Monday, November 14, 2011

November Exchange

I did not know what to expect going into November. I have never been part of an exchange before and while I've cooked vegan for a while some of our group are omnivores. I did not know half of them personally and was a little anxious if this would be worth the effort. It is common in freezer exchanges to require that people not experiment with new recipes on the group but with people so unused to cooking freezer friendly vegan in such large quantities we kind of threw that one out. 

But as initial emails started going back and forth about what recipes people found or what dishes they made my mouth began to water. The group seemed to be really excited about what they were finding. In asking people to cook outside their comfort zone we ended up with some awesome results. 

I made spiced carrot lentil burgers, winter squash coconut curry soup and orange cranberry muffins. Here are some burgers and soup in progress:

Also exchanged:
Vegetarian Groundnut Stew
Chocolate Banana Muffins
Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa
Hearty Pumpkin Soup
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Sweet Potato Burritos
and Black Bean Sloppy Joes

Sounds awesome doesn't it? Just making the list makes me hungry. I'd say for an afternoon of cooking I ended up with a plethora of delicious, healthy, and cruelty free food. 

Any recipes look like you might give them a try? Let us know how they go.  


Freezer exchanges often center around meat. I know groups that divide the work by assigning each person to cook chicken, pork or beef each month. Often vegetarian options are full of dairy. So I decided to ask around a little about starting a vegan exchange and I was surprised and delighted with the response.

For reasons from ethics to health to the environment I immediately found a group excited to cook vegan. After some initial emails back and forth discussing guidelines, food allergies and logistics we've begun exchanging plant based meals.

In starting this exchange I found lots of information and accounts of groups that use animal-based products. I wanted to make an account of the abundance and fun that a plant-based group can have. 

Have you ever been part of a freezer exchange? How did it go?

Group Guidelines

Our group is experimenting with the a modification of the guidelines found at this blog.
  • Make one meal for each person in the group.  I'll try to keep it to 5ish.  When the number of people in the group changes you will receive an email.
  • We will exchange meals on a set date and time each month. Currently it is the second Monday of the month at 8:30pm at Valerie’s house.
  • Each meal should feed 4 people.
  • Meals should be in an aluminum dish or a Ziplock brand Freezer bag (anything else doesn’t freeze well).
  • Let's try a make reasonably priced dishes--no need to buy expensive or exotic ingredients.
  • Write on the package with permanent marker what the meal is, the basic instructions, and the date (example: Chickpea Casserole, 350 for 30 min, 8/25/11,).  You will probably have to pull the meal out of the freezer ahead of time so that it can thaw.  Write the cook time that should be used once the meal is thawed.
  • Let's try to not experiment on the group. Please try the meal first or be reasonably sure that it will be awesome.
  • Do I need to be vegan? Omnivores are welcome to participate as long as the food shared is completely vegan.
  • If you decide you don’t want to be in the Meal Exchange anymore let Valerie know ASAP so other people can adjust the number of meals they are making.
  • Staples: Rice & Noodles are considered staples.  If a meal is to be served on top of rice or noodles then those ingredients don’t have to be included.  Otherwise include everything else the recipe calls for.