If you know me personally, then you know how passionate I am about defending ocean wildlife. You may also know that the Japanese whaling fleet recently left port and began its annual journey to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, where it intends to illegally slaughter a self-appointed quota of up to 1,035 whales under the absurd guise of “scientific research.”
Each year, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society sends its vessels, helicopter, and almost entirely volunteer crew down to the remote and hostile waters off the coast of Antarctica to enforce international conservation laws and save the lives of hundreds of innocent whales. Sea Shepherd doesn’t protest or “ask” the whalers to stop, and it doesn’t hang around taking photos while whales scream and die in unspeakable agony. It uses aggressive but non-violent direct action tactics to physically intervene and STOP the killing. This year will marks its 8th (7th consecutive) Antarctic whale defense campaign. I was honored to have been a crew member on one of these campaigns before sweet Zander came into my life, and I am equally honored to be an on-shore volunteer now.
Last year, Sea Shepherd intercepted the whaling fleet at the very beginning of the season and succeeded in sending the entire fleet home early, causing a loss of more than 90% of its quota (and thus an enormous loss in profit). Naturally, the whalers are feeling pretty pissed off about that. So what have they done? They’ve filed a lawsuit here in Washington state seeking an injunction to prevent the Sea Shepherd vessels from going down to defend the whales, so that they may kill freely with no-one there to stop them.
I am a big believer in the notion that we attract things into our lives based on the types of thoughts and energy we put out into the universe. So with all of my thoughts last week about how much I used to enjoy my job before I resigned, it should have come as no surprise to me when the universe decided to bring some of that work to my doorstep on Monday. I am absolutely thrilled to be playing a small role in helping with Sea Shepherd’s legal defense, but it has quickly become all-consuming, and the truth is that as much as I enjoy it, I also miss spending my days with Zander.
Luckily for both Zander and me, his daddy has been absolutely great about taking him out to play with his friends every day and making sure he gets fresh air and good nutritious meals and nice long bubble baths after dinner each night. We’ve been jokingly referring to Alex as “the Manny,” but he is, of course, so much more than that. So even though I’m sad that I am currently passing like ships in the night with my two favorite guys, I know that soon the workload will slow down, and in the meantime, I really do love that they are spending all of this quality time together. I love the smile it puts on Zander’s face, the light in his eyes, and the extra bounce in his step.
But I also love it when Zander comes bounding into the room and throws himself into my arms to give me a great big hug. And I think to myself, ‘As much as I am doing this for the whales, I am also doing this for you. Because no child should ever have to grow up in a world without whales.’
Anyhow, with the pace at which I’ve been operating this week, there has been no time to have fun in the kitchen, so all I can say is thank goodness for freezers, microwaves, and Butler Soy Curls. Most of our meals have been pulled straight from the freezer and warmed up (like tonight’s lasagna that was leftover from December 4 and tasted even better the second time around), but last night, Alex made one of our all-time favorite comfort foods: Soy Curls.
This delectable creation was introduced to us by our friends, Jami and Jeff, who are the king and queen of vegan comfort food. You can buy them (the curls, not Jeff and Jami) at most vegan grocery stores, and they look like this:
Here’s one of many ways to prepare them:
FRIED “CHICKEN” SOY CURLS
2 bags Butler soy curls*
(*soaked in warm water for about 10 minutes to rehydrate, with a plate on top to keep the curls submerged in the water, then squeezed as dry as possible and shaken in a large lidded container with the following powdered coating mix)
8 Tbsp corn starch
4 Tbsp Rapunzel vegetable broth
4 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
Once you have rehydrated, squeezed dry, and coated the soy curls, heat some coconut oil in a huge cast-iron skillet (get it as hot as possible) and fry them up–yum! This may be just plain wrong for a vegan to say, but they taste like fried chicken to us (at least what we remember fried chicken tasting like from about 8 years ago). They are yummy to dip in ketchup or BBQ sauce or agave-nectar-mustard or pretty much whatever kind of sauce you like for dipping. Or you can put some between a whole grain bun with assorted veggies and condiments and make a super-tasty sandwich, which is what we did last night. Well, truth be told, we did a little bit of both. They are also great served cold as leftovers, reminiscent of eating cold fried chicken at a picnic, but minus all the guilt, bad karma, and cholesterol.
Now before you get judgmental, don’t worry, we ate these with a huge side of steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. That’s one of the benefits of having a young child. Without Zander here to make me think about things like this, I would have simply gorged on fried treats all night and gone to bed feeling like I had swallowed a rock. But because I have someone else’s health to think about, the whole family eats more veggies. So it’s win-win! Zander also had a bowl of whole-grain pasta mixed in with his veggies, with a touch of garlic salt and black pepper and a tiny bit of vegan margarine. Not our fanciest or most elaborate meal, but finger-licking good nonetheless, and really not too bad considering everything else that we have on our figurative plates this week.
OK, enough chatter. It’s time for me to get back to work now!