What is The Vegan(ish) Experiment?

Our family (me, my husband D, and our four-year-old Molly) started 2009 with a mostly-vegan, macrobiotic-inspired diet (although I have to admit, the strict macro rules have pretty much gone out the window). I have seen a marked improvement in my chronic migraines, and I'm enjoying proving that we can make amazing, mouth-watering, memorable food without animal products. For a more in-depth intro, click here.

I stopped updating this blog quite awhile back, when life got in the way. I'm still keeping a mostly vegan kitchen, though, and loving it. Have fun browsing my recipes!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 18: Snowed-In Coconut Soup

I've been making menus on the weekend, so that I can do grocery shopping on Sunday and have my week planned out. Well, today things did not go as planned. The 2-4 inches of snow we were supposed to get turned out to be more like 8, coming down fairly heavily all day until mid-afternoon. (And we're supposed to get another few inches overnight. Nice.) So I didn't get to do my morning grocery shopping trip.

I was all excited about trying The CrockPot Lady's Thai Coconut Soup, but was missing several of the main ingredients. Well, you know what they say about Necessity's maternal instincts. I used the recipe as an inspiration, creating Snowed-In Coconut soup from mostly frozen, jarred, canned, or dried ingredients. I doubt that it tastes very similar to the original recipe, but it was good!

If you want to re-create my pantry-, fridge-, and freezer-based adventure, here's the recipe (it is 100% vegan, unlike the inspiration recipe, which contains fish sauce.)

Snowed-In Coconut Soup

4 cups vegetable broth*
1 can coconut milk**
2 T. lemon juice & 2 T. lime juice***
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. chili paste (LOVE this stuff, which we get at the Asian store, but easier to find this stuff in the supermarket)
1 T. tamari or 1 1/2 T. regular soy sauce
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 c. dried mushrooms****
8 strips roasted red bell peppers
8 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (I used the stir-fry mix: broccoli, green beans, carrot strips, sliced mushrooms, onion strips, and diced red bell peppers)
1 lb. extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions: Combine broth, coconut milk, juices, ginger, chili paste, soy sauce, and garlic in a crock pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on high 2-3 hours.
If desired, add salt, more chili paste and more lemon juice at the end.

I use Vogue Cuisine Instant Vegebase, a low-sodium, MSG-free powder. It is $3.49 at Whole Foods and makes 20-25 cups of broth when added to hot water.
**When I use coconut milk, I always use 1/2 can of regular and 1/2 can of lite, to cut the fat. I then mix the remaining half-cans and freeze them in a Ziploc. I usually forget I've frozen them and open two new cans the next time I am cooking a coconut dish. So today I found three bags of coconut milk in the freezer - score!
***We recently found this amazing brand, Sicilia, that is not-from-concentrate. It tastes fresh-squeezed, unlike the "Real"Lemon/Lime from-concentrate juices.
****I used 5 dried shiitakes and about 1/4 c. of dried black cloud fungus, available in Asian stores. Tastes WAY better than it sounds.... It's the brownish-black stuff sticking out of the soup in the pic. If you can find an Asian store, the dried mushrooms there are SUPER cheap.

End-of-week health update: 2 migraines, a 60% reduction from last week.


  1. Delurking here. Forgive me, I'm new to your blog, if you've heard all this before. I started eating vegan a while back, and had wicked migraines in the old days. I noticed sensitivity to natural foods that have a savoriness that works similar to MSG, which is known to dehydrate me. Things like caffeine, alcohol, worcestshire sauce, soy sauce, walnuts, wine, some mushrooms, seaweed, smoked and salted things like soy sausage, paprika, and umeboshi plums may trigger migraines, though perfectly vegan. I am asian myself, and I know often imported food labels do not disclose hidden MSG and shellfish in the chili sauces. Drink water and try things without if you get a migraine after having one of these foods. Biofeedback and relaxation techniques help a lot, too. Hope all works well.

  2. Just catching up, I am so pleased to hear about your migraines lessening, that is wonderful news. Concrete health benefits is one of the biggest motivators to stay with the vegan diet, I have found. keep up the good work, and keep posting your yummy sounding recipes - the soups looks delicious!

  3. I'm happy to have found your blog! My doctor recently suggested that I cut out dairy, white flour, enriched flour, and excess sugar. So far I've fallen off the wagon on purpose just once or twice (severe hunger + a drink + seeing free pizza = problematic). I'm going to peruse your blog and see what recipes and tips you might be coming up with!

    My migraine frequency has lessened to 1-2/week (yay!)--the new diet helps, as does the more frequent gentle exercise.

  4. I don't get migraines, but the recipes and the general sense of well-being that you've been feeling are definitely a reason to push toward a healthier life style. I hope these things continue to work out for you!

  5. Pookie - Thank you for delurking! I appreciate the advice. I am most definitely sensitive to MSG, but not so sensitive as to get a migraine whenever I have foods with naturally-occurring glutamate. Kombu, for example, doesn't seem to bother me at all (although I suppose if I drank a few gallons of kombu broth, I'd feel it). It all seems to be about moderation - MSG is glutamate in a very concentrated form, so it doesn't take too much of it to give me a migraine. But foods with a lower concentration seem to be okay, as long as I don't have too much of them. (Dropping these foods is part of my long-term plan if it proves to be truly necessary, though.) Thanks for your input!

    Amy - I appreciate your support, and hope to see some more of your yummy recipes on your blog soon... :)

    Migrainegirl - isn't it amazing how much difference a diet can make? Pizza almost always does it to me, too, I've found. I almost don't even miss it. Almost.

    sortarobot - Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to try any of the recipes!


I love it when people come back and tell me how the recipes turned out - please consider doing so! Thanks!


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