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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nog by Silk

I have always loved egg nog and was doing research on the internet to find a recipe for vegan egg nog. There are quite a few and I even was thinking of making my own (which I still may do). But, I was happy to find a product by silk called nog. I bought it and was pleasantly surprised. It had a very nice egg nog taste and I enjoyed it. So, I wanted to let my readers know of this product in case you may want to try it. Here is the website to explore silk products.

Merry holidays and a very happy and healthy new year.

Thank you for coming to my blog and I hope to see you again soon.


Egg substitutes

When I first became vegan I wondered how would I get along without eggs. It seems as if eggs are in many recipes. Of course, there are those recipes like dunking your bread in a soft boiled egg I miss, but I have been doing fine without using eggs. I test out various substitutes, either suggestions from online or ones that I think of and I have had success. Here are a few websites that I found useful in giving suggestions about egg replacers. I hope you do as well.

Happy Vegan Cooking


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Peanut sauce by Gnewvegan

After I posted my recipe for "Tofu crisp strips" a comment was posted about serving it over rice and veggies with a peanut sauce. In my post in November "what do I eat", I have my stir fry which uses veggies and rice. Here is a peanut sauce I made that I use on veggies or this stir fry. I wanted to post it in case my readers wanted to try it.

Peanut Sauce
yields 4 teaspoons

1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 ½ teaspoon ketchup
2 teaspoons vegan worcestershire sauce (see note)
1/8 teaspoon paprika
smidgen red cayenne pepper

Mix the above ingredients together until nice and smooth. Serve over vegetables or Chinese stir fry.

Note: I was surprised when I was reading the back of the worcestershire sauce bottle and saw that anchovies were in it.. I never thought that would not be vegan. If you can not find a vegan brand in your local stores or need to find out a brand name, go to my first post and at the end you will find a list of web sites for online vegan grocery stores. You can find the sauce there.

Happy vegan cooking


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tofu Crisp Strips By Gnewvegan

In my post this past November, “ What do I eat ” I wrote one of my quick stir fry recipes. Here is a recipe of mine for tofu crisp strips you can put on top of the stir fry, mix in and enjoy.

Tofu Crisp Strips
makes 8 strips

1 oz firm or extra firm tofu, cutting two slithers (I use a scale when measuring certain ingredients. It is handy to have)
Pinch Chinese five spice powder
Vegetable oil spray
Salt and pepper to taste

1- Take the 1 oz of tofu and pat as much of the water out as you can between a paper towel. Cut each slither lengthwise into 4 strips. Put the strips in a small bowl, like ramekin size, and season with salt and pepper to taste, and the Chinese five spice powder. Mix the tofu with the seasonings to coat well.

2- Preheat a 8 inch non-stick pan for about one minute. Then spray with cooking spray.

3- Place the strips in the pan, laying each one flat, on a low to medium flame, brown both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning with tongs. Then serve on your Chinese stir fry.

Note: The strips may break either when mixing with seasoning or in pan. That’s ok..
If you want a bit more spice try adding a smidgen of red cayenne pepper when you are seasoning the tofu strips.

Happy Vegan Cooking


Monday, December 17, 2007

What should a vegan eat?

As I have said in previous blogs, I am not a nutritionist. So I am writing based on things I researched either learning from the internet, books, or asking people with knowledge on the subject. To know what you should be eating, exact amounts such as grams of protein, calcium etc, you need to consult with your own Doctor/Nurse Practitioner / Registered dietician.
When I first started doing this, personally I did not focus so much on exactly what I needed as far as amounts. I wanted to see what foods were out there to show me my options. If you go to my first post, “Welcome to my vegan journey”, you will read how I started. Reading information from PETA and taking that trip to the grocery store and whole food store. Learning about the various food substitutes and changing recipes. Before I was vegan I really just tried to eat right and get a balanced diet so at the end of the day I should have eaten what I was suppose to from the food groups. Of course, that did not always happen, but I tried. I was already taken a daily multi vitamin and calcium supplement so that I have continued. My first concern was the protein from the meat. So, I asked someone who had knowledge on nutrition if they had a handout I could read on vegetarian eating. That was during my initial transition when I started off as vegetarian. The handout was from the “American Dietetic Association”. Their website is An excerpt from the handout on protein and more is:
“Protein is found in most plant foods as well as in animal foods.Vegetarians do not need to combine specific foods within a meal as the old "complementary protein" theory advised. The body makes its own complete proteins if a variety of plant foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, plants, nuts, and seeds, and enough calories are eaten during the day.
Calcium- Many plant foods contain calcium. Some especially good sources are dark, leafy greens (example kale and mustard, collard, and turnip greens), bok choy, broccoli, beans, tofu prepared with calcium, dried figs, sunflower seeds, and calcium fortified cereals and juices. Vegans may have lower calcium needs than non-vegetarians since diets that are lower in protein help the body retain more calcium. Until more is known about calcium requirements for vegans vegans should strive to meet the calcium requirements for the general public by regularly including plant sources of calcium.
Iron- Good plant food sources of iron include dried beans, dark green vegetables (for exam. Spinach and beet greens), dried fruits, prune juice, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soybean nuts, and iron fortified breads and cereals. Foods that are high in vitamin C (for exam. Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, tomatoes and green pepper) help the body absorb iron from plant sources.
Vitamin B12- Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria in the soil and in animals. It is found in animal foods so an adequate intake of vitamin B12 is not a concern for most vegetarians who consume dairy products or eggs. It is a concern for vegans, who should add vitamin B12 fortified breakfast cereals or a vitamin B12 (cobalamin) supplement to their diets.
Vitamin D- Few foods are naturally high in vitamin D. In the U.S. dairy products are fortified with vitamin D. The body can make its own Vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. People who choose not consume dairy products and who do not receive direct exposure to sunlight on a regular basis may need to consider taken a vitamin d supplement containing no more than %100 of the daily value DV. Large doses can be dangerous and should be avoided. “

This is what I read when I first became vegetarian to give me an idea of how I could get the proper foods. Below is a website for a vegetarian food pyramid which I got from the internet which I keep on my fridge. This is a guide I use to help me with my daily eating. I tried to copy and paste it here but it would not.

website source: for the pyramid-

For sample menus and further information-

Recently, I bought a book written by Registered dieticians about getting the proper amount of nutrients from plant foods. I would recommend this book and the title is “ Becoming Vegan, the complete guide to adopting a healthy plant based diet” by Brenda Davis RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD.

Other websites that may be helpful are: (Both vegan and vegetarian eating are mentioned)

I hope this information will be helpful in showing you a vegan diet can be done. And as I said in the beginning the information presented here is not my own and you would need to consult the proper medical advice for your personal diet.

Thank you for reading my blog and come back soon.

Happy Vegan Cooking


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vegan pumpkin pie and more

I found this recipe for pumpkin pie on the net. I have not made it yet but the reviews were good. With the holidays I know readers may be looking for holiday recipes so I wanted to share this one. I am also posting here a recipe for vegan chocolate chip muffins which also look good. If anyone tries these I always welcome comments.. The below comments are from the person who posted the recipe.

"We're talking the best pumpkin pie on the planet! Deprivation? No way! This is taste-bud celebration! Don't forget to slather on the Soyatoo Whipped Cream Topping, and for something really outrageous, serve pie warm with a scoop of Purely Decadent Dairy Free Purely Vanilla ice cream"

1 1/2 cups soymilk (vanilla or plain)
4 Tbsp. cornstarch - or - arrowroot
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup raw sugar or other sweetener
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell or ready-made graham cracker crust

In a large bowl, whisk together soy milk and cornstarch or arrowroot until smooth, then blend in remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell or ready-made graham cracker pie shell. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 45 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Chocolate Chip Muffins
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2-3/4 tsp baking powder
2 TBS sugar (and more for topping)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg's worth of Ener-G egg replacer, or other replacer
1-1/4 cups soymilk
4 TBS canola oil
1 12oz bag of Gharadelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips (or other vegan choc. chip)
smart balance or pam spray for the pan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.2. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl.3. Add the oil, soymilk, and egg replacer to the flour mix and stir until fully moistened.4. Add the chocolate chips to the batter.5. Grease or spray the muffin tin, and fill the muffin tins 1/2 to 2/3 full.6. Top each muffin with sugar and bake for about 25 minutes.Check the muffins after 20 minutes. My oven runs high by about 20 degrees and I only had to cook them for 18 minutes. When inserted with a fork, the batter shouldn't leave marks but it should still be moist.

site source-

Happy vegan Cooking
Please come visit my blog again


Monday, December 10, 2007

Polenta- My first taste

I have seen a few cooks on TV make recipes with Polenta but I did not think I would like it. Well, today I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did. I love to cook and I have ideas buzzing around my brain of things I can make already with polenta. I love when I try a new product that can be versatile. I tried polenta from a recipe in a book I have mentioned in my first post by Nava Atlas, "The Vegetarian 5 ingredient gourmet". This book is not vegan but as you will see in my blog, recipes can be made vegan. I would highly recommend her book for it has helped me into a new journey of eating. I also had my first taste of tofu with one of her recipes. Thanks Nava!!
Here is the recipe I made tonight from her book. I did not use the exact amounts she states because I did not want to make 3 to 4 servings. But it still came out great...

Polenta with sauteed Bell Peppers
3 to 4 servings

one 16 oz tube polenta
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
2 medium green or red bell peppers, or one of each, cut into narrow strips
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or 1/4 tsp dried oregano, optional
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1- cut polenta into 12 equal slices, each about ½ inch thick. Heat one tablespoon of the oil on a nonstick griddle or wide skillet. Arrange the polenta slices on the griddle. Cook both sides over medium heat until golden and crisp at least 10 minutes per side.

2- Meanwhile heat the remaining one tablespoon oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until golden. Add the bell pepper strips and continue to saute, stirring frequently, until tender and just beginning to be touched with brown spots.

3- Stir in the optional oregano and season with a little salt and pepper. To serve, place 3 to 4 slices of polenta on each plate and spoon some of the pepper mixture over them.

If you have never tried polenta this recipe by Nava is a good start. It is very good and easy to follow. If you like polenta maybe you might want to give this one a try.
Thank you for coming to my blog.

Happy vegan cooking


Friday, December 7, 2007

Is Kosher/ Pareve vegan?

I was in the grocery store and came across some kosher products. One of them was beef base granules for broth. I read the ingredients and it did not mention any animal products but did not say no animal byproducts used. So I decided to do a little research. I realized you need to be careful because if something says kosher or pareve, that does not mean it is vegan. The first web-site below is not about the beef base but about gelatin. Which made me realize you need to make sure the product says vegan or says no animal byproducts used.. Now please note I am just reading these meanings for the first time and do not make any claims I am certain of the information in the websites below. I am curious as a new vegan to learn about products the best that I can and then make a decision based on that. Personally, after reading the information I would rather make sure a product is specified as vegan or says no animal byproducts used. The last website does state Pareve means no meat or dairy . But after reading the various websites I came to my own personal decision as will the readers. Comments are always welcome about posts on my blog..

1- Website is :
Go to the question "Is kosher gelatin vegan? What is Pareve?

2- Website
(This website talks about the meaning of kosher and applies it dairy, meat, pareve)

Someone here writes about Pareve vs vegan.

This talks about the meaning of Pareve..I had trouble linking to this site when I inserted it so I have copied and pasted the information here if you also have trouble.

"Kosher Parve CertificationWhat Advantage it Offers to a Vegetarian or a Vegan
"Kosher" is meant for observant Jews. How can it help any Hindu or Jain?

The answer is, that the word "Parve" (also spelled as "Pareve" or "Parevine") is very functional. It means a guarantee that the food product does not contain any meat or dairy products, and it has not come in contact with either. So it is very useful for all the vegetarians, and vegans.
It is also important to know and to understand that it has some limitations.
This article is based upon a talk given by Rabbi Yoel Levy, at a workshop sponsored by the Natural Products Expo West, at Anaheim, CA, March 1995. Rabbi Levy is the Kashruth Administrator of the Organized Kashruth Laboratories, or Circle K.
The word 'Kosher' actually means 'fit' or 'spiritually fit', as described in the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus. As a result of kosher supervision, kosher products are scrupulously clean, and the word Kosher has become synonymous with premium quality. Kosher requirements are far more stringent than U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements.
There are three segments to the Kosher inspection: (1) ingredients, (2) processing, and (3) equipment.
The Organized Kashruth Laboratories maintains a computer data base of 40,000 primary ingredients that come from certified kosher sources. Before visiting a manufacturing plant that has applied for kosher certification, the rabbi checks their ingredients and other factors in the manufacturing process to determine if there is something blocking the products from being certified kosher.
No one thinks of stainless steel equipments as absorbing an odor and therefore being to absorb a non-kosher material, but such is not the case. A stainless steel pickle vat will have a vinegar odor until it is cleaned by boiling water or steam. Vinegar is not necessarily treife (non-kosher), but it proves the point.
Strange situations may arise in the rabbi's inspection while tracing the finished product to its primary ingredients. A tanker ship carrying cooking oil had been properly cleaned with boiling water but its cargo had to be transferred to a shallow water barge tanker, as the ship could not unload in a shallow water port. The barge had previously carried disinfectant. No kosher law had been violated, but after the rabbi discovered the contamination the manufacturer wisely chose not to accept the cooking oil.
A common food product may contain all kinds of kosher as well as non-kosher ingredients. For example, seaweed is a plant product and therefore considered not subject to kosher requirements, but that is not always correct. The seaweed may contain tiny bits of seahorses, which do not have fins or scales, and are therefore treife. A vegetarian does not wish to ingest parts of a seahorse! Therefore, look for the Kosher Parve symbol! Extracts and flavors do not have to be listed on the label as ingredients, but they may be treife. An example is that of a red coloring that may come from an insect and be described as natural.
Fermented products such as miso or soy sauce present such a complex problem that the certifying rabbi must also be a food chemist. For the initial inoculation to start the fermentation process, peptones are needed. These peptones can be of animal origin or soy origin. Soy peptones are made by either the use of hydrochloric acid or enzymes. If enzymes are used, there are 2 types. One is made from papaya, which is a vegetable source, and the other is made from pepsin, which comes from the stomach of swine. The bacteria used in fermentation is stored in a medium of glycerin. The glycerin can be of animal origin, vegetable origin, or synthetic.
Kosher certification is an on-going process. The plant is subject to inspection at any time, (the rabbi has a key), and the entire process has to be repeated at least once a year.
Some Important Limitations
1. Kosher Parve products are allowed to contain, according to Jewish laws, eggs, honey, and fish. So you still need to READ THE LABEL! In this matter, Jews Kosher does not concur with Hindu and Jain Ahimsa. But still it is a good help for buying processed food.
2. Classification "Kosher Dairy" or "D.E." signifies that dairy equipment was used. Still the product may contain no dairy product. Read the label!
3. Not every single item in a generally Kosher Parve product line from a manufacturing plant is necessarily Kosher Parve. Learn the symbols below, and look for one on each product. The above article is reprinted, with kind permission, from Jewish Vegetarian Newsletter, Spring 1996 issue. For subscription, please write to Isreal Mossman, 6938 Reliance Road, Federalsbufg, MD 21632. For a free sample copy, send a self-addressed envelope with 55 cents stamp. Below is a compilation of several kosher symbols."

Happy Vegan cooking

Please come visit my blog again..


Saturday, December 1, 2007

My First Vegan Thanksgiving

Being that I am new to the life of a vegan I was unable to type a post before the holiday. I had to think it through myself of how this Thanksgiving would work for me. I was never that much of a turkey eater to begin with. I usually loved the pasta dishes and vegetables. I had dinner at someone’s home this year and at first was not sure how this would work. A nice surprise was when I found out the hostess was a dietician so when she heard that I was vegan she knew what I could eat. It was a dinner where everyone brought something. So, that helped as well because of course my dishes were vegan. I brought a pilaf recipe I found a few years ago, (I changed it a bit to be vegan), a bruschetta recipe with some garlic bread toasts, and a broccoli dish. That right there is a meal for me. The hostess only used margarine for her vegetables and kindly made me a vegetarian stuffing. She told me what was in the vegetables so I would know what I could eat. So I was nice and stuffed on my first vegan thanksgiving. :) As far as dessert, I only had coffee. But that was fine because I was full. A tip I have is to carry with you vegan sugar or agave nectar sticks, and non-dairy creamer. You can find these products either at your local whole food/ organic store or from the web site grocery stores I posted in my first blog, "Welcome to my vegan journey". This way where ever you are you can always have your coffee or tea. I will be making my Christmas cookies this year. Please see my blog on "It’s cookie time" for advice on cookie making. When I thought about what one would cook for the holidays I realized a lot of it is already vegetarian so the goal is to make it vegan. Look at recipes you normally make such as stuffing. If you use meat, of course you would not. Replace chicken broth with vegetable broth . For mashed potatoes if you use butter use margarine, or if you use broth use vegetable. Some people use cream cheese and for this you can try tofutti cream cheese. I have not tried it but I have seen it in the local whole food store. For sweet potatoes replace sugar with vegan sugar, butter with margarine and vegan marshmallows if you use them. Yes, I did say marshmallows. I was surprised to find out that marshmallows have gelatin in them which is made from animals. But if you go to the grocery websites I mentioned in my first blog you will find vegan marshmallows. You could always make pasta dishes , salads, and plenty of veggies that are vegan. I will have more recipes as I make them through the holidays to share with my fellow vegans. I will put in this post some of the recipes I made that I found in magazines. There is also a recipe I have saved which I think would be great as well that is with quinoa and a stuffing recipe. Quinoa is a grain that is said to have a high quality protein more than any other grain. A very dear friend introduced me to that product. This will give you ideas of things to make on the holidays. Being vegan does not mean you will not enjoy your food or your holidays. On the contrary, I am thankful there are so many food choices out there that can make the food experience a lively one. Therefore making a vegan lifestyle a very fulfilling one. Below are the recipes I mentioned. You will see my changes again showing you how to make a recipe vegan. Maybe you might want to use some of these ideas for Christmas or the holiday that you celebrate. HO HO HO :)

Toasted Pastina Pilaf (I think I found this on the back of a pastina box)

2 carrots finely chopped
4 cups low vegetable broth (was chicken )
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine (Use margarine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 package 12 oz egg pastina, uncooked
(Note- for vegan do not use egg pastina- I used
orzo, 1 pound box)

Cook and stir carrots and onion in hot margarine until tender but not browned. Add orzo, and cook and stir until lightly browned. Stir in vegetable broth, parsley, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook 5 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Makes 8 servings.

G ’s tip- when cooking the pasta dish, when you see the broth is mostly absorbed, taste it and see the doneness. If you feel it needs some more broth and time, add just enough broth to have some liquid throughout the pasta, and simmer, stirring occasionally. Test like this until you are happy with the degree of tenderness.

Swanson moist and savory stuffing
(I think I found this in a magazine)
prep /cook time 15 minutes

1 can low sodium (14 oz chicken broth, 1-3/4 cups) (Use vegetable broth)
Generous dash of pepper
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 small onion , coarsely chopped
4 cups pepperidge farm herb seasoned stuffing (according to the PETA website pepperidge farms cubed herb seasoned stuffing is vegan)

Mix broth, pepper, celery, and onion in saucepan. Heat to boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add stuffing and mix lightly.
Serves 5

Tomato and Herb Bruschetta (this I found in a magazine)
6 servings

1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, chopped (I used regular tomatoes. I always look for ones that have a nice, ripe, red color )
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (fresh)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (I used dried) (A tip I learned is 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs equals 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (a tip I learned is to roll the lemon back and forth a few times before cutting to release the juices)
6 ½ to 3/4 inch thick slices crusty bread, toasted. (You can also use garlic melba toast or if you see in the produce aisle a bag of toasted Italian bread that is nice too. A friend of mine I was shopping with found that, it had garlic flavor and we used that. It was yummy)

Mix first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Tomato mixture can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature). Cut toasted bread in half (If not using the other choices I mentioned). Spoon tomato mixture atop bread and serve.

Quinoa Stuffed peppers
4 servings
(This I found on the back of the quinoa box)

1 cup traditional quinoa
2 cups water
4 large or 6 medium green peppers
1 medium onion diced
½ pounds fresh mushrooms sliced. (I did not add these because I do not care for mushrooms)
2 tablespoons butter (Use margarine)
1- 28 oz can tomatoes, coarsely diced, reserve juice
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 12 oz jar Mexican salsa
2 tablespoons dry sherry
10 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (use vegan mozzarella- I found this at the organic store)(see my tip for options with the cheese)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Steam 4 large or 6 medium green peppers until soft but not limp. In a large skillet, saute the onion and mushrooms in margarine. Add the diced tomatoes reserving juice. Add crushed garlic and Mexican salsa. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the sherry and simmer 10 more minutes. Fold in quinoa. Place peppers in baking dish and fill with quinoa mixture. This will take about half the mixture. Thin remainder with reserved juice and pour around peppers. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over peppers and bake in 325 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

G’s tip- If you are cooking for a group of vegan and non vegan you could separate the peppers putting regular mozzarella on some and vegan on the others. Use different color baking dishes or tooth picks as a reminder which is vegan. I added parmesan cheese pre- becoming vegan. There is vegan parmesan cheese. Make sure the bottle says vegan because if it says veggie it may have a product called casien in it. The latter is a milk derived protein. I found this product at the organic /whole food store. You can keep that on the table and regular parmesan for whomever may want it. You can also omit the mozzarella for vegan/ non vegan or both and have parmesan on the table to pass around.

I hope these recipes and tips will be useful to my readers. Please come visit my blog again.

Gnewvegan :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What do I eat?

Ok. People will ask me, now what do you eat? And I say “everything I ate before just no animal products”. Think about that. Everything is a lot so as a vegan there are plenty of choices for you to eat. Someone had said to me that once you learn the substitutes and you know where to buy them it will be just as “normal” as it was before to eat. You won’t be thinking about it so much. It will be just like “second nature”. After you read my first blog and go to the grocery store and explore it is time to then explore some more with your recipes at home. Take the easy ones and start from there. I had mentioned in my first blog about a chinese stir fry and how to change that around. I am going to show you a sample menu of a day in my life as I have been learning how to eat and some recipes I changed to vegan. This is not a nutritional statement of what you should eat (as I have said I am not a nutritionist and when I post any menus or nutritional information I have found it on the internet or in brochures. You would need to speak to your MD/NP or nutritionist for your personal dietary needs) First ask yourself, how do you start your day? What do you eat? If you like eggs, that will be a change for you. I have seen recipes for scrambled tofu however I have not tried them yet so I can not comment. If you like oatmeal from what I read buying the natural oats and cooking them is better then the instant in the packages. I like that anyway because I can make it the way I want. If you use milk in your oatmeal, use plain soy milk or flavored if you desire. If you add sugar use vegan sugar or a natural sweetener such as agave nectar (which you can find at a whole food or organic store. I will have another blog where I talk about natural sweeteners and sugar a bit more. ) Top your oatmeal with fruits if you desire. If you drink coffee or tea use soy milk if you use milk and again the vegan sugar or agave nectar. Here is a sample of a day in my life as a vegan:

One or two pieces of wheat toast with margarine, jelly, or apple spread (apple spread can be found in the peanut butter aisle or organic aisle)
oatmeal (flavored as I like)
tea with soy milk and sugar
If you like have a piece of fruit of choice

Now it is mid morning and you may be getting hungry. Have another piece of fruit or snack on some soy nuts which have a nice protein content. But be careful of having too much because I have noticed on packaging of nuts that they can be high in fat.

Lunch time
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat toast. (Two tablespoons of peanut butter have 8 grams of protein according to the back of the jar I use)

Here is one of my simplest recipes for a peanut butter sandwich:
Peanut butter (I like to use natural peanut butter)
apple spread
two pieces of wheat toast

Use desired amount of each and use the apple spread in place of the Jelly . I love it.

cut up some carrots and/or celery for a snack
add in a piece of fruit
Have some soy nuts , pumpkin seeds or even a box of raisins.

Moroccan tofu with sweet potatoes and couscous
Here I will show you how I changed a recipe to be vegan.
This is from a magazine by every day food.

Moroccan chicken stew with sweet potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds) ( here I of course did not use chicken. I had some extra firm tofu, you can use firm if you like. Depending on how many you are feeding, will depend on how much you use. For two people cut one or two slices of tofu crosswise about ½ inch thick. This is not an exact measurement. You could see how many cubes the first piece gives you and see if you desire more. I cut the whole recipe in half for two servings. With a paper towel pat the slice to soak out as much water as you can. Cut into cubes.
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches long), peeled
1 cinnamon stick
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth ( here I used vegetarian- vegetable bouillon cubes, by knorr- approximate 1 cup for two servings which is ½ a cube per the package. Keep bouillon close by in case you need more broth )
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Pinch of saffron (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup couscous
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)

1- Place flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
(Here I seasoned the tofu in a bowl as above and browned in a pan on both sides. Just a few minutes each side and then put aside) proceed to step two.
2- Add onion, ginger, and cinnamon to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add broth, sweet potatoes, and, if using, saffron. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard ginger and cinnamon. Stir in lemon juice, and season stew with salt and pepper.
( note after the first boil, set a timer for 15 minutes. Put the tofu in the pot after 7 minutes and then cook as step two says. You can add a bit more water if you think it is running dry)
3- While stew is simmering, prepare couscous according to package instructions. Serve chicken stew with couscous, garnished with cilantro, if desired.
(Cook the couscous according to the servings you are cooking for per the back of the box) then serve as above. I stored left overs in a container and had it the next day.

If you do not feel comfortable yet trying the tofu then play around with the stir fry. I had stated in a previous blog to add more vegetables in a stir fry, use tofu or the veggie chicken strips and then you will see how you like it. I start with stir fry’s as an example because they are fast and easy.

Here is one of my quick stir fry recipes
1 serving
I like this even for a quick lunch

½ cup frozen stir fry vegetables
1 serving size per directions on the box of instant white rice
a smidgen of Chinese 5 spice powder (this is in the spice aisle)
1 to 2 Tbs of your choice of sauce such as hoisin or stir fry sauce. The amount depends on your own taste.

Take the stir fry vegetables, leaving frozen and put in a microwave steam bowl and steam for 5 minutes in the microwave. (Microwave times may vary).
In the meantime cook the rice per package directions.
When the vegetables are done, drain the water, then put veggies in a pre-heated , non-stick 8 to 10 inch fry pan. Mix in the sauce and spice. Heat thru, stirring occasionally about 3 to 4 minutes.
Serve over rice.

NOTE: If you do not have a microwave steamer you can do this all in the 10 inch non-stick pan. I would thaw the veggies, preheat the pan, lightly spray the pan with vegetable oil cooking spray, and while stirring occasionally, cook veggies about 6 to 8 minutes, depending on your preference of tenderness. About 5 minutes into cooking I would add the sauce of choice and the spice.

Optional- try using the veggie chicken strips if you like. I would brown the strips lightly in the preheated pan, about 1 tablespoon of Extra virgin olive oil or spray with vegetable oil spray, and brown on both sides about 2 to 3 minutes each side. Drain out oil pre adding vegetables and sauce if you do it this way. Use about a handful of chicken pieces or less if you prefer.

Here is another recipe from kraft foods. I have not changed it yet but this is how I would make it vegan. .I am actually going to make it over the next few days.

Quick and easy lemon chicken and rice

1. 1/2 cup KRAFT House Italian Dressing - Your options are to make your own dressing or look at the website attached after this recipe. It is from the site PETA and it lists many grocery items that are vegan. Click on various areas so you can get more of a feel for vegan products. You will find dressings in the condiment section.
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips - Obviously, no chicken. If you were comfortable with tofu you could use that. Just use as I stated in the previous recipe. Or just skip this part and add a few more vegetables. You could even add another vegetable you like or add nothing.
1 cup chicken broth- use vegetarian vegetable broth
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
2 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese - use vegan parmesan cheese. I stress make sure that the small bottle says vegan. If it says veggie some of them have a product called casien in them which is a milk derived protein, therefore it is not vegan. I found this product at the organic/ whole food store. You can skip it if you would rather not. I have tried the product and I like it. Of course it is not cheese, but I find it to have a nice flavor for my taste.

HEAT dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken (If you were using tofu you would add here); cook and stir 1 min.
ADD broth, broccoli, red pepper and carrots. Bring to boil. - If you add a bit more veggies you may need a bit more broth. Keep on hand in case.
STIR in rice. Return to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 5 min. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 min. Stir in lemon pepper seasoning; sprinkle with cheese

(after I make this the vegan way if there are any changes I will post)
(the latter is the site with the vegan grocery product list I mentioned above)

So you see, you can be vegan, you can eat well and great. And please visit my first blog if you have not where I mention a book by Nava Atlas that I have found very instrumental in my journey to learning vegan cooking. Her book is not vegan, it is vegetarian. But as I am showing you products can be substituted or optional if you wish.

Happy Vegan Cooking
Thank you for reading my blog and come back again soon.


Monday, November 12, 2007

It is cookie time :)

I was not going to talk about sugar so soon in the blog but being that the cookie season is approaching I thought it would be a good idea. Recently I learned that sugar is not vegan. I did research and here is a website I found about this topic. It also lists brands of sugar that are non-vegan and vegan. I thought the information may be of interest especially around the holidays when sugar cookies are popular. And do not worry about finding the sugar because it is out there. I found it at an organic /whole food store and the local supermarket.

When I looked into colored vegan sugar I did not find that. But I did find vegan sprinkles that one uses on ice cream on one of the web sites I listed in my previous blog for vegan groceries. I thought to myself you could probably make your own colored sugar with vegan sugar and food coloring. Well I researched it and others had the same idea. This website has a recipe for making your own colored sugar.

I also noticed that some other recipes use cinnamon plus sugar for coating. Here are some web sites I found with sugar cookie recipes that seem worth trying. ( this person uses applesauce instead of margarine. I saw someone mention that on a website. Thought I would plug it in here for more options)

If you have your own sugar cookie recipe you use either from a book or your family recipe, read through the ingredients and see what really needs to be substituted. I compared a recipe I use from a cook book to the ones in the web sites I mentioned above and it was very similar. I would only need to replace sugar with vegan sugar, the egg with an egg replacer ( see note following this paragraph), and the sour cream with tofutti’s sour supreme. I have not tried the latter product yet so I can not comment. In one of the above recipes someone uses tofutti cream cheese. And if you are not really comfortable changing things around yet then try one of the above recipes. I suggest doing a trial run before the holiday. Cut the recipe in half and then in half again if you want (depending on the yield of the original recipe) and give it a test try. You do not even have to decorate if you do not want for the trial run, just make the cookie and see if you like the dough. And then you will be on your way to a vegan holiday.
Note: I bought the Ener- G egg replacer in an organic food store. It is in a box and I think it was in the baking section. You can not make scrambled eggs with it because it is for baking purposes. It is a powder that is mixed with water. I have used it in some recipes which called for egg and it worked fine. I have also seen the other products I have in bold in the organic food store/ whole food store.

A note on margarine: Butter is dairy so it is not vegan. According to the PETA handout I talked about in the previous blog most margarines are vegan. In case you want to have an idea of particular brand names I have copied and pasted a paragraph on margarine from a website. The website also talks about other products and replacements.

"Butter is obviously made from milk so it is easiest to switch to margarine, many of which are vegan. Some margarines contain milk derivatives such as whey or E-numbers from an animal source, but most supermarkets stock at least one suitable own brand margarine or look for Pure’s Dairy Free Soya Spread or Dairy Free Sunflower Spread. Health food shops will also stock a selection of vegan margarines including: Granose’s Vegetable margarine; Suma’s Sunflower Spread, Organic Reduced Fat Sunflower Spread, or their Soya Spread; Biona Organic Vegetable Margarine and Organic Olive Extra Margarine – made with olive oil; Vitaquell Extra Dairy Free or Bio Organic margarine. If you like a block of ‘butter-style’ margarine for baking, try Rakusen’s Tomor, available from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and many health food shops"

After I make the cookies I will post how they came out and any tips used to make them that I may use. I always welcome your experiences as well.
Happy cookie making. :)

Thank you for visiting my blog. Come back again soon.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Welcome to my vegan journey

The road to being a vegan is different for everyone. The reasons why one may make this lifestyle change varies. For whatever the reason you make this choice, it can be done. But remember, that you will do it in your own time and your own pace. Depending on how much you liked certain foods before and what your reasons may be for changing to vegan, will play a part. I use to think I would not like tofu but now I enjoy it. It is so versatile you can really have fun with it. It is exciting when you take a meat dish or dairy and make it vegan. On September 16, 2007 I became vegetarian. About two weeks later, I was vegan. I take it day by day and at the end of the day, when I have eaten the way I have, I feel good and look forward to tomorrow.
I decided to do this blog for various reasons. I love to cook and now creating recipes has become more intriguing due to my change in lifestyle. As a new vegan, I felt it may be helpful to make a blog discussing my new journey and help others who have decided to take on this path. I decided to share my experiences, new findings, recipes, helpful hints, websites, etc. to my fellow vegans. Your tips and advice are also welcome. I read various blogs and saw the need for vegans to come together and support in their decisions. I feel that why someone has become vegan is a personal choice so this blog will not be about why one is vegan. But If I find a website that may be helpful in explaining how certain foods are processed, I will post it for anyone to go to if they wish for their personal interest and knowledge. Here are some helpful tips to help you get started. I found a handout from the organization PETA helpful. If you go to this website. , look to the right and you will see "vegetarian starter kit". This is a magazine I picked up walking to the subway. If you click on it I see where you may be able to download it. I hope it will work because I still use it as a reference. Just be aware, that some of the information in there is graphic, telling you about where your meat, eggs, and dairy come from. I was not expecting to read that, that day so I wanted to inform the readers of that. Here is a website part of PETA as well. I think you may be able to read about the various products and information that is in the handout I read. Just click on being vegetarian and scroll through. I read through the magazine and took note of the various replacement products. Then I took a trip to my grocery store. I went into the organic section/ produce section and was amazed at all the products they had. From meatless crumbles (like a chop meat), Italian "sausage", "Kielbasa", "chicken and beef"strips and even smart dogs (resembling hot dogs). Even Bacon.. I bought a variety that day and started experimenting. I also bought soy milk and starting using that with no problem. I was never really a big milk drinker anyway. I find the soy nicer because it is more creamier to me. Then I went to the local organic store and felt like I was in a toy store. I bought my first non-dairy ice cream and I enjoyed it. The ice cream sandwiches are very nice. The brand is tofutti. Once you explore the various options, start at your own pace. I took it day by day, and started to take recipes I use and started replacing. For example in a stir fry, try the chicken strips and see if you like them or just add more vegetables. Maybe replace it with tofu. Here is a website about tofu and the different types. It says you can freeze tofu. I think that will be a personal preference. I have heard from others that it changes the color and does not always freeze well. But, it also makes it more like a "meat" texture for people who may want that. You could always try it and see if it works for you. If not, what I do is have a few recipes on hand once I open the tofu, because it has to be used in a week. And remember, change the water daily. A good book I use is by Nava Atlas, the 5 ingredient vegetarian gourmet. There is a section in there on tofu and that is where I had my first taste of tofu. The recipes are easy to follow and help you see a variety of vegetarian recipes. It is not a vegan book, but you can omit cheese or use vegan cheese if the recipe calls for it, replace milk with soy milk, etc. Remember, once you learn the replacements, you can make a non vegan recipe vegan.. Step by step, recipe by recipe, day by day. Another tip is go to
You can search for vegetarian/vegan groups in your area and join. They have group meetings where you can meet others who share in your lifestyle . You pick the group/s you may be interested in and join. I will try as often as I can to share new information with you, such as nutrition information (I am not a nutritionist, so it will be not be a source of your personal dietary requirements. For that you would to speak to your personal nutritionist/ doctor), websites to buy vegan products, my daily menus, some of my recipes, recipes I have made vegan to show you how, and recipes I find online. I will share with you questions I needed answered and the results from my search. I am happy to be vegan and look forward to sharing the experience with other vegans. :) I will end this today with some websites where you can buy vegan groceries. It will help you to see what products there are for vegans and that there are replacements out there. And with the holidays coming it may help you when you are doing your cooking. For instance, I have a recipe from a betty crocker book which calls for gelatin and sugar. well, there is vegan jello and vegan sugar. So I can still make those recipes. I will post all about why sugar and jello are not vegan. But for today here are the sites where you can get an idea of vegan products.

Online vegan stores

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