Monday, May 28, 2012

My Favorite Recipes - My Vegan Cookbook

I've working on putting my favorite recipes on my blog to share with everyone. It's a big job so.. I've broken it down into categories.

Next up - My Vegan Cookbook

Keep in mind that you can halve a recipe, leave things out, add things, sub things .. whatever.

Don't be afraid! Make it your own!

Side note - I always use almond milk and whole wheat flours in recipes. Always. So feel free to make that sub.

Josh at My Vegan Cookbook

Again, not sure how I ended up on Josh's site but he has some of the best recipes! I can't list every single recipe of his that I love and I haven't tried all of them so please jump in and check his site out.

I'll share my must-haves.

Chick Spread - I've given this recipe out to so many people and almost everyone loves this. It's simple, versatile and it's a great thing to have in your fridge each week for a quick meal! I don't add the tofu to mine and it's perfectly fine to skip it but the tofu will add a ton of protein. I like to add shredded carrot, nutritional yeast and no chicken bouillon to mine. Feel free to experiment. You can also make it whatever texture you want.. from flaky like tuna to creamy and pureed like a thick hummus. You can use it like a chicken salad in sandwiches and wraps, as a salad topper or side dish. I even like it as a veggie dip! I have a friend who has a 2 year old that loves this!

Loose Mushroom Sandwich with Cheeze - This was so delicious that right now I think I want it for breakfast after seeing the photo. It's like an otherwordly sloppy joe or something. It reminded me of those Arby's Beef & Cheddar sandwiches. Make sure you get a big onion bun for these. You can sub cornstarch for the arrowroot.

Black Bean Burgers - I love this recipe so much that I don't even try other black bean burger recipes. I double this and freeze them with wax paper in between. Then, I saute them in a pan with a little oil. I like to have mine with vegenaise mixed with chipotle sauce. So good. You can also chop them and stick them in a wrap or a taco shell. Just don't make them too big.. I did once and not even my husband could finish one.

Grain & Garden Burgers -  These are similar to the old fashioned Gardenburger patties. Carrots and brown rice.

Drop Dumplings with Mixed Vegetables - My grandmother makes chicken and dumplings that are to die for! This recipe is so close to it that now I don't have to miss that amazing comfort food. I'm not a big fan of coriander but Josh seems to be so I leave that out. I also add in some of the no chicken bouillon. The dumpling technique is genius and really simple. Hubby loved this.

Lentil Loaf -  Yummy! Plus, it freezes really well. I just slice it and wrap it first in the wax type paper and then in foil. Serve with mashed taters!

Cream Cheeze Frosting - My husbands fave cake is spice cake with cream cheese frosting so I had to find a way to make that for him and this frosting does it! I don't want to use the faux cream cheese on the market (it's just oil) so I was happy to find that Josh had an alternative! It's tangy and sweet. It passed the husband test. I make the cake recipe I linked to and use Josh's frosting instead!

Vegan Meatballs/Meat Sauce - I love spaghetti and meatballs but I discovered that when I had it, I would smash the meatballs into my spaghetti so I thought maybe I should just use them to make a meaty sauce instead. So... I mix this up and instead of making the meatballs, I use the mixture like hamburger in a meat sauce. I saute an onion with some garlic and a few handfuls of thin sliced mushrooms and then toss in the meatball mixture and brown it slightly. I add in a 29 oz jar of marinara (or make your own) and then I have a delicious meaty sauce!

My Favorite Recipes - Little House of Veggies

If I only had a nickle for every time someone asked me for a favorite recipe! I figured it was time to put them all in one place so I could send people here rather than send out multiple emails!

My first suggestion regarding ANY recipe is to Google for a vegan version rather than try and take a recipe that isn't vegan and change it. I can guarantee that the internet holds multiple vegan recipes for anything you can imagine.

Once I started putting this together it became clear that I couldn't do all my faves in one post.. it would be crazy long so I'm going to break them down into categories.

First up - Little House of Veggies!

Keep in mind that you can halve a recipe, leave things out, add things, sub things .. whatever.

Don't be afraid! Make it your own!

Side note - I always use almond milk and whole wheat flours in recipes. Always. So feel free to make that sub.

Morgan at Little House of Veggies

I'm not even sure how I ended up on Morgan's blog but I am certainly glad I found her! Not only has she given me some of my most favorite soup recipes, she introduced me to tempeh (well, she explained what the hell to do with it!) and she has also become a friend of mine and has been a great support to me.

Her blog is fantastic because she makes original recipes and shares important knowledge. She's also gorgeous, a fantastic mom, a very happy wife and a real vegan role model.

It was really hard for me to narrow down the recipes to post here... she really has lots of great ones.


In my opinion, Morgan really shines in the soup department. I'm pretty sure all of my favorites soups come from Morgan's blog! I try to make soup every week because it's wholesome, nutritious and so easy to warm up for a quick meal. I haven't tried every single soup she makes and I won't list every single one I have tried, but I am confident you'll love any soup type recipe you find on Morgan's blog.

Black Bean Tortilla Soup - this is so easy to make and so delicious. I like to add some lime juice and ume plum vinegar when it's done.

Cheesy Chipotle Corn Chowder - This is my most fave soup recipe on the planet, not just on Morgan's blog. This is not a 'diet' soup, by any means. It's full of cashew cheese and potatoes! This soup is probably the most involved soup that Morgan has. There are a few steps and some forethought to make this but it's absolutely worth it. I can't imagine someone not loving this.

Split Pea Soup -  Yes, I know.. you think of The Exorcist when someone says split pea soup. I know I do. However, split pea is one of the most nutritious soups you can make! Split peas are really more like a lentil than anything. I didn't even know what a split pea was until I made this soup! Once I get the veggies sauteed, I finish this off in my crockpot. It takes about 1.5 hours. I've made this with and without rice milk and it's perfectly delicious without it so if you don't already have the rice milk, don't buy it just for this recipe.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup - Super easy with a big payoff! It's creamy and hearty but it's also very fresh and light! Weird, right? You can skip the mochi croutons if you want or use regular bread croutons.

Veggie Chili & Whole Grain Cornbread - great comfort food! I usually don't add the vegan hamburger or the peppers so I'll sub in some canned mushrooms and maybe corn and carrots. Whatever you like. The cornbread is yummy too!

Everything Else:

First, I recommend checking out her tempeh posting.. it tells you how to prepare tempeh and links to her tempeh recipes. The tempeh salad is just delicious. I make that all the time and have a wrap. I like to add campari tomatoes, shredded carrots and green onions

Amazing Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies - yummy and whole grain! One of the first vegan cookie recipes I tried and still a fave. You can sub cornstarch for the arrowroot.

Muhammara - Delicious and a little bit fancy! I like to take this to gatherings. I don't have the pomegranate molasses so I use regular.

Chocolate Fudge Muffins - I'm pretty sure this is one of Morgan's top recipes.

Stuffed Shells -  I've made this as lasagna roll-ups with 2 cups soaked cashews in for the tofu. I've had friends that have made the tofu version and loved it so give this a try for a fancier dish!

Buffalo Tempeh Salad - This is delicious but I gotta say... it's messy to make (but so worth it.) Her vegan ranch is simple and perfect too. I skip the jicama but at least try it if you haven't already.

Raw Sweet Almond Milk - I have Morgan to thank for homemade almond milk! I use wide mouth Ball jars with plastic lids. You'll need to shake the milk before using it. I took her recipe and adapted it to fit my taste. I use 1 cup almonds to 6 cups water and I leave the rest the same except I don't add the hemp protein. I make a half batch of plain, unsweetened for cooking and the other half sweetened with dates and vanilla for drinking, cereal or to use in smoothies. This gets me about 6 cups. If you want to do half and half, just mix the almonds and water as instructed with the sea salt. Strain and rinse your blender cup. Then, pour the strained milk back into the blender and add the melted coconut oil and blend again and pour half into your jar. Then make the sweetened milk by adding the dates (I use 2 in a half batch) and vanilla and blend again, strain and pour into your second jar. I always date anything I put in the refrigerator. It helps to know when it was made because you will forget. Usually almond milk will last a week or so.. it will go bad. It will smell bad!

Mini Cookbook Reviews - Part 1

Note: I've done a couple book related blog postings so you may want to go back and read those before jumping into this one.

This one was recommended books from last summer. These books are the combo nutrition/lifestyle and recipe books about moving toward a plant based diet.. not strictly the cooking ones except for Veganomicon and The Skinny Bitch Everyday Cookbook.

This one is about investigating cookbooks. This one really is a must read.

Ok.. now onto this post!

I am a cookbook whore. There. I said it. I have over 40 vegan cookbooks right now.. that doesn't include the vegetarian ones or the ones where animal products are mentioned in recipes. Add those and I have a kitchen library. Truly.

Now... people ask me if I like to cook. Some days I love it and spend half the day in my kitchen and those are the days when I make lots of stuff to put in my freezer or fridge for the 'not so excited to be cooking days'! 

Some days I do it because I have to in order to put a good meal on the table and some days I have only the motivation to pour myself a bowl of cereal. 

That is why it's important to have a variety of cookbooks with different levels of recipes.

For example, one day this week I went out for lunch and did some running around so when it came time to make dinner I was kinda tired and a little uninspired so I wanted something quick, easy and not overly involved so I grabbed Chloe's Kitchen cookbook and whipped up a yummy Thai inspired dish that took about 15 minutes and time was mostly spent waiting for the noodles to cook. My husband and I both loved it as much as a recipe I had spent an hour on.

Hopefully you read my blog about investigating cookbooks.. there are so many variables that it's hard to know what each person will love or hate about each cookbook. It's all based on skill, taste and tools! I won't even bother telling you how the recipes taste because it's all relative. It even matters if you want to cook with convenience foods... some cookbooks use a lot of the pre-made vegan meats so if you don't have access tho hose then you probably won't like some cookbooks.

You may want to flip thru these books at your local bookstore to see if they are recipes you are interested in. I buy all my books from because I can get the lowest price there and I need that since I buy a lot of books!

I'll do these types of posts frequently as I spend more time with the cookbooks I have. I have many that I haven't really gotten into yet!

I'll also be doing a post about some of the books I have that are all cookies and desserts!

I'll give you a list of some of the recent cookbooks I've been using along with mini reviews.

In order to classify them, I'll mark them as follows:

Beginner - these recipes are good for beginner cooks that have limited cooking skills, are short on time or don't like to spend time in the kitchen. The recipes are usually easy to understand with a limited amount of steps and contain just a few ingredients. These are not necessarily 'peanut butter and jelly sandwich easy' recipes... but with a little effort they are what I call simple.

Intermediate - these recipes are little more advanced. they may require more ingredients (some that you may not have on hand), more steps and more time but are still not as an involved as some recipes can be.

Expert - recipes with involved steps, longer lists of ingredients and experience in the kitchen with specific techniques.

Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin

Review - I just got this book so I've only tried a couple things. This author is the personal chef of Ellen DeGeneres. The recipes are a little more adventurous than some books with unique and interesting dishes. Many use vegan convenience foods like Gardein brand products or pre-packaged vegan cheese (but you could always sub homemade versions of seitan and sauces)  and many use tofu. This non-vegan chef has taken some well-loved non-vegan food ideas and made them vegan. He also has fun with ideas like vegan fried chicken (using spring roll wrappers as the 'skin') and vegan caviar! There are a fair amount of photos but not every recipe is shown. 

Level - Intermediate

Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli

Review - Love this cookbook! I've made quite a few recipes and they've all been a hit! Chloe has easy to follow recipes that are a step above some. They are still easy to prepare but have a little more style and excitement than some of the more basic cookbooks I've run across. Lots of great photos!

Chloe has a website so you may want to get a few of her free recipes to see if her style works for you. I love her mac & cheese recipe. It's the best one I've found.

Level - Beginner 

The Sexy Vegan by Brian L Patton

Review - I've really been enjoying this cookbook. The recipes are different and unique but not so weird that you are scared to try them. Some are so interesting that you want to make them just to see what it will taste like. He has some great basics. Its a very funny book.. lots of crazy and hilarious names for recipes (My Balls is his vegan meatball recipe) and each recipe has a funny intro that keeps me laughing. His tempeh bacon recipe is where I found my inspiration to create my own recipe for my own taste. It's great!

Brian has a website and a You Tube channel with hilarious videos of his cooking. That is how he got his cookbook deal. 

Level - Intermediate

Review - I'm grouping her two books together because they are the same book layout with different recipes. Lindsay has quick, easy and basic recipes that give you no excuses.. so get into the kitchen and cook! Most of her recipes are ready in a short amount of time. I find that I sometimes have to punch up the excitement factor for me personally by adding in more seasonings or ingredients but that is just me! Great photos for almost every recipe. She likes to use tofu and she is a no-oil cook so desserts are made with applesauce and bananas instead of oil and sauteed dishes are sauteed in water or broth.

Lindsay has a nice website so you can try some of her recipes before buying the book.

Level - Beginner

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Behold The Power of Tempeh!

I'm a huge follower of tempeh. I'm almost worshiping it. Truly. I love it.

I'll be honest... I bought tempeh a couple times and never even opened it. I had to toss it when the 'best by' date came and went and the reason was because I had no idea what to do with it. The only tempeh I had ever had was the Fakin' Bacon from Lightlife and while it was ok, I didn't go crazy nutso over it until my friend Morgan (her blog is Little House of Veggies), gave me direction in how to prepare it. Then, my love affair with tempeh began and it's been in full force ever since! I think I have a couple ounces every day!

So, I'd like to share my love with all of you and hopefully introduce many people to the wonder and deliciousness that is tempeh!

What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is whole hulled soybeans that have been cooked, mixed with a culture and then fermented. The result is a pressed cake that can be sliced, grated, chopped or even slipped onto a skewer for the grill.
Some temeph can be multi-grain where brown rice, millet, flax or barley can be added to the cake.

Tempeh has a nice chewy bite and a nutty flavor. Like tofu, tempeh can be marinated to pick up whatever flavor you want it to have.

The History of Tempeh
The people of Indonesia have been eating tempeh for 2000 years!

The Health Benefits of Tempeh
Tempeh is a whole soy food that is minimally processed (unlike soymilk or tofu) so it's full of fiber. Fiber binds dietary fat and cholesterol so less is absorbed (but if you follow a plant based diet you aren't actually eating cholesterol, are ya?). Tempeh is a complete protein and it contains all of the essential amino acids. Tempeh is fermented so it aids in digestion much like a yogurt would. Tempeh has all the benefits of soy - it's lowers the bad cholesterol while raising the good, can ease menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and osteoporosis.

What About the 'Danger' of Soy?
Depending on who you ask, soy is either a miracle food or a food to avoid. I have done my own research on this topic and my conclusion is that it is fine if you don't go crazy eating overly processed soy and if you don't have a thyroid condition. If you have a thyroid condition, speak to a holistic doctor or nutritionist. A medical doctor doesn't get the nutritional training they do. Medical doctors probably won't be able to answer your questions.

Now, tempeh isn't processed in the same way soymilk, tofu and prepared convenience foods are. Tempeh is a whole food. I feel confident in eating a few ounces of tempeh a day. I don't eat tofu very often, I never have soy milk and I am careful to monitor my intake of all prepared convenience foods.

How to Use Tempeh
Tempeh can be used anywhere you'd use animal flesh. It can be made into bacon, burgers, ribs, ground for dishes, grated for tacos... the uses are really endless. The best way to prepare tempeh is either by steaming it and then using it as steaming removes some of the bitterness or marinating it and pan frying it or baking it. Many recipes use tempeh that has been chopped or crumbled but the way I use it most often is in bacon form!

I can place the bacon strips on a sandwich or crumble it on a salad or chop it into various dishes.

My friend Morgan has a great tempeh tutorial on her blog along with some fabulous recipes so be sure and check this link out!  I love her tempeh salad. She also gives you a great glazed tempeh recipe that is wonderful. You can find more great tempeh recipe on the internet. There are tons!

I'll share with you my recipe for tempeh bacon.

It was inspired by Brian Patton, The Sexy Vegan Chef. My recipe isn't exactly the one he makes.. so make sure you check out his book for his recipe.. it's fantastic too!

My BLT - I use a nice whole wheat bread, toasted with a smear of Vegenaise (I love to add a little chipotle sauce to it) along with campari tomatoes and a few leaves of lettuce. I usually use 4 to 5 slices of tempeh per sandwich.

Shelly's Tempeh Bacon
8 oz tempeh
1/4 to 1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp liquid smoke
6 grinds of Trader Joe's South African Smoke seasoning (optional)
Few grinds of fresh pepper

Slice the tempeh into thin bacon slices. if you do them thin, you can get them crispy. I usually get about 26 to 30 slices off an 8 oz brick. Place the slices into a container that has a leak proof lid. You will be marinating it and gently turning the container.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour the marinade over the slices and carefully turn over until the slices are all coated in marinade. Let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours if you can but no less than 8 hours. It helps to flip the container a few times thru that 24 hour period to help the marinade get all over the slices.

Preheat two or three frying pans (then you can cook it all at once) with a about a tablespoon of canola oil in each one. Drain off the marinade and rinse that container and set it aside. Pan fry the bacon slices until brown on both sides. You can cook longer if you want it crispy but pay attention as it can easily burn. I usually cook it until brown but not crisp and then if I want it crisp later on, I can warm it up in a pan with a little oil and make it crispy.

Refrigerate in the container you marinated it in.

You can also bake it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, flipping it half way thru.

To reheat: cook for 45 seconds in the microwave or warm up in a pan.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Original Recipe - Cheesy Corn Puffs

I'm not sure this is an actual recipe as you can do whatever you want to get your desired flavor result.

My Facebook friend and fellow veganista, Michelle, lives around the world from me and she can't get some of the vegan things, like Tings (a vegan cheeto type snack) so this is for her.. but I suspect she can't even get her hands on the corn puffs either. Sorry babe!

I bought a bag of the Jay's O Ke Doke Corn Puffs and then I poured some into a large freezer size baggie along with a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast and a buncha cranks of the Trader Joe's South African Smoke grinder and shook it like hell until the corn puffs were coated in cheesy, smoky goodness!

You can make whatever flavor you like.. I'm thinking nutritional yeast and garlic powder or flamin' hot with chili powder and nutritional yeast!

Have some for Michelle!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Original Recipe: Shelly's Roasted Garlic Guacamole

You are welcome to share this recipe but please link back to my blog!

I love Mexican food and I love guacamole but only homemade, please and no chunks of onion, tomatoes or peppers or !%$@ lettuce in it.


Here is my recipe... and a quick bonus tutorial on how to roast garlic!

Shelly's Roasted Garlic Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
10 cloves roasted garlic (see technique below)
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp dried cilantro (fresh is even better)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp Sriracha (or similar hot sauce, optional)

Mash up the avocado with the other ingredients and mix the mess together. Put it in a pretty bowl and let people at it or slather it all over your tacos or dollop on nachos. It's also great as the 'mayo' in a tempeh bacon and tomato sandwich.

                                                                                    How to Roast Garlic

There is nothing as delicious as roasted garlic!

When you roast it, it gets all soft and buttery and mellows out. You can slather it directly on warm bread for an amazing butter-free topping!

I like to add whole cloves into my marinara pasta sauce and I even eat them straight.

You can buy garlic roasters but if you don't have one, you can wrap the bulbs in one big foil bubble.

Take the whole bulb of garlic and cut the top off about 1/4 inch or so... save as much as you can while still exposing the cloves (see photo) and place flat side down in a roaster or on foil.

Sprinkle top with your choice of herbs and salt. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees until you start to smell it (about 30 mins) and then let it go another 15 or 20 minutes. it is done when it browns slightly and the cloves are buttery soft.

Once cooled enough to handle, pop out the cloves into a dish and refrigerate. I usually let it cool about 30 minutes. You want it cool enough to handle but still warm because it's easier to get the cloves out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Recipe: Warm Fudge Cups

I love fudge. I mean, I really love fudge and going vegan wasn't going to stop me from indulging in my favorite sweet treat!

I know it's nothing but sugar but sometimes a girl just needs fudge. Truly. Seriously. For real.

I really like my fudge warm. I like to eat it with a little spoon so I can take tiny bites. I usually have it while I'm watching some mindless TV show.

Usually I'll make fudge and pour it into a pan and then just cut chunks off and microwave it slightly so it softens enough for me to mix up any number of delicious spoon fudge creations. I'm never one to stick with one kind so I keep my options open!

One idea I had was to make individual fudge cups so I could simply microwave one up and be good to go!

You can use your favorite fudge recipe. I used the Walnut Chocolate Fudge recipe from the Chloe's Kitchen Cookbook. My policy on handing over recipes is this - if I can find the recipe online elsewhere then I'll post it here, otherwise you're on your own because if I had a cookbook and everyone gave out the recipes for free, I'd be pissed so I'm not doing it to the authors. Her book is fabulous and you should just buy it anyway.. on it's under $12 so just go get it.

Anyway,  make your fave fudge recipe and then divide it into individual portions using silicone cupcake pans. I sprayed each cup lightly with cooking spray because I figured it couldn't hurt. Then you can flavor each cup how you'd like. I made rocky road with vegan marshmallows and walnut pieces and peanut butter with a dollop of peanut butter in the middle. You could also make them with crushed peppermint candies, broken Oreos or whatever else you can think of. Then you refrigerate them about 24 hours until very firm otherwise they won't pop out very well. You can probably freeze them to make them set quicker.

Pop them out, wrap each in a piece of plastic wrap (or in a baggie) and store in the fridge.

If you don't have the silicone pans you could pour your fudge in a large pan (line it with parchment paper for easy removal) and then position your add-ins on each 'piece', refrigerate and then cut them into individual squares. Let me know if you try that!

When you want to eat one, just pop one out, warm it slightly, mix it up and dig in with your tiny spoon!

It's pure nirvana. I promise. Warm is the only way to eat fudge!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tips for Going Plant Based - Plant Based Travel (part 3)

Part 3 - Eating out while traveling


Ask Questions.

Never Assume and if you do, assume the worst.

Be Prepared.

When you follow a plant based lifestyle, eating out in your home city is tricky enough so being in a strange city can cause some anxiety.

The best way to alleviate your stress is to research and plan ahead!

If you will be in a large city then your options will be plenty, a small town? Not so much!

You HAVE to ask questions. Never assume anyone knows what vegan actually means. You'd be surprised what people think is vegan.

One time I was told that the marinara was vegan because they removed the meatballs after they cooked them in the sauce! People think chicken and fish are vegan and no one ever thinks that broth is something you'd be avoiding.

Chain restaurants are going to be mostly off your list unless it's Native Foods Cafe or a similar vegan chain. Same with fast food. There are a few places you can get something that will tide you over but to get the really good stuff you will need to find the local ethnic restaurants.

Your first step should be to check for any local vegan places and if that is a no-go.. then read on:

Fast Food

Keep in mind that these places may go against your morals and beliefs since they serve animal products. You may not wish to eat there. I encourage you to check out the websites of various fast food places and make yourself aware of what items they have that are plant based so you are prepared.

Don't assume the veggie burgers or fries are ok (McDonald's adds milk and beef to their fries and Burger King's veggie burger is not vegan!). Plus, companies routinely change their ingredients so you need to double check frequently.

Always know what your options are. I don't recommend eating fast food crap unless you have no choice. 

Most places have salads that you can order without chicken and cheese but most salad dressings will not be ok and will be filled with high fructose corn syrup. You could ask for lemon wedges or salsa for a dressing if you can't find an oil/vinegar selection.

Mexican places like Taco Bell usually have bean burritos, bean tacos and mexican pizza type products that you can request be made meat, cheese and sour cream free. Chipotle has white rice, black beans (the pintos have pork), salsa and guacamole that are all ok. I believe their tortillas, taco shells and chips are all safe.

Sandwiches shops like Subway, Quizno's and Jimmy Johns can be a little tricky. For example, at Subway, only their Italian bread is vegan and free from HFCS so I get that for my Veggie Delite sub. I get all the veggies, salt, pepper and mustard. Most of the sauces are mayo based and even the vinegar sauces can sometimes contain animal ingredients. If you are taking the sandwich back to your home base you can add slices of Tofurky or tempeh and a slather of Vegenaise if you were lucky enough to score some!

Again, the key to successfully navigating fast food joints is research. Make a list of each company and what they offer that is vegan. Carry it with you.

Ethnic Restaurants

Generally, ethnic restaurants are your best bet but they can have hidden ingredients you need to watch out for.

Japanese - I've never been to a Japanese place that didn't have veggie sushi! If you're like me and you don't like nori (seaweed) then you can ask for Soy Wrap. The 5 sushi places in my small town all offer it so I'd expect to see it available elsewhere. I also like to get an order of veggie tempura. Most soups are broth based so check with your server. You can usually find yakisoba noodles and fried rice, just ask for no broth, no fish sauce, no eggs and no meat.

Thai and Chinese - our local places will sub in tofu for whatever meat is listed in a dish or you can just have the veggies. There may be a few appetizers that are vegan like spring rolls or fried veggies. Soups are usually broth based, so ask questions. Ask that they use no fish sauce, no MSG and no egg.

Mediterranean - hummus, falafel, and salads await you! The photo in this post is the veggie platter from our local Mediterranean place. The food is delicious. Soups usually have broth but you may get lucky. Just ask. At our local place, if we call a day ahead we can have soup made without the chicken broth.

Italian - cheeseless pizza, pasta with marinara sauce or tossed with veggies, herbs and olive oil, salads are usually safe. Call ahead to see if you need to bring your own salad dressing or Earth Balance for the bread. some sauces contain meat or cheese so ask some questions. I like to take along a jar of my vegan parmesan 'cheese' to sprinkle on my pizza.

Indian - I've never had Indian food but I've hard it can be vegan friendly. 

Mexican - beans are your best friend, provided they aren't full of lard. So that should be your first question. generally, I'd go for the veggie fajitas but if the beans are safe you could do tacos or a burrito. The chips and salsa are almost always safe.

Chain Restaurants

I try like hell to stay away from chain restaurants. However, I know it can be unavoidable on vacation. 

Steakhouses - the shocking thing I've learned about these places is that they take innocent veggies and subject them to horrific treatment involving flesh and secretions. Baked potatoes slathered in lard before baking, bacon added to green beans, mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter and then left soaking in it.. the horrors are plenty. Even the breads aren't safe.

I usually get a baked sweet potato (plain) and put on my own cinnamon. You can also bring a little earth balance, maple syrup or sucanat if you want it sweet. I'll also get a salad minus the flesh and secretions. I bring my own dressing.

American - these are those places that have a little bit of everything on their menu. Places like TGI Fridays, Applebees and the like.  I'm gonna say that probably you won't find much there. I can't even think of anything to suggest. You have to go online and search their website for ingredients. You may find salads you can change up or a potato choice but it's gonna be tough. I gotta be honest.

Breakfast places - the problem here is going to be butter, eggs and milk. You can ask if their pancakes and waffles are made with water or milk, if they are egg free but you will still need to bring your own Earth Balance and pure maple syrup. They will have flavored HFCS on the table. You could get hash browns and veggies but are they cooked in butter? 

I'd go for the fresh fruit dish and maybe a slice of toast or an english muffin but again, ask about milk and the jam will be HFCS, I'm sure. They might have peanut butter tho.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Dilemma

I often get private messages from people curious about plant based eating. I get recipe requests or questions about how to start the plant based journey and I get various other questions that are very specific. This last week, I got two similar questions from two different people so I thought I'd post about it since it seems to be a topic people are thinking about.

The question is this .. "is it ok to eat eggs and drink milk if they came from a local farm of someone I know or am related to or if I myself have cows and chickens?" "Is it ok to buy meat from a local farmer?"

The answer isn't black and white because every person is different in what they find acceptable regarding morals, ethics and compassion.


If you yourself have chickens or you have a family member or neighbor or even just a local farmer that has them and you know that they are being treated well, have access to the outdoors, are being fed quality feed and have a good life by whatever standards you set, then is it ok to eat their eggs?

It depends on your thought process. For me, the answer is still no because it is my belief that eating eggs is bad for my health. I've done enough research to know that my personal truth is that eating eggs is not something that is a healthy food choice. They are full of cholesterol and that is bad for my heart. Plus, when you think about what an egg IS, it's gross and I simply can't stomach eating it.

Now, if you don't care about your health and the sole deciding factor is whether or not the chickens are treated well, then you may decide that as long as you buy eggs from a source that you deem is humane then it's ok to eat eggs. I think people want to make themselves feel better because they have a natural guilt within themselves.. they think if they only eat 'cruelty free' eggs then it's somehow ok .. it eases their mind.

Only you can decide that.


Here is where it gets tricky. In case you have forgotten, in order for a mammal to produce milk, it must be pregnant or have just given birth. The purpose of that milk is to feed a baby. Cows are mammals, just like humans so the reason their bodies produce milk is because they have a baby coming. If the baby drinks the milk as intended then humans can't drink it so humans remove the baby and steal the milk for themselves.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you now have this leftover baby. No dairy farmer is going to keep an animal around for the hell of it so the boy babies are slaughtered as veal while the girl babies are returned into a life of slavery like their mommies. Cows are forcibly impregnated (we call that rape), have their babies stolen from them and are forced to endure that horror for 4 to 6 years years until they are finally spent and finally sent to slaughter. A cow has a life expectancy of 20 years when they aren't tortured and used.

So, under no circumstances can milk and dairy ever be considered 'ok' as far as the treatment of the cows. You cannot get milk without depriving the baby of it's food source.

The other obvious point is that milk and dairy products are not healthy to consume. In fact, milk and dairy are probably the worst thing you can consume. It's full of cholesterol and saturated fat and the sole purpose of milk is to make a baby cow very fat in a short period of time. Milk is full of disgusting things like blood, pus, hormones, and antibiotics. Cheese has all those things plus the stomach lining of a calf. Yum.

I won't get into the specifics of why you shouldn't eat dairy. There is study after study about why you shouldn't so if you really care enough to learn, go Google it. Inform yourself! I know that I felt 100% better when I stopped eating dairy. My husband lost a fast 20 lbs by cutting back on it to where he really only has dairy a few times a month.


Well, this one is easy for me. I don't care if the farmer lets the cows, pigs and chickens sleep in his bed, lets them graze on a million open pastures and puts diamonds around their necks .. in order to get it's flesh it must be slaughtered.  It doesn't matter that they had a couple years of lazily chomping on grass in a pasture with trees or were allowed to roll around in a mud hole or had a nest and were able to peck along in the dirt.


That person is still killing (or sending it off to be killed at the same slaughterhouses that the factory farms use) a being that looked to him for care, that did what he asked of it, that never tried to hurt him.

You are ingesting a being that was led to it's death while absolutely terrified. It was beaten and tortured and forced into it's final walk to it's death and it was subjected to hearing the fear and dying sounds of it's fellow beings while waiting for it's own death. They know what is coming. They are sentient. Most are brutally butchered while still conscious.

My body is not a graveyard and I don't want to consume something so full of fear and pain. I think it's karma.What you put into your health, you get out of it. You poison your body with fear, pain, torture, death and suffering.... you'll reap what you sow in the form of preventable cancers, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other illnesses. Plus, it's just bad energy.

It is your personal choice what you put into your body but if people become aware and educated, I believe people will start taking control over their health and stop walking blindly along the path they've been led down since childhood.

Start to question what you've been told. Stop taking the word of the those that have something to gain from telling you lies and propaganda. Start making choices that will benefit you rather than destroy you ... if you don't want to do it for yourself then do it for the people you love and the people that love you. You have responsibilities to your family to be around as long as possible.

 If poisoning yourself is your choice then at least get some life insurance on yourself.

Life, Love and Compassion

Finally, I am saddened by the lack of simple compassion I see all around me. People tell me they love animals and yet they eat them. What they mean is that they 'love' some animals and are indifferent to others.

If you love the taste of bacon and don't give a shit about the lives taken to supply you with it, then admit it and own it but don't tell me you love animals and then turn around and eat one.

You don't eat what you love.

I believe we are taught to compartmentalize and shut ourselves off from our decency and compassion as children... most children are horrified to learn what a hamburger is and instead of encouraging them to abstain from eating animals, we force them to overlook their inherent nature of not eating them and make them eat them. Why? because that is just how it's always been.

What if everything you thought was true .... isn't?  Go watch The Matrix.

Take the red pill.