Vegan Alternatives to Traditional Summer Barbecue Fare

Being a vegan (or a vegetarian) can be a little challenging in the season of meat-eating parties. If you’re planning a summer barbecue there’s still plenty of time to add vegan alternatives to the traditional party menu. There’s no excuse for vegans to settle for the veggie platter and potato chip bowl where there are delicious alternatives out there that even meat-eaters will like!

Alternative to Mayonnaise-based Potato Salad: German Potato Salad (without the bacon, of course). Carnivores and vegans alike will love German potato salad. Sugar and vinegar make for a sweet and tangy salad. German potato salad is traditionally served warm, but it’s just as yummy cold. The bonus to not using mayo is that the salad can be outside longer without risk of spoilage. About.com’s vegetarian section has a great recipe.

Related: Best Vegan Protein Powder

Alternative to Mayonnaise-based Pasta Salad: pasta with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Penne, ziti and especially rotini are good choices for the pasta. Add green, yellow and red bell peppers and you’re good to go. Just like the German potato salad, the pasta salad with balsamic vinaigrette can be outside without the risk of spoilage that a mayo-based salad would have.

Alternative to Traditional Baked Beans: Texas Caviar. Don’t let the name fool you, there are no fish eggs involved. Texas Caviar is a mixture of several types of beans (kidney, black and pinto work well, but a lot of recipes use black-eyed peas), hominy, green peppers, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes and Italian dressing. Serve with tortilla chips.

Alternative to Hamburgers: Grilled portobello mushrooms. Thick and meaty, filling and delicious on a whole grain hamburger bun. Marinate the mushroom cap with the gills up in a balsamic vinaigrette and toss on the grill just like a hamburger. Just be sure the spot on the grill hasn’t been used to cook meat.

Alternative to Hot Dogs: tofu dogs. While I’ve tried to come up with alternatives, not substitutes, for traditional barbecue fare, there really isn’t an alternative to a hot dog. And there’s probably no chance meat-eaters will opt for vegan alternative, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

Alternative to Dairy-Based Dips: guacamole. Everyone like a good guac! Just be sure your recipe includes lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. For a heartier guacamole, add finely chopped onions and tomatoes. For a little zip on your chip, add a finely chopped jalapeno too.

Alternative to Cakes: vegan fruit pizza. It’s easy to hold and walk around with, no need for forks or plates like you need with cake. Check out About.com’s recipe. Get creative with the fruits: no need to stick with the traditional fruits if you don’t want to.

Alternative to Ice Cream: watermelon granita. If you’ve never heard of granita before, think of it as a cross between sorbet and a snow cone but really easy to make. Puree watermelon, sugar and a little lemon juice, pour into shallow, wide pan like a cookie sheet and freeze. Take a look at The Food Network for complete instructions.

With these delicious alternatives to traditional the summer barbecue menu, vegans can leave parties stuffed just like their carnivorous friends. And party hosts no longer have to dread having their vegan friends over for dinner.

World Go Vegan Week

Since 2005, new and seasoned vegans alike have been celebrating the last week in October as World Go Vegan Week. As the final week of Vegetarian Awareness Month, it’s the perfect opportunity to spread the word about the health and environmental benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Veganism is a strict form of vegetarianism that involves removing all animal products from the diet. Some vegans also choose not to wear any clothing or use any body care items that were made from animal materials.

World Go Vegan Week was founded by In Defense of Animals (IDA) as part of their vegan campaign and their ongoing mission to end the cruel treatment and exploitation of animals. The idea is to educate people about food-not just nutrition or diet, but where food comes from, the resources required to support the Western way of eating, and the cruelty involved in factory farming of eggs, milk, and meat.

Everyone is encouraged to get involved. For vegans who want to spread the word, IDA offers free Vegan Starter Kit booklets on their website, as well as a variety of vegan outreach materials. The veg-curious can visit IDA’s World Go Vegan Week site for information, resources, vegan news, and more.

Of course, any time is a good time to spread the word regarding a cause you feel strongly about, but World Go Vegan Week gives a special opportunity to vegans who want to educate others. Here are a few ways that you can get involved this October:

— Invite your friends and family over for a home-cooked vegan meal. Many people are wary of veganism because they think a meatless meal will feel incomplete, or they’re convinced that vegans eat “rabbit food.” Show them otherwise with delicious appetizers, entrees, salads, and desserts, all prepared without animal products.

— Download free posters, brochures, and booklets to hand out or display in your community. Find out which public venues or establishments will let you leave materials for people to look at. Make sure you have enough so that people can take a few with them to share with their friends!

— Contact local news organizations about the week. Let them know what it means and why you’re passionate about it. See if they’d be willing to run a story about veganism, vegan food, or World Go Vegan Week in general.

— Stage your own vegan event! Put a call out for others who may be interested in joining your efforts to spread the vegan word. Add an animal welfare aspect by contacting local shelters to see if they would be interested in having a table or even an adoption day as part of your event.

Related: Vegan Protein Review

Above all, have fun with this week. Veganism is about living a cruelty-free life, but it’s also about cooking and eating great food, meeting others, and spreading the word. Make your World Go Vegan Week campaign something that vegans and non-vegans can all enjoy while getting educated about the vegan lifestyle. World Go Vegan Week is the perfect time to plant the seeds of a compassionate lifestyle in other’s minds, while sharing how great your vegan journey has been so far.

Vegan Motorcycle Gear

Fuel prices dictated that many people that are focused on sustainable living put aside their cars for motorcycles. As thoughts of living Green take the fore front, the opportunity to save the planet even more is taken advantage of by wearing vegan motorcycle gear. For the Vegan motorcyclist it is all about purchasing non leather vegan motorcycle gear including helmets and body wear.

Vegan motorcycle gear is available from a wide variety of sources. The key in finding vegan motorcycle gear that provides equivalent protection to that provided by leather is in finding a tough fabric such as Kevlar or Cordura.

Some examples of vegan motorcycle gear include products offered by Motorport such as the Kevlar Long Sleeve Shirt, which retails for $329.00 and Kevlar Motorcycle Gloves that retail for $129.99. The Air Mesh Kevlar Jacket retails for $399.00 from Motorport.

Related: Vegan Protein Powder Review

Another excellent example of in demand vegan motorcycle gear is the Kevlar armoured protective denim jeans available in standard and stretch denim from Giali UK. The UK based company generally retails these vegan motorcycle jeans from 69 up to 99 pounds and from their United States dealer the cost is approximately $89.99. The sister Web site in the U.S, that deals their vegan motorcycle gear is Armored Rider, which offers the same quality of protective gear for motorcycle riders.

Brosh offers a wide selection of vegan motorcycle gear for warm seasons and climates such as their Kevlar Mesh Summer Jackets, which retail for approximately $109.00. They also have a wide line of jeans, pads and other jackets that are all vegan friendly

When it comes to purchasing vegan motorcycle gear such as a helmet it is really important to consider the standards and look for those approved by the DOT and Snell (www.waterjets.com). Look for non leather chin straps and other items. Generally most helmets are vegan however a great brand to consider when searching specifically for vegan motorcycle gear is the Arai Signet brand and preferably a full face helmet (www.bebenroth.com).

When looking for vegan motorcycle gear keep in mind safety is always first and other clothing products may have to be layered to ensure one’s safety while riding. Research the manufacturer and the product well reading the labels for the materials included in the product.

For more information on vegan motorcycle gear and the products mentioned above visit the official Web sites for Waterjets, Armored Rider, Motoport, Giali UK, Brosh, and RoadGear to name a few.

The 5 Best Holiday Gifts for Vegans

The 5 Best Holiday Gifts for Vegans

Want to find your vegan friend a nice gift that they’ll love? There are many choices out there, but these are my top five picks.

1. VeganSweets Marshmallows – Everyone loves marshmallows, but if you’re vegan, you probably haven’t had any for a long time. Regular marshmallows contain gelatin, an animal product. These vegan marshmallows taste delicious, melt nicely for s’mores, and can even be roasted! At $3.99 per bag on www.veganessentials.com, these make an inexpensive yet yummy gift.

2. Baking mixes – If your friend loves to bake, odds are, they’d also like to save time in their baking. When looking for a baking mix, watch out for ingredients that are dairy derived, such as: casein, whey, and milk powder. Many organic vegan baking mixes are now available at the regular supermarket for your shopping convenience. Your friend will greatly appreciate the thought, and you might even get to taste some of the yummy cookies, brownies, or cake.

3. Stickers and shirts – Many vegans want to proudly display their lifestyle. Check out www.veganstore.com to find many bumper stickers and unique t-shirts to choose from.

4. Cookbooks and other books – If your friend loves to read, they might appreciate a nice book relating to their lifestyle. Does your friend like to cook? There are many great vegan cookbooks now available. If your local bookstore doesn’t have any vegan cookbooks, try www.amazon.com. Cookbooks are especially great gifts for new vegans who are probably still looking for more meal ideas.

5. A gift certificate for vegan shoes – With shoes, I’d recommend letting your friend pick them out. It can be difficult for vegans to find comfortable and classy non-leather shoes. You can buy gift certificates for shoes and other products at many online stores. Try www.mooshoes.com for some great shoe styles available to vegans.

Related: Vegan Protein Powder

Your friend will appreciate that you gave some thought to their gift. I know I always love something edible as a present, especially because I know it can take some effort for non-vegans to locate yummy vegan items. Hopefully these ideas as well as the links give you some helpful ideas for finding the perfect gift for your vegan friend.

Product Review: Suzanne’s Ricemellow Creme

Marshmallow Cream without Gelatin: My boyfriend has been talking about how much he’s been craving marshmallows, but some brands have gelatin as an ingredient, which we don’t consume as vegetarians. I found an alternative at the natural grocer (also widely available online), but how does it compare to the traditional stuff?

Appearance, Flavor and Texture

The Suzanne’s Ricemellow Creme that I purchased came in a 10 ounce (234 gram) plastic container with a pop-off lid. It is mostly white with a blue background on the front and red and white lettering. When I first popped the lid and took a look, I immediately noticed a sweet, wonderful aroma. The product is very creamy and gooey looking, and slightly yellowish (from the brown rice syrup that’s used as the only sweetener for the product). You can see how fluffy it is just by looking at it, as it’s very airy.

With the first bite I was hooked and wanted more! It is a very sweet and delicious flavor and, to me, tastes identical to any other marshmallow cream product I’ve tried. Although it is sweet and creamy, it is still light and delicious, so it’s a great balance of all these characteristics. My boyfriend loves it also, and he is very picky.

I first tried the ricemellow creme by itself on a spoon and loved it, but I wanted to test it out in a classic marshmallow recipe: s’mores. I layered my s’more with the traditional graham cracker, chocolate, and ricemellow creme, and slightly warmed it to a gooey perfect rendition of sweetness! Ahh, it was incredibly sweet and delicious with a hint of what seems like vanilla flavor. It may be slightly too sweet for some people, but if you love the sweetness, it will be perfect for you. Also, it’s easily modified to cut back the sweetness by adding less of the creme, more graham cracker, or whatever you decide. In many recipes, this can be used and modified to suit your own specific preferences.

Nutritional Information

There is a long list of what’s not in this product: no gluten or animal products, no fat, no GMOs (genetically modified organisms), no cholesterol, no refined sugars, no preservatives, and none of other unhealthy additives. So what does it have in it? It’s made of all natural ingredients: brown rice syrup, soy protein, and natural gums and flavors. That’s it, just four all natural ingredients.

Related: Vegan Protein Powder Review

One serving size is 2 tablespoons (about 12 grams), and approximately 23 servings can be obtained from this container. Each serving has 40 calories, no fat or cholesterol, only 5 mg of sodium (essentially 0% of your daily value), 9 grams of total carbohydrates (of which 7 grams are sugars). This product doesn’t really contain any protein or nutrients, but compared to similar products it is slightly lower in total carbohydrates, or sugars, and doesn’t contain any eggs or artificial ingredients.

Uses

This healthier marshmallow creme can be used anywhere you would use traditional marshmallows or marshmallow cream. On the package suggested uses include s’mores, of course, as well as rice crispy treats,
toppings for hot beverages such as coffee or hot cocoa, over ice cream, or even in a unique sandwich of peanut butter and ricemellow! Of course, you can also use it in fudge and pie recipes, on popcorn, when making homemade granola, to top snowballs and sundaes, as a dip for fruits, or straight from the container, because it’s just that delicious!

Additional Information

As with most marshmallow creams, this product is recommended to be stored in a cool, dry place, and will last a long time on your shelf if properly sealed with its lid. Suzanne’s Ricemellow Creme is made by Suzanne’s Specialties, Inc., and can be contacted by calling 1-800-762-2135 or by visiting the website: www.suzannes-specialties.com.

My Favorite Christmas Gift 2019: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

I have been a vegetarian for years, but I have always had trouble trying to be a vegan because it is so difficult to give up certain food products used in baking … mainly eggs and milk. But after baking come of the recipes that Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World contain, I can see how people can be vegan. This cookbook contains dozens of recipes that are even better than dairy-containing cupcakes. I am not quite sure how they do it, but the authors of this book have compiled recipes that make my mouth water, including but not limited to: chai latte cupcake, green tea cupcake, banana split cupcake, Brooklyn vs Boston creme pie cupcakes, apple cider cupcakes, and s’mores cupcakes.

Currently in my oven are twelve delicious chai latte cupcakes. I have ten minutes to go before they finish baking, and then the cooling process before I add the delicious vegan fluffy butter creme icing. My house smells like a Starbucks chai latte. So for avid chai drinkers this is definitely the cupcake for you. For those of you who do not know how delicious chai is, let me explain. Chai is a black tea that has essence of Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves. These cupcakes include those spices and other ingredients which make them vegan.

Related: Vegan Protein Review

From what I can gather from looking at these recipes for hours, milk is replaced by plain or vanilla soy yogurt, and soy milk. And eggs seem to be replaced by canola oil. Other than that these recipes do not include anything that should be too hard to find in the average kitchen. Some recipes contain applesauce, flavored extracts, baking powder, and baking soda. Although the authors do jokingly remark that any baking soda will do but they prefer to use the one that isn’t used to absorb odors from your refrigerator.

Vegan cupcakes appear to cost just as much as non vegan cupcakes, however they decrease dairy allergens and the fat content may be slightly decreased… (although the cookbook does not contain any nutritional information, I believe you would be saving some fat found in whole milk and egg yolks). They are definitely worth a try. If you have a diabetic in your family, instead of using splenda, there is a recipe that replaces sugar with a simple light agave syrup that has less sugar but does not sacrifice any taste. And if you are a gluten-free family, there are a few vanilla gluten “freedom” and chocolate gluten “freedom” recipes.

I recommend any vegetarian or omnivore to try these, because trust me you will be surprised by how tasty these little dairy-free cupcakes can be. My boyfriend is currently picking at the chai latte cupcakes that just came out of the oven, and from his face I can tell he is surprised that they taste so good. So being a good girl payed off this year, Santa brought me what I can honestly say was the best present of 2019.

Podcast Review: Vegetarian Food for Thought

Podcast Review: Vegetarian Food for Thought

For more than a year, Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s “Vegetarian Food For Thought” podcast has motivated, comforted and inspired vegetarians and vegans to continue, begin or support a vegetarian lifestyle. Topics runt he gamut – from nutrition to cooking to animal rights.

Colleen has recorded and released 46 episodes of the program since starting “Vegetarian Food For Thought” in March 2006, as one component of the larger nonprofit Compassionate Cooks, through which Colleen conducts cooking classes, creates recipes. Colleen has also produced a vegetarian cooking DVD, and is writing a cookbook titled “The Joy of Vegan Baking.”

What I love about this podcast is how Colleen addresses vegetarian nutrition. She emphasizes that vegetarianism is not about French fries and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it’s about eating whole, plant-based foods – foods as close to their natural state as possible. Which is the most important thing all of us could do for ourselves and the environment – eat healthfully. Not processed, packaged vegetarian goodies – but vegetables. Actual vegetables that you cut up and cook yourself. Think your grandma’s cooking. Think Michael Pollan’s recent New York Times piece. Just eat more vegetables, even if you’re still eating meat. Have a no-meat day, or cut out red meat (cattle ranches are the most devastating to land).

Related: Vegan Protein Powder

Colleen also powerfully asserts that the common questions about nutrition that vegetarians get asked, such as “Where do you get your protein? Iron? Calcium?” can all be answered with the same question: “whole, plant-based foods.”

One of the most fascinating and empowering things that Colleen covers in the podcast is the “cutting out the middle man” aspect of nutrition as it pertains to a vegetarian versus a meat diet. I’ll give you one example: Calcium. Where are we told to get calcium? Cow’s milk. Did you ever ask yourself, “Well, where does the cow get the calcium from?” As Colleen says in her podcast titled, “Where do I get my calcium if I don’t get it from cow’s milk?” Calcium is a mineral and therefore can be found in the ground, and in whole, plant foods that come from said ground. It doesn’t just naturally and exclusively occur in cows. In short, there are other, better places to get the nutrition requirement for calcium than from the milk of another animal.

“Vegetarian Food For Thought” is unapologetic, meaning Colleen encourages her listeners to not let their non-vegetarian (or, as I like to say, pre-vegetarian) friends get away with nitpicking about the nutrition in their diet – like asking questions about how their vegetarian friends get protein, iron and calcium – and suggests asking them back how they get antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in their meat-based diet, and reminding them of the long term effects of their diet – to name one, heart disease.

“Vegetarian Food For Thought” is also a good thing to listen to if you’re into any particular movement, whether it be vegetarianism, feminism, social welfare, peace or whatever, you’ll be stricken by Colleen’s approach. She is unabashedly pro-animal rights and she speaks honestly and openly about it. Being under the mainstream media’s radar, podcasts in general have more honesty than what you might be getting already. She’s giving you the straight dope on animal rights and vegetarianism – no apologies, no sugar-coating, no beating around the bush. That said, this is NOT a strident podcast. It can be intense – but necessarily so; we’re not used to being told the truth, so when we hear it, it seems in-your-face. The vast majority of the ‘casts are self-righteousness-free.

Let me suggest a nice “gateway podcast” to start with: it’s called Turning the Tables. It’s great for everyone – vegetarians, people interested in becoming vegetarian, omnivores who just want to understand vegetarianism more and perhaps completely anti-vegetarianism people. It’s also good for those movement members I just talked about, as it addresses ‘moral superiority’ issues.

You can find “Vegetarian Food For Thought” through iTunes and sites like it, or directly through Colleen’s Web site, compassionatecooks.com.

Product Review: Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread by Vitasoy

I have always been a huge fan of Vegenaise made by Follow Your Heart. Up until now, Vegenaise is the only vegan sandwich spread or mayonnaise substitute that I have used for sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad and tofu salad (think egg salad with tofu instead of eggs). But, alas, on my last trip to the grocery store it was out of stock, so I decided to give another vegan mayonnaise substitute a try. There weren’t many options, but I found Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Spread in the natural foods section and tossed it in my cart to give it a go.

It’s less expensive than Vegenaise and, being the frugal vegan that I am, I got a little tingle thinking that maybe I had found a lower priced option for a product we use quite a bit.

So, first off, here’s the lowdown on the nutritional aspects and ingredients in Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread. It’s gluten-free, cholesterol-free, all natural, kosher, GMO-free and made with 18% organic ingredients – all good things in my book. It has 35 calories and 3.5 grams of fat per serving (compared to 90 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving in Vegenaise).

Now, on the Vitasoy website Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread is toted as a good source of protein, but with less than 1 gram per serving you would have to eat an awful lot of this mayonnaise substitute to get much in the protein department. Of course, the serving size is so small (1 tablespoon) that this could be the reason they can say it’s a good source of protein. And, really, if a vegan or vegetarian accidentally gets a tad bit of extra protein from their sandwich spread, I doubt you’ll hear any complaints.

Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread might have Vegenaise on the price and the lower fat and calorie content, but when it comes to taste and texture, I was not impressed. It isn’t horrible, but it isn’t anything to write home about. The best way I can think to describe it is that, to me, it tasted way too much like you put everything together for egg or tofu salad, but just didn’t add the eggs or tofu. Or, better yet, that you made some tofu salad and then put it in a blender – since it’s soy-based, maybe that one makes more sense. At first I thought maybe it was because of the apple cider vinegar or the mustard listed on the ingredient list, but then I checked a jar of Vegenaise and it also has apple cider vinegar and mustard, so I’m not sure which ingredient gives it this flavor.

Related: Vegan Protein Powder Review

Based on this, I think that Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread would work well in potato salad, egg salad, tofu salad, chicken or unchicken salad and maybe coleslaw. Plus, since these recipes require a significant amount of your chosen mayonnaise substitute – and Nasoya is cheaper – I will likely try this in the future. But, for sandwiches and any non-salad dishes, I am definitely sticking with Vegenaise.

Overall, Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread is all right, but it’s not my favorite Vitasoy product and definitely not my favorite vegan, eggless mayonnaise alternative.

Give me a couple of Smart Dogs and a jar of Vegenaise and I’m a happy girl.

Discover Vegan Lush Cosmetics

Experience a new way to shower, experience Lush cosmetics! Sit back and relax as I take you on a journey through the soap that takes you where you want to be. I first discovered Lush Cosmetics while I was living abroad in England. A wonderful whimsical scent twisted past me as I was strolling the streets of York with my husband.

Curiosity took my nose and grabbed my husband’s hand to pull him into the shop with the bright green and yellow logo. Ah, if your familiar with England you may of guessed Lush Cosmetics. Our senses were overwhelmed as we walked through the ever so cute store. Huge mounds of freshly poured soap are stacked up every which way. If you are unsure of what soap is best for you ask one of their knowledgeable and friendly employees.

You pick your favorite soap, and how much you want of it. They cut a fresh piece, and wrap it for you in their pretty lush wrapping. My all time favorite product is their “all that Jasmine” bath bomb. If you want to feel like a fairy princess, this is a must! Just drop this gorgeous green ball into your bath and melt the stress away and soften your skin at the same time.

The fun part is this lovely bath bomb turns your bath water a serene green color! If your not crazy about Jasmine, there are plenty of other bath bombs to choose from and for every occasion. If your starting to feel the winter blues already, take the happy pill bath. This cute bath bomb looks like a pill. One side is fresh grapefruit which lifts your mood, and the other side is mandarin and olive which soothes. Have you been craving for romantic bath with that someone, try the best selling “sex bomb.” Your bath will turn into a bright pink oasis that twinkles. This will be sure to set the right mood.

Related: Best Vegan Protein Powder

Love bubbles? Lush brings you one of a kind bubble bars. Drop a solid bar into your bath and watch the bubbles take over your bathroom! Best selling, “cream candy bath” bubble bar takes you away to girly land and softens your mood with a creamy vanilla scent. Just want to relax, and be alone for once? The “bathos” bubble bar is for you. It is made with the most relaxing scents that will leave you dreaming of another planet and washing your troubles down the drain.

Lush is not just about the pretty colors or scents, but most importantly they choose their ingredients very carefully. They combine pure ingredients with safe synthetic ingredients that are just the right combination for all skin types. They even cater to vegans and make it easy for them to choose products by labeling them “vegan”. As a sensitive skinned gal, I love the way the products soothe my skin and don’t make me itch or red. At the time I discovered Lush in England, it was not popular in America, but now they are scattered through some of the biggest cities in America. Most importantly you can buy their products over the world wide web. www.lush.com. Happy bathing!

Holiday Recipes: Vegetarian, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Wheat-free, Gluten-free… And Delicious

Our daughter is allergic to wheat, corn, and eggs- and one of these ingredients is found in just about every boxed, canned, or otherwise packaged good you can buy at a grocery store. To add to the difficulties, she has mental disabilities as well, and so she does not understand why we can eat things that she cannot. Fortunately, she is of a happy disposition, so as long as she is eating something similar that she also likes, she doesn’t mind too much if we have a slightly different menu.

Here are some of our favorite recipes for her- and her favorites, too, with suggestions for making them extra festive for the holiday season.

Appetizer:

Tofu Curry Dip (I promise neither you nor your guests will even recognize that the base to this dip is tofu rather than sour cream or some other dairy product)
Vegetarian because of the honey. Substitute another sweetener for a vegan version.

Blend in your blender:
1/2 cup soft tofu
1/4 cup olive (or other) oil
2 T. vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tablespoon of curry powder (we use mild curry powder, and we like the curry flavor very much. You may prefer a spicier curry, and perhaps less of it)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp garlic or more

Pour this into a pretty bowl and garnish with a radish rose and some fresh green parsley.

This is a delicious dip with raw veggies. We like to cut up carrots, turnips, jicama, celery, radishes, sweet peppers, and cauliflower to have with it. For an especially festive vegetable tray, limit your color pallette to reds, greens, and whites. Perhaps slice several red pappers into strips and put them next to raw snow peas and cut up cauliflower.

Related: Vegan Protein Powder Review

Maindish Soup:

Rainy Day Meatless Taco Soup
ten servings, so you can serve this at a dinner party, or freeze some for later
Vegetarian unless you use a cheese substitute

Ingredients:
1 onion
1 bell pepper- green or red
five cups cooked red beans
Quinoa or Kasha (1 cup)
2 cups cooked brown rice
4 pounds of canned, crushed tomatoes
water or broth
vegetarian bouillion powder
2 Tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
mild green chiles (spicier versions if that is what you prefer)
cheese (optional)
corn (optional)

Saute 1 chopped onion and one chopped pepper (or about 1 cup of frozen peppers) in a large stock pot.

Add five cups of cooked red beans (approximately two or three cans, drained), 1 cup of quinoa or cooked kasha (kasha is made from buckwheat groats); 2 cups of cooked brown rice; 4 pounds of canned, crushed tomatoes (stewed will also work); 3 cups of water or broth, two tablespoons bouillion powder, two tablespoons of chili powder, salt and pepper to taste, and jalapeno chiles to taste (we are wimps, so we use one four ounce can of mild green chiles).

Cook until hot- this is good simmered all day, too. Because our daughter is allergice to corn, we set aside a bowl or two for her at this point and then add three cups of corn to the main pot for the rest of us, and cook until the corn is hot.

When ready to serve, ladle the soup into a bowl. Put a spoonful of cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or cheese substitute on top of each bowl.

Serve with corn chips on the side for those who aren’t allergic to corn. We give our daughter with allergies a rice cake or ‘chips’ made by melting a tablespoon of grated cheddar cheese on a skillet until it’s a bit crispy.

Chips: you can cut corn tortillas into triangles and fry them yourself for home-made chips.

Dessert

These banana cookies are our daughter’s favorite, and the rest of us like them, too. You can make them very festive for the holidays as well.

Ingredients:

3 mashed bananas
2 cups oats (some people with celiac disease can handle oats. Others cannot, so be careful. Our daughter doesn’t have celiac disease and it isn’t the gluten that bothers her)
1 cup chopped dried fruit
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix ingredients well, and drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Variations:
For the dried fruit you can use dates, raisins, diced dried apple, or craisins- any dried fruit, really. We like craisins for the holiday season.

When you drop them on the pan, you can take a few extra seconds to spread the cookie batter in a wreath shape and put two or three craisins together towards the bottom so it looks like a wreach with a bow.

Wheat, dairy, and egg free cookies

These are surprisingly tasty, and I don’t really care for banana flavor. The banana chips in these give them a pleasant, nutty texture without having any nuts. Really tasty, I promise!

1 1/2 cups oat flour (grind rolled oats in your blender)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups rolled oats

1 cup crushed banana chips (put these through the blender as well)

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 cup melted butter, margarine, or shortening (coconut oil works)

4 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons apple sauce or mashed pumpkim

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together the sour cream, honey, and fat. Mix the flour and baking soda well ina bowl, stir in the oats the ground banana chips and the sugar. Add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Drop by heaping teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet, leaving some space between cookies. Bake until lightly browned (about ten minutes). Cool on the pan. Remove when cool.

For a festive look, make an indentation in each unbaked cookkie dollop and then put a bit of strawberry jam or jelly on the top of each cookie before baking.

These are so yummy you’ll be the envy of your non-allergic friends!