’t happen.  The thought of having a stroke lingered in the back of my mind but it wasn’t enough of a threat to give up the eggplant parm pizza I adored or the cream cheese on a bagel I’d treat myself to now and then.  I resigned myself to having to add another pill to my pill sorter and was assured by many friends who had also resigned themselves to the medication that it really wasn’t that bad.  One simple pill a day and you could eat whatever you wanted.

Then I got sick.  Really sick.

I’m never sick.  In almost 9 years of employment at my current job, I had only taken two sick days.  The company would hand over a big check every year to pay me back for the personal/sick time I hadn’t used.  With this illness, I depleted my sick time from 33 hours to only 30 minutes.

I had a fever, body aches and extreme fatigue.  I went to the doctor but the strep and flu tests both came back negative.  On top of this, I developed thrush which resulted in painful mouth blisters that made it almost impossible to eat or drink.  I couldn’t even brush my teeth.  I stayed in bed for five days.

During this time, I thought about how I had been neglecting my health and I thought about my relationship with food.  I came to the conclusion I had been heading down a bad path of overeating and worse yet, overeating unhealthy foods.  I knew going to a completely plant-based diet was how I wanted to live but I just didn’t make the commitment to do it.  I also knew that the dairy and egg industries were just as cruel to animals as those that slaughter them for their meat.  Yet, I didn’t make the change.  My beliefs and my actions didn’t match up.  

I wasn’t living authentically and I believe my body knew this.  It was time to put my money where my mouth was and live what I believed.

When I was finally feeling well enough to eat, I made the decision to go completely vegan.  My brother and sister-in-law had been vegan for over a year and I knew I’d have their support and advice.  I had every Happy Herbivore cookbook Lindsay Shay Nixon had written but I hadn’t made an effort to actually incorporate any of the recipes in them but now I took them off the shelf and pored over them for meal ideas.

My brother started a blog this summer which has been very useful to me.  Meaty Vegan is his story of going from a gravy lovin’, chicken wing eatin’ omnivore to a committed gluten-free vegan.  His blog led me to a book I cannot recommend highly enough.  Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World not only tells you why you should be plant-based but how to do it easily!  It even includes recipes which make it so simple to made this huge lifestyle change.

After only three weeks of being vegan, my cholesterol went from 274 to 169!  My HDL (the good cholesterol) went up and my LDL (the bad cholesterol) went down.  My pants fit better and my overall health has improved.  Most importantly, I feel like I’m finally living authentically.  My belief in cruelty-free eating is in line with what I choose to put in my mouth.  I did it for the environment, the animals, for myself as well as for those I love.

It’s not always easy.  Eating in restaurants is a challenge.  No more stopping for a Filet O’ Fish at McDonald’s when I’m in a hurry.  Now I’ll stop at Moe’s and get a vegan burrito or better yet saute greens in olive oil and throw in a can of black-eyed peas.  Vegan fast food, baby!  And even though he’s an omnivore, my boyfriend has been an amazing supporter of my decision and loves to create delicious vegan meals which he enjoys as well.

The unexpected bonus to all this is that I feel my life is finally in balance.  I’m living what I believe and it feels good.

169 feels real good too.

Welcome to The Born Again Vegan Blog

Welcome to the Born Again Vegan Blog.  I decided to start this blog when I realized I needed a place to share the important things I’m learning about veganism, animal welfare and flying my vegan freak flag.

Why “born again vegan”?  Well, this term came from a discussion I had with my partner, Dr. D.  I asked him if he was okay with my vegan lifestyle as it also affects him because it affects where and what we eat and many of the conversations we have. Also, I can be a bit….enthusiastic at times.  This was his response:

“I completely support you as long as you don’t become like a religious zealot.”

“Like a ‘born again vegan’?”

We both laughed but the name stuck in my head.  Born again vegan.  Why does that resonate with me?  Here’s what Merriam-Webster has to say:


 adjective -ə-ˈgen, –ˈgin, –ˈgān

: having a new or stronger belief in the Christian religion
: newly interested in and enthusiastic about something and eager to make other people think the way you do
Naturally, I’m “eager to make other people thing the way I do” but I realize there are effective and ineffective ways of doing that.  You won’t find me going door to door with leaflets but you will find this blog used as a gentle and interesting way to share my new found love of a plant-based diet.  

Stay with me, dear reader and see what I have in store.

Because I believe laughter is the best way to increase good energy for our planet, I will share a funny cartoon on Mirthful Mondays.  It’s not good to be too serious about things.

Funny, right?

On Tuesdays, I will share one of my favorite blogs.  Most of them will be vegan related but some are just so cool I that I just have to show them to you.

Every Foodie Friday I will share a great recipe I’ve made just in time for the upcoming weekend.  Because it’s tried and true, you know it’ll be full of tips and variations I’ve used that will help you create a fabulous dish.

Tunisian Vegetable Stew made for me by my personal chef, Dr. D.

3 Bean Salad, anyone?

From time to time, I will do a book review of a book I’ve read.  These will be animal rights or plant-based diet related and I promise to give my honest opinion of them. 

Like this….

Or this!

Also, from time to time, we’ll take a field trip just you and I.  We’ll visit vegan restaurants, bed and breakfasts, animal sanctuaries and other places of interest.

That’s my plan for now but I expect this blog to evolve in the same way I’m evolving and I look forward to having you all along for the ride.  I’ll even let you ride shotgun.  Please feel free to use the comments section or send me a private message at any time.

And don’t be afraid to let your own freak flag fly.