Recipe Ideas for the Vegan Mom, Family, and Friends

Recipe Ideas for the Vegan Mom, Family, and Friends

1. Warmed, sliced bananas covered in maple syrup.

2. Steamed artichoke hearts, diced, and sauteed in olive oil.

3. Half a grapefruit, sprinkled with raw sugar, and covered with sliced strawberries.

4. Julienne baby carrots, sauteed and sprinkled with garlic salt.

5. Soft-boiled garlic cloves, spread on sourdough.

6. Half an avocado, filled with diced tomatoes and cilantro, served with blue corn chips.

If you have about an hour, you can cook and clean up a tasty vegan meal or filling snack. Pre qualification is, you have necessary ingredients handy. This takes some planning. Go to your food market as often as possible, and that way you will find fresh foods, and you will notice what the market has a surplus of, because it will have a good price. Try to avoid processed foods, especially for sensitive vegans, and of course for your precious Vegan Mom.

I’m listing six of my favorite recipe ideas that use local, fresh, and seasonably available organic available foods in simple combinations and methods of preparation. For example, try boiling garlic cloves instead of basting in the oven. This method to me is easier, and gives the same result – a soft, smooth garlic paste that tastes as rich as butter. You can boil the garlic with other vegetables. Remove the other vegetables for a different recipe, and spread the garlic on sourdough. When you are out shopping, look for places that sell good sourdough bread, which is vegan-friendly. Sourdough is so light, but it can fill you up for a long time, and it compliments so many other foods. A true world-citizen – modest, ubiquitous, and giving much back.

When sauteing, try to find an enameled cast-iron pan. This could also make a very nice gift ! I use olive oil for all my sauteing, but some people prefer different oils, or use a mixture of them. Oils do change flavors, so be careful. For example, peanut and sesame oils will influence the flavor of fruits and vegetables quite a bit. Main rule for saute, is “hot pan / cold oil”. I learned this from a cooking show and that rule has never failed me.

Saute needs to be crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. Turn the heat on under your pan. Watch closely as the pan will heat up in just a few minutes, with nothing in it. Don’t scorch it !! Then, add enough oil to coat your ingredients, not drown them. Wait until the surface of the oil crackles when yo sprinkle it with water. Now, add your ingredients for the saute, and stir quickly so they are coated evenly on all sides. Adjust the heat so the oil does not burn, and shake the pan regularly so everything is coated and has a chance to cook. If you use the right amount of oil, there should not be much to drain. You can save some of the oil and use it again, if you don’t burn it.

Eating Out as a Vegan

eating out as vegan

Eating out is not as difficult as you may seem to think. It really is not even a challenge anymore. Every day there are restaurants that are changing their menu is to include healthier foods. The heart choice items, and the vegetarian choices are increasing in leaps and bounds at all your favorite restaurants.

The reason for all these changes in America is the awareness of eating healthy. One of the words you will recognize mostly is organic. So many people are going organic. People are going back to the natural ways of food cultivating and preparation. Even your fast food restaurant chains are realizing that they are losing money and customers by not offering a healthier menu. The results are Change. They are making the change, and crossing over to healthy foods, and healthier ways to prepare the foods. Changing the fats that they cook all of their foods in is changing too. This is a big plus for the vegans, because now it is not a challenge to find a menu item that you can enjoy and not break your lifestyle to do it.

Some menu item suggestions to look for, if you are totally lost in deciding what is good or safe to eat, is look for vegetarian pasta dishes, such as lasagna without meat, or spaghetti with a tomato sauce and without meat. Look for all types of pasta dishes, if they come with a cream sauce, just ask to substitute that with a tomato base sauce. Other options you can have is the soup and salad bar. You can find some great salads and soups on some of these grand selections. You must stay away from mayonnaise that they use for a dressing, or gelatin, which is derived from horse hooves, but still there is a lot of vegetables on these salad bars and you can build yourself a wonderful filling salad.

Fast food restaurants are almost all now serving salads. Try them, they are great, ask for a vinegar style dressing, and you got it. If it has chicken, shrimp, or something of that nature on the salad, ask them to remove it, or you remove it. The salad will still be delicious. Another item found at fast food restaurants and even now in sit down restaurants are veggie burgers. Gluten style fake meats, made to taste like a hamburger are awesome. You can dress them up just like any hamburger, lots of pickles, relish, onions, and tomatoes.

So as traditions are changing so are the restaurants and fast food chains and this is to your benefit, now you can relax and enjoy going out, instead of staying home and cooking every solitary day. Get out of the house you will love it.

Garden Burger Product Review: Vegan Burgers

There was a time when I decided that I would try and be a vegan, one thing that was hard was finding foods that didn’t have any eggs or dairy, that tasted good and that were meatless as well. Lucky for me there are vegan burgers on the market and Gardenburger is one of the companies that offers them. I have been able to find and try out three of the four different kinds that they offer.

When I first saw this veggie burger I wasn’t yet thinking about becoming a vegan, but I like the name, Veggie Medley Gardenburger, of it so I tried it out. Obviously the title Veggie Medley tells you that this particular burger is not trying to imitate meat and I am not complaining. I have to laugh at the name a little though because I believe I have seen baby food with the same name.

It seems to me that the places that I shop do not usually carry vegan veggie burgers so it has been a while since I have tried some of the Gardenburger vegan burgers but I did try the Black Bean Chipotle once. Black beans are a favorite of mine and from what I remember I found the Black Bean Chipotle by Gardenburger very tasty. I wish I knew how to make my own.

It is remarkable how little ingredients that there are in the Gardenvegan. Similar in taste to the Original Gardenburger this is a good alternative for people who enjoy the taste of the Original Gardenburger, a non vegan veggie burger of theirs, but don’t want to be eating any dairy or eggs. Now as far as I have seen they do not offer a 20 pack of Gardenvegan veggie burgers like they do with the Original Gardenbruger.

Related: Review of Vegan Protein Powder

Now if you are looking for a meatless burger that still offers a meat like taste but want that burger to be vegan you are in luck Gardenburger offers the Flame Grilled. I personally have never tried the Flame Grilled and have yet to see it sold in the stores that I shop in. I have tasted other meatless products from Gardenburger and didn’t think that they were all that far from what they were trying to taste like.

I have considered becoming a strict vegan many, many times. It is nice to know that if I ever decided to just eat the veggie burgers that are vegan that Gardenburger offers a variety.

Vegan Vegetable Soup Recipe

During this chilly time of year, many people are enjoying the tastes of hot soup and other comforting foods. For a warm and delicious meal after a cold day, give this vegan vegetable soup a try.

Comforting Vegan Vegetable Soup

Two 32 ounce containers of organic vegetable stock

1-2 cups of spring or distilled water (the amount of water added depends on what consistency that you like your soup to have)
1 cup of organic carrots, sliced
1 cup of organic broccoli, chopped
1 cup of organic green beans (I like to use snap garden beans)
1 cup of organic zucchini, chopped
1 cup of organic potatoes, sliced (either the white or red potatoes will work)
½ cup of chopped organic Vidalia onions
2 cloves of fresh organic garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of organic dried basil
2 teaspoons of organic dried oregano
2 teaspoons of sea salt

Related: Vegan Protein Powder Review

Wash, slice, and chop the vegetables with the exception of the green beans which should be snapped. Place the prepared vegetables into a Dutch oven or stew pot. Add the vegetable stock, water, garlic, spices, and sea salt. Heat to boiling.

Boil for five minutes, and then, reduce the temperature to medium heat. Cook the soup on medium heat for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve in bowls with herb croutons on top.

Find a New Jersey Bakery to Make Your Vegan Wedding Cake

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of planning a vegan wedding is finding a bakery to make you a vegan wedding cake that will suit your dietary needs and still be delicious and beautiful. If you are a vegan planning a New Jersey wedding, then you’ve come to the right place to find a vegan wedding cake. Vegan-friendly bakeries, cake shops, restaurants, coffeehouses/cafes, and natural food stores are the best places to find vegan wedding cakes, and to help you on your way, here is a list of New Jersey bakeries and other establishments that will custom make you a vegan wedding cake:

Related: Best Vegan Protein Powder

Sweet Avenue Bake Shop — Rutherford, New Jersey (Also serving New York)

Sweet Avenue Bake Shop began as a mail-order bakery specializing in cookies and cupcakes, and now with their own retail location have expanded their services to include fresh daily bakery items, catering for weddings and special events, and wedding cupcakes and customized cookie wedding favors, with many vegan options available. Vegan wedding cupcake pricing starts at $2.50 per cupcake. The price includes frosting colored to match your wedding colors and any of the bakery’s regular cake flavors. There may be additional charges for very specialized designs. Cupcake flavors offered by the Sweet Avenue bakery include chocolate, vanilla, orange, raspberry, strawberry, red velvet, and more. Vegan cookie wedding favors, priced at $5 and up per cookie, can be designed specifically for your wedding using shapes such as hearts, circles, squares, wedding cakes, and more. Cookie wedding favors will also be individually wrapped in cellophane and tied off with a color-coordinated ribbon. Cookie flavors the Sweet Avenue bakery offers include chocolate chunk, lemon-iced ginger, snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin, and mocha brownie. You can pick-up your wedding cake or have it delivered. Delivery fees to Manhattan and North New Jersey typically start at approximately $40, while delivery to Rutherford, New Jersey and the surrounding boroughs may be less expensive, depending on the day. Delivery and set-up fees vary according to location. Address: 153 Park Avenue, Rutherford, New Jersey, 07070. Phone: (201) 935-BAKE (2253). E-mail: info@sweetavenuebakeshop.com.

Cakes by Mona — Melville, New York (Also serving New Jersey and Connecticut)

Cakes by Mona is a bakery offering custom made unique bakery items and specializing in vegan wedding cakes. Mona’s has a limitless amount of options for decoration including sculpted cakes, fondant, and handpainting. The vegan wedding cake flavors offered include white, chocolate, marble, applesauce, banana nut, carrot lemon, poppyseed, spice, and tres leches. The vegan wedding cake fillings offered include apple, apricot, lemon, raspberry, strawberry, pineapple, seven kinds of mousse, and more. A complimentary first wedding anniversary cake is included with your purchase. Wedding day cake delivery is available throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Location: Melville, New York, 11747. Phone: (631) 742-1883. E-mail: mona@cakesbymona.com.

Vegan Treats — Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Also serving New Jersey and New York)

Vegan Treats is a bakery and wholesale distributor of over 200 selections of vegan doughnuts, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes, French pastries, brownies, cupcakes, cookies, soft serve, and cakes. Their goodies can be found throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, but for a vegan wedding cake your best bet is the original bakery in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Vegan Treats makes over 3 dozen kinds of vegan wedding cakes, from traditional selections like devil’s food and carrot, to unique flavors such as butterscotch and lemon pineapple. However, Vegan Treats signature cakes are their 6 cake “bombs”. Baked in a bundt pan, they are then cut in half, filled with mousse, and topped with additional huge dollops of mousse, before being encased in chocolate. Natural and high quality ingredients like vanilla beans and Belgian chocolate are always used. A custom special occasion cake serving 8 people is priced at around $35, so expect a vegan wedding cake prices to go up from there. Address: 1444 Linden Street, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 18018. Phone: (610) 861-7660. E-mail: danielle@vegantreats.com.

Cake Kraft — King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (Also serving New Jersey and Delaware)

Cake Kraft is an all vegan bakery offering pies, cookies, muffins, and other bakery items, and specializing in vegan wedding and special event cakes. Your wedding cake will be made fresh and delivered to your door on your wedding day. Although the bakery is based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Cake Kraft bakery items are also available in New Jersey and Delaware coffee shops, restaurants, and other venues. E-mail: weddings@cakekraft.com.

One other choice for a vegan wedding cake in New Jersey is the Wildflowers bakery. Located in Bridgeton, New Jersey, but also serving Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware, and Virginia, Wildflowers make extravagant vegan wedding cakes decorated with elaborate sugar art. For more information about Wildflowers check out Find a Washington DC Bakery to Make Your Vegan Wedding Cake.

Vegan Shopping

Vegan Shopping

Whether you are a vegan who is tired of painstakingly reading every ingredient or a family member or friend of a vegan, wanting to get them a gift, but are clueless of what is vegan or isn’t, there are many websites dedicated to the vegan lifestyle.

All these companies not only read the labels for you, but contact the companies to make sure that what they sell is 100% vegan. If a product has that mysterious natural flavoring or an ingredient that can go either way, you can be assured that the research has been done for you and everything is undoubtedly vegan.

One Stop Vegan Shops

These shops sell just about anything you could think of, from vegan twinkies to vegan glue, even frozen food items. No matter where you live or what you need, you will never be deprived with these one stop vegan shops.

Pangea

One of the first vegan shops, since their opening in 1995 they have grown to carry their own line of vegan products, from baked goods to shoes. Owned and ran by vegans, they sell vegan cheeses, cleaning and office supplies, jackets, gift baskets and so much more. In addition to their products being animal-friendly, all the products they sell are from companies with fair labor practices. They, also, have a physical store (open on the weekends) at 2381 Lewis Ave. Rockville, Maryland. Pangea ships throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Related: Vegan Protein Powder

Vegan Essentials

Just as their name says, they carry everything essential for vegans, plus more. Owned and operated by vegans, since 1998. Whether you need shoes, seasonal gifts, hair dye or just need to get your vegan junk food fix, they have what you need. They make sure that everything they sell is 100% vegan. Sign-up for their e-mail newsletter and get updates of all the fun new vegan products they add and special discount coupon codes. They ship worldwide and have a retail outlet at 1701 Pearl St. Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Cosmos Vegan Shoppe

Named after their cat Cosmo, Cosmo Vegan Shoppe was started in 2005 and is dedicated to variety and quality. All their products are free of artificial sweeteners and sweat shop free. They have an online store as well as a retail store at 672 Highland Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Cosmo’s ships worldwide.

Food Fight Grocery

A little online convenience store online, that sell lots of necessary vegan junk food and some essentials too, while adding a bit of humor to your shopping experience. If you are lucky enough to be in the Portland, Oregon area, stop by their store front at 1217 SE Stark Street. They don’t ship internationally, but they ship throughout the U.S.

Shoes and Accessories

Don’t let anyone convince you that there are no fashionable non leather shoes. These shops sell shoes of every style, handbags and more.

Moo Shoes

Moo Shoes was founded in 2001, by 2 sisters. They are more than just shoes; they have a selection of purses, jackets, belts and more. Their retail shop is located at 78 Orchard Street in New York City. For anyone not able to visit their retail store, you can order online and they ship worldwide.

Ragazzi Vegan

Their motto is No animal, No sweat. All their shoes are free from animal products and made under non sweatshop conditions. You can find sandals, dress shoes and even work boots, for men and women. They ship in the United States and internationally.

Alternative Outfitters

High quality, fashionable, non-leather and cruelty free, Alternative Outfitters offers shoes, purses, accessories and more. They have been featured in many magazines and they ship worldwide. They also sell everything you find online, in their retail showroom in Pasadena, California at 408 S. Pasadena Ave., Suite 1.

Vegetarian Shoes and Bags .com

Their name says it all. They sell shoes for men and woman, for whatever your style. Casual and fancy evening bags, everything is fashionable and cruelty free. They are vegans themselves and care about animals and the challenge there sometimes is finding the perfect vegan shoes. They ship worldwide.

Vegan Restaurant Food Delivery

Whether you can’t cook or just don’t want to, these companies will deliver animal-free restaurant meals straight to your door.

Buy Kind

Buy meals, desserts and whole cakes right off the menus of great vegan restaurants around the U.S, right from your own home and have them delivered right to your door, no matter where you are in the U.S. More restaurants are being added all the time and they also offer chocolates, wine, and adorable Cowches (cow shaped couches.) They work hard to make sure your order gets to you in good condition and that you are satisfied.

Veggie Brothers

Restaurant style vegan meals delivered right to you. Buy soups, appetizers, sides or entrées, like soy chicken nuggets or salisbury steak, already prepared buy a chef and ready to re-heat and eat. They ship to the U.S. and Canada.

Friends and family can rest assured that they can shop for their loved ones and give a gift that will be gratefully received by any vegan. Vegans can shop cruelty free and feast on animal-free restaurant meals, while someone else has done a the work for them.

March 30th, 2011 – “One Day” Only – Vegas Movie Exclusive!

Super Exclusive! The new Anne Hathaway movie One Day will have a solo screening this Wednesday, March 30th at Regal Red Rock Stadium 16. Though not scheduled to be released until July, Vegas gets a chance to see this eagerly awaited film from Lone Scherfig, acclaimed director of An Education.

Adapted from the global best selling novel of the same name, this film has sparked controversy with fans regarding the casting of Hathaway as the films leading lady. Their primary issue with Hathaway is that she isn’t British, though with the recent rampage of Brits into American cinema, maybe she’ll be able to flip the scene and embody the character, regional dialect and all.

Related: Vegan Protein Review

Alongside Hathaway is Jim Sturgess, best known here in the U.S. for playing Jude in Across the Universe. His extensive list of credits include work in The Other Boleyn Girl, 21, Crossing Over, The Way Back and most recently he provided the voice of Soren in The Legend of the Guardians.

If you’re interested in attending, contact the box office at Regal Red Rock for your pass ID number, screening ID and information on how to register for the event. You must be registered to attend. No one will be admitted without prior registration, which can be done online or by phone.

There are restrictions, including no camera phones or recording devices and you have to consent to a physical search to be sure you’re not trying to pirate the movie. You also have to be between the age of 15 and 54 and must be not be “visibly” intoxicated. If you plan to attend, don’t come straight from getting dirty at work, they want you clean and dressed appropriately. Why you ask, well there’s a “chance” of you being filmed for reactions. In fact, if you don’t want to be filmed, they ask you not attend. Worst of all, no entertainment industry insiders or media will be allowed, so I’m out of luck! But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the experience of seeing a film well before the rest of us. If you are one of the lucky ones who get in, let me know what you think. Is it going to be this summer’s best blockbuster or biggest flop?

Baby Steps to a Vegan Diet: It’s Easier Than You Think!

Baby Steps to a Vegan Diet: It's Easier Than You Think!

Did you ever think about being vegan? Well I did not for a long time. I was a vegetarian for many years, and I thought it would be too complicated to transition to strict vegan, especially with a toddler and husband who are meat eaters. What I found out is that being vegan is actually very simple. Almost too simple.

Related: Vegan Protein Powder

Here are some of the guidelines of a vegan diet: Do not eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or any other animal products. So what do you eat? There are plenty of foods that do not fit into the do not eat category such as, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, etc.

I will be dividing all of these guidelines into baby steps to make the transition effortless and fun!

First of all, If you are not already a vegetarian, you should give up the meat. No more eating dead animals. If you really take a good look and think about what you are eating, this should be a piece of cake! (Vegans can have cake too!) Look at the different substitutes for meat dishes and see which appeal to you. There are soy products available such as tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, and a wide variety of meat substitutes such as vegan burgers, chicken, lunch meats, sausage, etc. You may have to try a few before you find that perfect match for your taste buds, but it is worth it in the long run.

Next, quit drinking that dairy. There is no need for a human to drink the milk of a cow. We are actually the only species that drinks the milk of another. There are many dairy substitutes in the market. Instead of cow’s milk, try soy, rice, hemp, or almond milks. They are all very nutritious and tasty. Find which one you prefer and go for it. These can be used in most recipes in place of cow’s milk too with no problem. Always check the labels of foods because dairy can be in many packaged foods that you would never suspect. Look for ingredients of whey, casein, delactosed, lactulose, and many more. Please read the labels carefully before biting into anything that is packaged.

Last of the baby steps is to give up eggs. This is hard to do with prepared foods, but when you make your own, no biggie! Use tofu instead of eggs for scrambled eggs. I also use an egg replacer in baking. I add it to pancakes, muffins, etc., and they have always turned out moist and yummy! Again, read those labels carefully, and find which foods you like and stick with them.

Do these steps one at a time, and take as much time to get comfortable with each step before moving onto the next. If you develop techniques along the way you will find it easier to stick with it. Remember to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, etc. for a nourishing, healthy diet. You are on your way with these three easy baby steps! Congratulations!

Essential Ingredients for Every Vegan Kitchen

A vegan diet can vastly improve your health, and it’s much more interesting than a regimen of salad greens. Still, you don’t want to rely on frozen dinners and processed vegan snacks. The best way a vegan can get all their essential nutrients is by cooking their own meals with the right ingredients. This is where most people get nervous. What! Cooking real food without animal products? Seriously, it’s not as hard as you think.First, pack your pantry with a few essential vegan ingredients that are useful in many recipes.

LEGUMES

Let’s start with beans. Beans are low in fat, but high in fiber, protein and good carbs that keep your energy levels regular throughout the day. You can get dried or canned beans of any kind, but a few indispensible beans include: black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, chick peas, split peas, lentils.

GRAINS

Grains aren’t limited to wheat and rice. In fact, let’s forget about wheat and rice for a moment and focus on a few grains that fit perfectly into a healthy vegan diet. First, completely bypass any refined flour or rice. Processed foods are stripped of vital nutrients. Instead, stock-up your vegan pantry with whole grains like barley, oats, millet, quinoa and wheat berry … just to name a few.

NUTS AND SEEDS

This is pretty straightforward, but try to buy raw nuts and seeds for greater nutritional value, and stay away from salted or other flavored nuts. A few vegan favorites are almonds, hazel nuts, walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. Seeds are always packed with nutrients and, it might sound strange but watermelon and apple seeds are also filled with vitamins and minerals, so consider eating these as well.

OTHER VEGAN STAPLES

Always keep a box of Ener-G egg replacer. Made of a variety of starches, Ener-G works wonders for baking. It’s a great substitute for both egg whites and egg yolks. You’ll also want to keep at least a few cans of pureed, diced and stewed tomatoes as well as some canned pumpkin and some applesauce. All three of these items come in handy with a variety of vegan recipes. For sweeteners, use agave nectar (made from the same cactus used to make tequila) or stevia, and remember to keep a variety of oils on hand like olive and sesame oil.

Related: Review of Vegan Protein Powder

Most people know that almond or soymilk is a must in any vegan fridge as is block soy, tempeh and frozen organic vegetables. You might also want to include a jar of Veganaise (as a mayo substitute), and a bag of flake-form nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast is not the same thing, so be sure you’re getting nutritional yeast. It’s a wonderful source of B12 and a tasty way to dress up popcorn!

A vegan diet can be diverse, delicious and extremely healthy. So if you’re a new vegan, pack your pantry with these staples, head to the kitchen and get cookin’!

Holy Guacamole

Holy Guacamole

Holy Guacamole for 4!
Ingredients:

5-6 medium avocados, mashed

2 Tbsp. sea salt

the juice of 2 lemons

2 tsp. jalapeno

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 small red onion, diced

1/4 c. macadamia nuts, grated

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except for the macadamia nuts. Just mix with a spoon for chunky guac, if you prefer smooth, use a blender.

Sprinkle Macadamia gratings on top.

Serve with your favorite chip, cracker or dipping veggies.