Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny

Posted on: Friday 12 August 2011

A group of Seattle food bloggers gathered at Myra‘s on a weekday evening to meet Sarah Matheny, blogger and author of Peas and Thank You.

A former family law attorney and meat eater, she left a full-time career ‘fighting over salt and pepper shakers’ to be a stay-at-home mother. With two young daughters, she created the Peas and Thank You blog to connect to adults.

As a lawyer her diet consisted of caffeinated drinks and energy bars to sustain a hectic schedule. As a mother she was conscious of how to feed her family, and recognised she needed to change and be a role model for a healthy lifestyle.

For a while she was cooking three separate meals for dinner – vegan for herself, one with meat for her husband, and children friendly ones for her daughters. An understanding and empathetic husband suggested transitioning the whole family to a vegan diet.

Her blog is a scrapbook of recipes, family stories and photos, a narrative of an ordinary family who are vegans. She found her voice through her blog and infused it with her personality. The cookbook is a collection of recipes that are on ‘rotation’ in her home, plant-based versions of classic family meals.

Sarah was articulate and persuasive, encouraging us to try meatless meals to improve our health and lower our grocery bills.

There is a pantry section in the cookbook and Sarah brought some of the ingredients with her. My first taste of tempeh was Ann Gentry‘s BLT tartines. A fermented soy product high in protein and fibre, Sarah likes to grate it and use it as a minced meat substitute.

We sampled the tempeh from her chipotle lime tempeh tacos recipe. It was spicy and had a meaty texture.

Chipotle lime tempeh tacos were garnished with non-dairy cheese. Sarah recommended the Daiya brand of dairy free cheese which is available in different flavours and melts.

We spread Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and sunflower seed butter on crackers. Sunflower seed butter is a delicious alternative to peanut butter, especially for children to take to school to avoid nut allergies.

Supermarkets stock many organic vegetarian and vegan products. Sarah was keen to demonstrate that vegan cooking is accessible and doesn’t require shopping at specialty stores.

Sarah baked a carrot cake and made a ‘cream cheese’ icing. She steamed and puréed the carrots, and all the ingredients are organic and vegan in the recipe. The cake was dense and moist but the frosting was too sweet for my palate.

Harlequin generously gifted each attendee with a copy of Peas and Thank You. The adorable pea theme is throughout the book and each recipe is accompanied by a family story, memory or anecdote. Sarah took most of the photos in her book. While the photos of the food are rustically beautiful, I love the ones of her family captured in moments of joy and cheekiness.

Sincere thanks to Myra Kohn for hosting and Sarah Matheny for sharing.

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