I have referred to my children and stepchildren in the past but I want to first clarify they are all my children both unofficially since the day I met them but I also adopted my two older daughters in April making us one wonderful big funky family of five. The good thing about this is that I can be way more involved in supporting their dreams and goals now. The middle daughter is a huge animal lover. She wants to save every animal and do everything she can. She also is 12 and slips up. She will do a vegan challenge and then eat a burger. It happens. I give the kids two guaranteed vegan meals a day. Breakfast and Dinner. Their lunch is up to them. I think they need to make their choices at school since I know they are healthy at home. They are both very aware and compassionate and want to do what is kind and right. One thing I haven’t gotten into much is that Emma wants to own an Animal Sanctuary one day and she has dedicated nearly every conversation toward this goal for quite some time. We ask her what she wants for Christmas, Birthday, etc. it is money for her Sanctuary or to go to a sanctuary or to do something with animals. She is only 12 and that dedicated. She is learning how to take care of horses now as well and it is very therapeutic for her (I know many vegans are against horseback riding but I encourage her compassionate side. She wants to take care of them, not use them to pull people around Central Park.) If she has them at the Sanctuary she dreams of, then she will be that much more aware of their needs and things that should be avoided because they hurt the animal. I am so proud of the girl she is growing into.
In a few weeks she turns 13. So I started a page for her secretly to jumpstart her entrepreneurship of this future sanctuary. I will unveil it to her on her birthday. Emma’s Animal Sanctuary will need many steps and I promised I would help her from the day she asked me very seriously about it. I told her she needed to study in college and make sure she could do everything that encompasses owning such a venture. Since then she has made design plans, business plans, ideas for raising money. I said she’s incredible right? Well anyway I want to share her page with everyone so you can donate, help out, volunteer expertise, or anything. She will be grateful that you are supporting her in any way. For a girl that came into my life as a toddler to now be so strong is a dream. She has conquered some serious things in her little life and she pushes through PTSD and Anxiety by therapeutic animals and people. She wants to give back to other girls like her while saving all the animals she can. Compassion is her medicine and she wants to share it. So help me help her. This is a big goal and I will need the whole community to make this happen. Happy Thanksgiving.
I was really interested in this cookbook from the minute I picked it up in my hands. It is beautifully set up, has wonderful pictures, the recipes are detailed, they label vegan or vegetarian etc. I mean I really can’t ask for more in a mainstream book. Also the famed Martha Stewart was behind it and I wish one day to be like her in so many ways (obviously not the way she got in trouble but the cooking and housekeeping ways). The major disappointment I felt was that everything was focused around cheese and eggs and there was very few novel recipes for vegans. As a vegan i can indeed substitute and I did in some cases like a pasta dish. It did open me up to experimenting more with sauces and trying to alter the ones that were dairy based in the book but I wish that they had these options in the book already. The food that I did make and feed to my family was amazing. I now keep foods in my fridge I did not before (like lemons in the freezer for zesting). Overall I was happy with it but I guess as a vegan you always hope for just a little more from mainstream cookbooks. If I was a vegetarian or omnivore I would have been elated!
Initially when I decided to read this book I thought it should be particularly interesting and relatable for me as a vegan (and my readers with food allergies), since I was forced to transition at 29 years old after an emergency surgery, years of GI issues, and many unknown food allergies since Paul Graham is describing his new found celiac disease (bread/wheat allergy basically). However, I found myself more annoyed in the beginning. I found that the author took his need for bread too far the way vegans that want to argue about animal rights do. All I could think as I read was “Oh god he is THAT kind of allergy eater”. “That” kind are the ones that become so outspoken, argumentative, and rude in restaurants that when I come in they cringe at the word “food allergy” or “vegan”. Food allergies must be taken very seriously in the kitchen which I agree on his point however, he and I have allergies that cause severe discomfort and possibly a long term issue GI wise. We do not however, have an anaphylactic allergy in which we will die on the floor from a rogue peanut or piece of coconut the way some do. That is what annoyed me. I really wanted to like this book because he does go into the pains of what happens when you are forced to transition without warning, how others view you, and exactly what food means in our culture. This is all such important stuff to get across in the new world of acceptable food allergies. The way it was presented though, made the book difficult at best to read. I found myself dreading reading some sections but interested in others where history or culture was discussed. So if you have a celiac allergy, you may take to it but you may also get annoyed as I did.
Food is Love.
The Hippie Gypsy
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I have done this in the past where I have listed some staple items that I use but today a friend from elementary school said she was struggling with being vegan and had turned to salad so I wanted to make up a list for her of things in my fridge/pantry that I think are definite “go to’s” for me in a house with omnivore husband, 14 year old, 10 year old, and a vegan baby. So here it goes my updated list:
List of Vegan Products Everyone Should Have in their Fridge or Pantry or Try:
- The Obvious fruits, veggies, pasta, and grains always on hand. I keep a lot of different types of grains and mix them together in the steamer (brown rice, couscous, quinoa, amaranth, etc)
- Beyond Meat Chicken (http://beyondmeat.com/)
- Beyond Meat burgers (always add standard topping before trying likes cheese ketchup mustard lettuce tomato, otherwise the taste is a little off, never expect a perfect meaty burger, its not meat and doesn’t have blood in it)
- Beyond Meat Fiesty Crumbles (taco meat)
- Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (for pasta sauce or lasagna)
- Bulger Wheat (this is perfect to put in chili or pasta sauce for a meaty texture and will take on the flavor of the sauce)
- Colgin Liquid Smoke (it’s a small bottle of liquid but gives a meaty smoky flavor with just a few drops to Seitan)
- Seitan (I use various kinds but will not eat it without liquid smoke and maple syrup, this gives the taste of a ham flavor)
- Gardein Fishless Filets (Literally identical to those Gordon’s battered fish filets) (http://www.gardein.com )
- Gardein Chicken Strips 7 grain (perfect with honey or Beefree Honee)
- Gardein Chicken Sliders (easy to microwave and taste the same)
- Gardein Chickenless Patties or Whole Foods 365 Chickenless patties
- Whole Foods 365 Chickenless Nuggets
- Gardein brand everything is also available at Yardhouse and you should def try it.
- Chao Cheese in any flavor is great, I use creamy for grilled cheese
- Earth Balance Butter Products
- Hazelnut Milk for cereal (I use Pacific Foods)
- Soy milk for cooking creamy Sauces
- Daiya Cheeses for cooking, do not eat anything except the block Havarti and Gouda raw, they don’t taste right.
- Firm Tofu and Chickpeas mashed together with seasoning (garlic etc) makes a great ricotta for lasagna or you can buy Tofutti brand
- Tofutti or Daiya Cream Cheese or Sour Creams ( http://www.tofutti.com/ )
- Tofutti American slices for sandwiches and grilled cheese
- American Flatbread Company Vegan Harvest Pizza is great (www.americanflatbread.com )
- Go Veggie! Vegan Parmesan (small purple container, is the only kind I will use none are even close to this)
- Amy’s brand meals frozen
- Dr. McDougall’s dry soups, Asian noodle containers, and oatmeals
- Vega Protein Powders
- Orgain Vegan Protein Nutritional Shakes
- Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix with one can of pumpkin makes brownies, same with cake mixes just check for milk
- Kirkland (Costco) semi sweet chocolate chips are vegan
- Earth Balance Puffs are like Pirate’s booty, they also have cheese popcorn like Smartfood
- Look on PETA for “accidentally vegan products” as well
- Just Mayo is amazing. I really love the knew chipotle and siracha flavors and put it on vegan fish tacos with the gardein fish like a chipotle sauce would go on)
- Vegan Pesto is sold at Whole Foods in the section with olives and mozzarella and I can’t remember the brand but it is a black container with a brown natural wrap and a heart on it, it has regular pesto too and other sauces.
- Victoria Brand Vegan Cream Sauces and Marinara
- Rao’s marinara
- Whole Foods Premade Pizza Dough
- FoMu Ice Creams (based in Allston but sell at some Whole Foods)
- Cashew Cream Sauces
- Pacific Foods Cashew Based Soups or any soups that are vegan are good
- Earth Balance Boxed Mac n Cheese is amazing just like Kraft
- Look at veganessentials.com for help too, I love them, shipping is expensive but they have everything first. Otherwise my go to for specialty stuff is Whole Foods but I can get a lot at Market Basket, Stop and Shop, Shaws, etc.
- So Delicious Brand Ice Creams, milks, etc.
- I also eat that pudding with the Panda on it by Zen products. Chocolate only, vanilla had a weird chemical smell I didn’t like and separated after a few days.
- I also like the Tofurkey Beer Brats they are amazing and I will also grab the sliced sandwich meats if they have cheese and such on the sandwich too.
- I do Field Roast for the holidays with the pastry wrap and stuffing with cranberries and such inside.
- Vegg for cooking without eggs in pretty much every format except scrambled. It even smells like egg.
- I also love the pasta products from Explore Asian. They have Black bean and soy and all are filled with extra protein but taste just like traditional pasta.
I think that is most. I just added some that I forgot too. Eat up! Food is love.
This is the time of year for fuzzy warm socks and hoodies and boots. I love Fall more than any other time of year. I am lucky enough to have just celebrated my daughters first birthday and made her a wonderful Almond Cherry Cake that I will absolutely post soon. However, it was a soup I made last night that I just HAD to post.
I had 4 small sweet potatoes sitting on my counter begging me to cook them but nothing I thought they would pair with. I wanted to have soup for dinner but I was out of my signature squash cashew and I had no cashews to cream up any veggies I had. That’s when I thought that maybe I could make a roasted sweet potato soup with coconut milk and it would be so warm and delicious on this really cool fall day. It was about 54 degrees outside and I could feel the first chill seeping through the windows. I warmed up the oven to 400 degrees took out my baking stone and roasted the four sweet potatoes for an hour. No oil, no salt.
4 small sweet potatoes/yams
1 cup Apple Cider
1 packet onion soup with 2 cups of water
2 tablespoons yellow curry spice
1 tablespoon coconut oil
RECIPE DIRECTIONS Continued:
When the sweet potatoes were roasted, I peeled them and tossed them in the Vitamix with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons curry spice (yellow), 1 tablespoon coconut oil, and 1 cup apple cider and pureed the mixture. It was very thick.
I then boiled a broth of onion soup mix and 4 carrots for about 20 minutes and then poured it into my vitamix. Blend until smooth and transfer back to the broth saucepan to warm through.
This was the most amazing soup. I poured it into a soup bowl that had a scoop of mixed steamed grains in the center. THe grains I made in my rice cooker. It was equal parts 1 cup of: Amaranth, Brown Basmati Rice, and Red Quinoa. I then added 1/4 cup of black chia seeds and 1/4 cup of split peas for extra protein.
The meal was hearty and warm and everything a fall or autumn meal should be. Everyone loved it. My stepkids loved the smell so much they ate a second dinner after having gone out to dinner with my parents already!
Food is Love.
So we are closing in on day six. I wake up hungry and I am hungry each day by dinner which means that I am losing the weight and my body is reacting at the appropriate times. I am not hungry all day and I actually have enjoyed all the foods I have eaten and don’t think of them as “diet food” as much as a normal breakfast and lunch. At dinner I just eat reasonably. i splurge a little once a week but that’s all. Simple enough.
Lunch Day 6: Pistachio Citrus Quinoa Salad (made with organic quinoa and couscous)
Okay first off this smells amazing coming out of the microwave and is also the simplest to make so far. 1.5mins inthe microwave and some water and we are good. When i took it out of the microwave my coworker declared she was going to lunch because I was making her hungry with whatever yumminess I just made. So far, so good and it isn’t even in my mouth yet! It is not too salty or sweet and you can definitely taste teh citrus. It does get a little thick as it sits so keep that in mind. You may want to add some extra hot water, a dash of oil or margarine if you feel it is too think but I ate it just fine as is. The seasoning is very nice and backs up the refreshment of the citrus flavor. I did notice the pistachios but couldn’t really taste them. I did get one that stuck in my teeth though! Overall a very simple dish. I would say this is more of a side dish I would have with maybe a vegan chicken salad. I wouldn’t eat this as much as a main meal but I enjoyed it overall.
Food is Love.
The Hippie Gypsy
I was in a curry kinda mood all week. I love curry. I had a wonderful tofu coconut curry at this restaurant Opus in Salem, MA the other night and it just made me want to eat curry forever. I really kinda hate Indian food though so I am more of a Thai curry kinda girl. This lunch cup was more of an indian curry but I was surprised by it!
Lunch Day 5: All Natural Asian Pilafs Lentil Curry
So, now that you all know I kinda hate Indian food I must say this wasn’t terrible. It was spicy which I am absolutely okay with but it was also very salty and had a lot of flavor going on. I would say thus far, this is definitely my least favorite but I did eat it all. I struggled a little because the curry was strong but the meal was hearty and filling. I have learned to put a napkin instead of foil over my meals as they sit and it works fine enough. The rice was a little chewy but generally okay. If you like this kind of curry please eat up! Otherwise, maybe go for the other curries I listed before.
Food is Love.
The Hippy Gypsy
Sorry for the delay between day 3 and 4. I went on vacation and had a nasty cold so I am just getting back to the computer. I am still sick though. What is with these summer colds everyone is getting? My father has double pneumonia my husband is heading toward bronchitis and even the baby had the sniffles. Well, nothing a little oatmeal and about a bucket of drinking water and ten cups of tea hasn’t seemed to handle well enough! Back to reviews of this awesome vegan meal plan.
Day 4: Teriyaki Flavored Organic Asian Noodles
So I am finding with all the organic Asian noodle cups that they are slightly sweet. I am not sure entirely what this is accounted from, I checked the label and it only had 8 sugar grams. So I guess it must be something in the sauce. It isn’t a good or bad thing it is simply something I am coming to notice and a pinch of me wishes it wasn’t quite that sweet and a little more savory. The noodles I love though. They remind me of an egg noodle with their elasticity. They have such a good chew to them for being a microwaveable noodle cup. I expect mushy ramen but get these really great quality ones instead. I have also come to find out that many of my local whole foods carry a limited variety of these cups so i may be able to buy more from the store in the future and not just in bulk over the internet. Save the shipping cost. At Whole Foods the cups were all about $1.99. So I think that was a pretty good deal. Now back to the flavor, it is a nice rich terriyaki flavor. Coworkers walked buy adn said wow who is eating that it smells so good. My only comment between mouthfuls: “It actually is really good!” I really have yet to complain about this brand and it is kinda scaring me. I run into so many boring “vegan” meals out there or ones with bad consistency or weird flavors. This has been surprisingly spot on. Bonus to the whole I am losing weight thing for sure! As for the breakfasts, that oatmeal is still killing it. I am so full from it, I can’t even explain what does it but I am stuffed after breakfast! So far, so amazing!
Food is Love.
The Hippie Gypsy
So I am starting to feel the diet a bit today. I have officially lost weight already and furthermore my drives to work are filled with the sounds of my tummy yelling for my oatmeal. I had the apple today, used a pinch less water and had it sit longer. Voila! Perfecto! As for the lunch time meal I chose, I picked The soy ginger noodles. Again, I was wanting to put peanut butter in them and make them a satay flavor but I held back sort of. I waited until I ate most of them and then seeing they were only 200 calories added a tiny bit just to try it out and they were phenomenal still. I know I know, don’t alter but don’t you want to know your options if you want to spice things up? I know I do! So here is my full review (before I started adding peanuts).
Day 3: Lunch Meal of Organic Soy Ginger Asian Noodles
Okay so I admit I didn’t know how to reduce the work microwaves power so it is my fault that the water/broth boiled over a little. I kept checking it every 30 seconds like an idiot. After I realized it was done, I looked for the sitting time and saw that I needed tin foil to cover it (really?). I get that this seems like a normal item one would have at home but not really on the go. SO I had to forgo the interesting rules about having the noodles sit and just let them sit sans foil. No matter, they came out good anyhow. I think normalizing directions is critical in take away items for people. Telling people to do things like bring more materials and reduce power and chant to it for 30 seconds. All a bit much. I mean I know it is probably a tad more tasty or well cooked with all these fancy instructions but maybe we just need to be more realistic int he rules we set for our cup of noodles. I am flexible but I don’t carry foil to the office. I do carry a can opener though and everyone thinks that is amazing, so I have that going for me. The noodles were very light and had a chew that was reminiscent of the rice noodle or mung bean noodle in its elasticity which I enjoyed. The broth it was cooked in was perfectly light and flavorful and I think I may enjoy it in lieu of a light soup any day of the week. I think my stepkids and husband would even love it with a grilled cheese sandwich some afternoon (we use chao creamy now and multigrain bread, so good). It was filling and even though I did add a dash of PB at the end for taste testing it as a peanut sauce, which was very successful, it didn’t necessarily need anything accompanying it. I did love my chunky PB in it though. 🙂
So overall? Again, a winning day. I am feeling like I am on a lucky streak and afraid that I won’t like the next days lunch because the odds are against me now. I am bound not to like something I would think. But hey maybe not maybe everything from this group will turn out to be delicious. Like diner food is always delicious. I don’t think I have ever had a bad meal at a diner.
Food is Love.
The Hippie Gypsy