Vegan Must Have Products, Brands, Staples, etc.

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:

 

  1. 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)
  2. Beyond Meat Chicken (http://beyondmeat.com/)
  3. 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)
  4. Beyond Meat Fiesty Crumbles (taco meat)
  5. Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (for pasta sauce or lasagna)
  6. 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)
  7. Colgin Liquid Smoke (it’s a small bottle of liquid but gives a meaty smoky flavor with just a few drops to Seitan)
  8. Seitan (I use various kinds but will not eat it without liquid smoke and maple syrup, this gives the taste of a ham flavor)
  9. Gardein Fishless Filets (Literally identical to those Gordon’s battered fish filets) (http://www.gardein.com )
  10. Gardein Chicken Strips 7 grain (perfect with honey or Beefree Honee)
  11. Gardein Chicken Sliders (easy to microwave and taste the same)
  12. Gardein Chickenless Patties or Whole Foods 365 Chickenless patties
  13. Whole Foods 365 Chickenless Nuggets
  14. Gardein brand everything is also available at Yardhouse and you should def try it.
  15. Chao Cheese in any flavor is great, I use creamy for grilled cheese
  16. Earth Balance Butter Products
  17. Hazelnut Milk for cereal (I use Pacific Foods)
  18. Soy milk for cooking creamy Sauces
  19. Daiya Cheeses for cooking, do not eat anything except the block Havarti and Gouda raw, they don’t taste right.
  20. Firm Tofu and Chickpeas mashed together with seasoning (garlic etc) makes a great ricotta for lasagna or you can buy Tofutti brand
  21. Tofutti or Daiya Cream Cheese or Sour Creams ( http://www.tofutti.com/ )
  22. Tofutti American slices for sandwiches and grilled cheese
  23. American Flatbread Company Vegan Harvest Pizza is great (www.americanflatbread.com )
  24. Go Veggie! Vegan Parmesan (small purple container, is the only kind I will use none are even close to this)
  25. Amy’s brand meals frozen
  26. Dr. McDougall’s dry soups, Asian noodle containers, and oatmeals
  27. Vega Protein Powders
  28. Orgain Vegan Protein Nutritional Shakes
  29. Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix with one can of pumpkin makes brownies, same with cake mixes just check for milk
  30. Kirkland (Costco) semi sweet chocolate chips are vegan
  31. Earth Balance Puffs are like Pirate’s booty, they also have cheese popcorn like Smartfood
  32. Look on PETA for “accidentally vegan products” as well
  33. 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)
  34. 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.
  35. Victoria Brand Vegan Cream Sauces and Marinara
  36. Rao’s marinara
  37. Whole Foods Premade Pizza Dough
  38. FoMu Ice Creams (based in Allston but sell at some Whole Foods)
  39. Cashew Cream Sauces
  40. Pacific Foods Cashew Based Soups or any soups that are vegan are good
  41. Earth Balance Boxed Mac n Cheese is amazing just like Kraft
  42. 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.
  43. So Delicious Brand Ice Creams, milks, etc.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. I do Field Roast for the holidays with the pastry wrap and stuffing with cranberries and such inside.
  47. Vegg for cooking without eggs in pretty much every format except scrambled. It even smells like egg.
  48. 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.

Being Vegan Doesn’t Always Mean I Eat Healthy

During my pregnancy and the past month or so of holidays, I have had to explain to folks that just because I am vegan does not always mean I am healthy. I still eat macaroni and cheese and french fries and candy. I just eat it prepared in a different way. Now yes, I am much healthier in what I consume because there are much more veggies involved but at the same time I gained weight when I became vegan because before everything I ate made me ill for the most part. The thing is though, cake is still cake. Vegan cake is still fat and sugars and flour. It is just vegan sugars, plant based fats, and organic flour. All of which still hit you right on those hips.

So when I went to the grocery store with my younger step daughter I thought, we need to clean our menu up just a little more. No more white and wheat bread from the store, we need whole grain bread. No more refined white pasta, lets try some new grains that the kids aren’t used to like quinoa and blends of brown rice and amaranth etc. We need to change this up and make more “whole foods” come in. My husband had just complained the week before that he had been on a business trip and was so sick from the garbage food he ate while away that he couldn’t wait to come home. He even asked if we had something to detox him so he could feel better faster. I gave him some Detox tea by Yogi and a salad. I think that should start the healing. The idea though was a profound one, we had adjusted our lifestyle just enough the last 3 years that we couldn’t be an “average” American eating out and having subs anymore. I took a little pride in this but also was kinda shocked that these little changes I had made for myself had truly affected my whole family. Even my Midwestern, meat eating, cheese loving, butter dipping, corn fed husband.

So last night I tried a new vegan product and figured this would be one more step to eating better but still not completely compromising. I tried “Vegg” eqq yolk replacer for cooking (not the baking kind, although I tried that the other day and it worked great on cookies) and tried to make a quiche with broccoli and Daiya Jack cheese. I failed at the recipe miserably and I still am not sure why. I think it was a sign that maybe even this was too processed and rich. It smelled amazing but just would not come together and set. It kept turning to liquid. So I finally gave up after almost 2 hours of baking and made vegan “chicken” and a side of couscous and spinach for the kids and sulked in my room. When I came down 2 hours later the quiche had set while it was on the table! I tried it and it was tasty but I had heartburn straight through this morning from it. So for lunch I made a sandwich with Whole Grain bread some curried chicken salad with Beyond Meat, Just Mayo, Cranberries, and sliced almonds. I have realized that my combo of healthier vegan meat/egg options mixed with whole grains, veggies, fruits, and nuts is what is going to work for our family. The kids love the fake meats and the whole grains so its easy to integrate in veggies they like. I think this will be our “recipe” moving forward this year.

 

So here is to a not so unhealthy 2015 that is filled with good whole food and hope and not so much refinement 🙂

 

Much Love. Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

Vegan Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

So I know we are far far from Thanksgiving. But that is when my baby is due and that was on my mind when I was cleaning out my freezer and saw a huge bag of cranberries. In Massachusetts we are known for our cranberries and can pretty much acquire them year round. So I decided to make some cranberry sauce and that way I could cook down the cranberries and get them out of the freezer. I added 1 cup of sugar for every 12 ounces and then a splash of water. Nothing fancy. As I was cooking them I realized I also had stuffing leftover and thought…. THANKSGIVING SANDWICH!

When I was a kid, my father never ever ate leftovers. He hated leftovers. I did not, I figured free food and dragged them back to college as I got older. However, my Dad was always okay with Thanksgiving dinner leftovers in which we made leftover thanksgiving food sandwiches. Turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, whatever you had and boom it went into a big open sandwich. So when I realized I had ingredients I thought if I make a chicken salad with Beyond Meat I will have one heck of a Thanksgiving Sandwich! So I did and my husband ate two of these sandwiches so you know they are good! Enjoy!

 

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Chicken-less Salad Ingredients:

1 container of Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned Strips (diced)

1/4 cup Just Mayo

Seasoned Salt (to Taste)

 

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:

12oz cranberries fresh

1cup sugar

Splash of water

 

Stuffing Ingredients:

1 box Stove Top Stuffing (savory not chicken or turkey)

Water (per instructions)

Earth Balance Original (per instructions)

 

-Sliced Sandwich Bread

 

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Making it!

Make stuffing in microwave (3mins)

Cranberry sauce: Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium heat until well combined and the cranberries pop and sugar dissolves. Continue mixing until sauce becomes less whole cranberry and more jellied. Take off heat and cool.

Chickenless Salad: Dice Beyond Meat strips and then toss with mayo and seasoned salt.

Top bread with cranberry sauce, chicken salad, and stuffing. Enjoy!

 

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Food is Love. The Hippie Gypsy.