Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Movie and the Diner

Last night I saw the movie “Juno” and it kept my interest the whole time. I think the lead actress was played by Ellen page and she did a wonderful job. The story is about a 16 year old girl who becomes pregnant and searches for adoptive parents for her baby. The story both touches your heart and your funny bone. She played the role very well and you feel like you are on the journey with her as you watch the movie.. This was the first time I had been to a movie theater since I became vegan. In the past I would usually order milk duds or the buttery popcorn. But this time, I ordered nothing and I was fine... I wanted to save my appetite anyway for dinner afterwards. This was also the first time I have went to a diner since I became vegan. I was not sure what would be on the menu for me to eat but I was up to the challenge. There actually were a few choices for me. My first idea was to make a meal out of the sides, tossed salad, veggie’s (and I would have told them no butter, just spices and maybe lemon), and linguini. Then I saw a veggie burger. I told the waiter I was vegan and had to give a brief explanation. No meat, eggs, cheese, milk, nothing from an animal I said. I asked the waiter if he could kindly ask the chef what the burger was made of. He did tell me there were no eggs, milk etc. But for some reason, I was unsure. Not that I thought he was not telling me the truth.. But, when I asked what held the burger together, the response was the same. So, not wanting to take a chance , I actually ordered something I never thought I would order in a diner. Pasta! Not that I think pasta in a diner would be horrible, but that is something I would order in an Italian restaurant. It was Fettuccini with pomodoro sauce. (Tomato) I asked if there was any broth in the sauce and the waiter said no, and to hold the chicken (which was stated it was part of the dish). It was actually quite tasty. Fettuccini with broccoli and tomato.. I ate it all!! And of course I had with me my vegan sugar and non-dairy creamer to enjoy my cup of hot tea.. So all in all, I would say my first movie as a vegan and diner experience went pretty well. Every day as a vegan I feel great and with each learning experience it enhances my journey in a positive light..

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you visit again soon.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eating out as a vegan

When I first became vegan I was not sure how eating out would be. But so far, I have not had to walk out of a restaurant because there was nothing on the menu I could eat or because the staff were not willing to tell me ingredients. Since I became vegan the times I went out to eat it was usually an Italian place or a place that is vegetarian or vegan. When I go to the latter I am usually with people who are vegan or vegetarian. When I have gone to other places it is because I am the only vegan. The times I went to an Italian place one time I did need to ask the waiter about the ingredients. And the waiter was actually very receptive to my question. I would not have asked before, "Is there any beef or chicken broth in your marinara sauce" but after talking to a friend one day I found out that some people actually do use the latter in the marinara. Even butter, which I never had heard of.. I told the waiter I do not eat any animal products and needed to know the above question. He kindly told me the ingredients and I ordered and had a good meal. The only time I had not much to choose from was when I went to a place that served things like salads and sandwiches. A lot of there salads had things I could not eat and even there sandwiches. So that day, I simply had a house salad, pickles and a bag of chips. But that was for lunch, so I was fine. Do not be intimidated to ask before you eat. You made your choice to be vegan or vegetarian and do not want to feel bad if you eat something you really do not want to. An idea is to do a search online in your area for vegan restaurants or vegetarian restaurants. See if you can look at the menu online. Sometimes you will see that they state some of the meals are vegan. A hint for sugar and milk for coffee is what I do when I go to someone’s house to eat. I always carry with me vegan sugar, or agave nectar sticks, and a non-dairy powder creamer. I took empty plastic spice bottles, washed them out and put the sugar and creamer in them. Very easy to pour that way and convenient to carry around. Today I went out to eat at Mexican style restaurant. I was not sure how that would work out but it was fine. Even though the restaurant was not vegan it was in an area that seems to be geared more towards the vegetarian/ vegan way. I had ordered a vegetable burrito with beans and the original menu said some kind of cheese. I told the waiter I was vegan and he understood what that meant. He said they had soy cheese and even brought me soy based sour cream. So I enjoyed my burrito. Being vegan is a way of life and as a friend had said, once you learn how, it is second nature.
Thank you for coming to my blog . I hope to see you again.
Happy vegan eating.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vegan Jambalaya

Two things I enjoyed last night were listening to a CD by Minnie Driver, “Everything I’ve Got in my pocket” and Jambalaya.. I never knew Minnie Driver could sing until I saw her sing the CD’s title song on either a morning show or a talk show. I like her music and enjoyed the CD after my first taste of Jambalaya, thanks to Nava Atlas. (The website link is below) I was not familiar with jambalaya and when I was out to eat it was mentioned during conversation. When I went home I researched it and found this recipe from Nava.. It was delicious! Every time I try someone’s recipe or make a recipe myself I want to tell all see, vegans eat well. There are plenty of choices out there which decrease missing the food you ate before. I wanted to see exactly what jambalaya was so I researched it. Below you will find the information and the source. Maybe there is someone else besides me who is not familiar with jambalaya. My first thought when it was mentioned to me was is it similar to a Paella? In the excerpt below it is compared to the latter. The recipe from Nava Atlas follows.

There's something about serving jambalaya at a party that almost guarantees the good times will roll. As it's difficult to decide just what kind of jambalaya to make (meat, shellfish, or poultry), we normally put a little bit of everything into the pot!
Jambalaya a Cajun/Creole dish, is perhaps the most versatile main dish the South has to offer. It originated with the Spanish when they came to Louisiana in the 1700s. It is a direct descendant of their paella, but in the new world it became known as a Creole dish -- and a delicious one indeed. For a dinner party what could be better than Jambalaya, a crisp green salad with vinaigrette dressing, French bread, and praline ice cream. You will think you are dining in the French Quarter.
No one knows for sure where the name came from, but as with many dish names, there are a few good guesses along with a bit of folklore. Most believe the name came from the Spanish word for ham, jamón, a prime ingredient in the first jambalayas of the eighteenth century. John Mariani in The Dictionary of American Food and Drink offers a more colorful origin of the name: A gentleman stopped by a New Orleans inn late one night to find nothing left for him to dine upon. The owner thereupon told the cook, whose name was Jean, to "mix some things together" --balayez, in the dialect of Louisiana -- so the grateful guest pronounced the dish of odds-and-ends wonderful and named it "Jean Balayez." The first reference to the word in print was in 1872, and The Picayune's Creole Cook Book (1900) calls it a "Spanish-Creole dish.
Rice is an essential ingredient in Jambalaya, and has been an important crop in the South for several hundred years. Rice production in the South began in North Carolina in the late 1600s, with great success. By the late 1800s, after a series of problems from labor to weather, the Southern Atlantic states production foundered. Louisiana began producing rice in late 1889, and is today one of the major producing states, along with Arkansas, California, and Texas.
There are countless variations on this dish some say at least one for every household in Louisiana! Jambalaya may be made with beef, pork, chicken, duck, shrimp, oysters, crayfish, sausage, or any combination. Some of the more standard additions are green pepper, cayenne pepper, tomatoes, celery, and onions. Generally, the vegetables are sautéed and meat(s) cooked, then broth or water, tomatoes, seasonings, and uncooked rice are added. The mixture is simmered until the rice is done, and shrimp (or any other foods which should not be overcooked) are added near or at the end of the cooking time.
Many of the recipes call for andouille. If you never heard of or tasted andouille .. simply put, it's the Cajun (actually andouille is of German and French origins) version of smoked sausage; its the spicy equivalent of Polish kielbasa. If you have a real good German or Polish butcher shop in your area try to get kielbasa; if you can't find anything other than supermarket "stuff", give KPAULS a call. I'll warn you .. andouille goes for about $12-$15 per pound! “

Serves 6 to 8

Spicy bits of soy sausage lend an authentic flair to this simple vegetarian take on a Creole-Cajun classic. Serve with coleslaw and fresh cornbread for a hearty, satisfying meal.
3 cups water
1 1/4 cups brown rice
2 tablespoons light olive oil
8 links soy sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon each:
dried oregano
dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan. Stir in the rice; cover and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes.
Heat just enough of the oil to lightly coat the bottom of a large, non-stick skillet. When hot, arrange the soy “sausage” links in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, gently turning them until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, celery, and bell pepper, and continue to saute until all the vegetables are lightly browned.
Add the remaining ingredients except the salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut the soy sausage links into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Add to the skillet and simmer briefly.
Combine the skillet mixture with the hot cooked rice in a large serving bowl and toss together thoroughly. Season to taste with salt (and a bit more cayenne if you’d like) and serve at once.

From time to time I like to give an example of a day in my life as a vegan on what I eat. Some days I eat a better variety of what Is recommended from the vegetarian food pyramid. So, please note, when I post what I ate it is in no way a representation of the proper daily intake one should be eating. I thought this may be helpful to give ideas on different things to eat for someone newly starting veganism. So, on that note, here is what I ate today:

Cereal with soy milk
Coffee with soy milk and agave

early noon snack
Veggie chips (I decided to have a treat today)

lettuce and tomato salad with soy- based creamy Italian dressing

1 banana
1 apple

Veggie Hamburger on wheat toast
artichoke hearts with garlic and capers (I will post this recipe also- I found it online)

I hope you enjoy this recipe.. Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope to see you again soon.

Happy vegan cooking


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Skillet Seitan Parmesan by Gnewvegan

This is one my my recipes that I made after learning about seitan. Being vegan does not mean that I can not enjoy my Italian food. Being Italian one of my joys was Italian food and I still enjoy them, vegan style. One of my goals is to make as many of the dishes I enjoyed the vegan way. I hope my readers will enjoy this. I certainly did :)

Skillet Seitan Parmesan

Serves one

2 Tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon black ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dry parsley
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon vegan bread crumbs
3 oz seitan, store bought chicken style (or home made)
3 Tablespoons marinara sauce (homemade or from a jar)
1 Tablespoon vegan mozzarella (optional)(more if desired)
½ Tablespoon vegan parmesan cheese (more if desired)
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1- Mix together first 6 ingredients in a sandwich type bag . Put seitan in bag, close and shake well to coat.
2- Preheat an 8" nonstick skillet for one minute. Then heat the oil in the pan for one minute.
3- Shake excess flour mixture off seitan and lay seitan flat in heated pan. Brown each side about 3 to 4 minutes per side, to form a nice golden brown.
4- Pour the sauce over the seitan after both sides have been browned, sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over seitan and mozzarella if using.
5- Cover the pan, with a small opening at one side to allow steam to escape. On low flame, about three minutes, let cheese melt and sauce to warm. Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Vital Wheat Gluten and Vital wheat gluten flour

When I was given a recipe for home made seitan, besides the question on the nutritional yeast another question on vital wheat gluten surfaced. The recipe called for vital wheat gluten flour. When I went to look for it I found Vital wheat gluten in the section with the flour. I was unsure if it was one in the same and at the start of my research I was still unsure. With further research I came across the below website which explains about vital wheat gluten and vital wheat gluten flour. This website states that the two are indeed one in the same. And what it is called on the box is according to the manufacturer used.

Here is an excerpt " First, the Definition of Gluten:Gluten is a protein found in Rye, Wheat, Oats, Barley & Triticale. ("Gliadin" is part of the gluten structure. Gliadin is present in varying amounts in these grains. The combination of gliadin and glutenen makes gluten.) This protein gives structure, elasticity and sponginess.Vital Wheat Gluten Flour:Also called "gluten flour", "instant gluten flour", "pure gluten flour", and "vital wheat gluten" depending on vendor and manufacturer. This is flour with the starch and bran removed. Gluten is the natural protein in the wheat endosperm which, when combined with water, forms a taffy-like dough. This retains the gas and steam from baking."

I also called up the company of the product I bought where the box said " Vital Wheat Gluten", to ask the above question. What I was told is that they do not label it a flour, however some companies will call it a flour, as in the excerpt above. But it looks like a flour and can be used in the same way a product labeled wheat gluten flour is used. I have not made the recipe yet, but when I do, I will let my readers know what happens. If it does not work, then I know. On the back of the box of the product I have there is a recipe for seitan. So, maybe, these two products are one in the same. I always welcome feedback if any of my readers have information on this topic.

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back again soon.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What is seitan

I recently learned about seitan which led me to learning about the nutritional yeast flakes I discussed in my earlier post. Here is an excerpt from a web site on what seitan is. You will see links for various seitan recipes and how to make seitan. I have noticed that some recipes use nutritional yeast flakes and some do not. The recipe for home-made seitan in this site did not. You can also buy all ready made seitan in the store. I found it where the tofu was.

"Definition: Although it is made from wheat, seitan has little in common with flour or bread. Also called “wheat meat”, “wheat gluten” or simply “gluten”, seitan becomes surprisingly similar to the look and texture of meat when cooked, making it a popular meat substitute. Asian restaurants often use seitan as a vegetarian mock meat, and seitan is also the base for several commercially available products such as tofurky deli slices. Seitan can be prepared by hand using either whole wheat flour or vital wheat gluten and is made by rinsing away the starch in the wheat, leaving A high protein gluten behind. . Although not as common as tofu, seitan is quickly gaining popularity, particularly in vegetarian restaurants, due to its ability to take on the texture and flavor of meat
Prepared seitan can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores."


making seitan-

G note- I am also including a blog site for a author's blog, Nava Atlas. I have mentioned her before as an inspiration to me when I first became vegetarian (pre-becoming vegan). She has a recipe for Jerk-spiced Seitan.

Happy vegan cooking

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


Nutritional Yeast flakes vs Brewers yeast flakes

I am writing this post so my readers do not make the same mistake that I did. I was given a recipe on how to make home made seitan. In it one of the ingredients was for nutritional yeast flakes. I went to the store to find it and asked where it was. I was pointed to an aisle and told it was in a big can. So, I came across Brewers Yeast flakes and thought this was it. Well, It is not. When I went home and tasted it, it did not have a cheesy taste like some say it has. So, I went online and did some research and learned that brewer’s yeast flakes is not nutritional yeast. Below you will find articles from the web-sites where I found information about this topic. I have also included a website to show you a company that makes it and what it will say and look like.

Article one-
Nutritional yeast is a very important ingredient for most vegan cooks. It is NOT the same thing as brewer's yeast or baking yeast. Nutritional yeast flakes, available in health food stores, in bulk or in packages, have a cheesy taste when used alone, but they can also add an "egg yolk" taste to tofu egg substitutes, and a chickeny taste when used with soy sauce .
Nutritional yeast is not a live yeast. It is a very concentrated source of protein, B vitamins (including B12, in the case of Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula), and minerals. It should NOT be refrigerated, but can be kept in a covered jar in a cool, dark, dry place and will keep for a very long time, like most dried foods. If you can only find the powdered form (called “Engevita yeast” or “Bio-yeast”), use half as much as the amount of flakes called for, as it is more concentrated. "Engevita yeast , produced from a selected strain of yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
According to Joanne Stepaniak in "The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook:
"Red Star derives its primary grown nutritional yeast from pure strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae grown on mixtures of beet and cane molasses."
AND she further states:
"Many people confuse nutritional yeast with brewer's yeast or Torula yeast. Brewer's yeast is a byproduct of the brewing industry, and Torula yeast is typically grown on waste products, such as those from the wood pulp industry."


Site to show you what nutritional yeast is-
red star vegetarian support formula-

Excerpt two-

Definition: Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. Sprinkle some on hot popcorn or garlic bread, or add a generous spoonful to a stir fry or pasta sauce. Nutritional yeast is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you’re vegan, it’s a good idea to add some to your food regularly. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk foods or supplement section of your health food store. You can look for either nutritional yeast flakes or powder, but be sure you don’t get brewer’s yeast by mistake, as its quite similar in appearance.


This is a site to tell you about Brewers yeast and it’s uses:

This is a site that gives you some recipes for using nutritional yeast:

One last note- If you can not find nutritional yeast then go to my first post “welcome to my vegan journey” and you can order it from the online grocery stores.

Happy Vegan cooking

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


Saturday, January 12, 2008

I made the chocolate chip muffins

In a post back in December, 07 I wrote a post called "vegan pumpkin pie and more". In that post was a recipe for chocolate chip muffins which I found on the internet. I finally had a chance to make them this morning and they were good. I would definately make these again. In the recipe a chocolate is suggested or to use another vegan chocolate. The one I use is called Tropical Source (by sunspire), semi-sweet chocolate chips, rich dark chocolate. It says on the bag 100% dairy free and gluten free. I first found these on the online vegan grocery stores I posted in my first post "welcome to my vegan journey". Then I was glad to find it in the local whole food store.

Happy vegan baking

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back again soon.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Steamed potatoes with thyme

I never thought of steaming potatoes and then came across this recipe. I enjoyed it and thought I would pass it along..

Steamed potatoes with thyme

Prep time 5 minutes: Total time 25 minutes.
. Serves 4.
2 pounds red new potatoes, halved if small, quartered if large
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Coarse salt and ground pepper

1- Set a steamer basket in a large pot. Fill with enough water to come just below basket; bring to a boil. Place potatoes in basket; reduce heat to a simmer. Cover, and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2-Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl. Add oil and thyme; season with salt and pepper, and toss.

G note- I did not have red potatoes so I used white.

Source - potatoes with thyme

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back soon.

Happy Vegan cooking


Thursday, January 10, 2008

More product finds

Since I became vegan I am like a kid in the candy store when I walk into a whole food store. Finding new products to enhance the vegan lifestyle shows me more and more each day how being vegan is a way of life that can be done. When you find out where to get the substitutes and you have the gist of how to change recipes to vegan and explore new recipes it is like second nature. It is an exciting experience when ever I find a new product. While walking down the aisles I bought vegan worcestershire sauce by “The Wizards”. I was so glad to find that because I use worcestershire often and was surprised when I learned that it had anchovies in it. No anchovies in this one :) I also bought by “Nasoya” a vegi-dressing, soy based salad dressing, creamy Italian flavor.. A tip for my readers I learned is that you must read the bread crumb ingredients because in some there are eggs and milk. So in the whole food store look for vegan bread crumbs. And I was happy when someone told me there is butter that has no milk in it. I was getting disappointed seeing milk in margarine products in the grocery store. Well, “Earth balance” makes a vegan natural buttery spread.. All these products I found in the local whole food/ organic store. I always spend more time then planned when I go shopping because I enjoy looking around and seeing what I can discover. :)

Happy vegan shopping

Thank you for coming to blog. Please come back again.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vegetable shell soup with soybeans By Gnewvegan

I was reading in a magazine and saw a product call vegetable shells. When I went to the grocery store I saw the product in the pasta section. I bought the small vegetable shells and decided to make a soup. I also wanted to use the soybeans that I discussed in another post. So here is my soup recipe and I hope my readers enjoy it.

Vegetable shell soup with soybeans

4 servings

1 cup small vegetable shells
1 cup soybeans from a can, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can of stewed tomatoes with juice (get the one that has in it onions, celery and green pepper)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried red and green bell peppers (I found this spice in a whole food store)
1/8 teaspoon cumin
dash of chili powder
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup, thawed green peas
2 oz shredded green cabbage
1.5 oz white onion, coarsely chopped
vegan parmesan cheese for sprinkling at end (optional)

1- Cook pasta shells according to package directions. When done drain and put back in pot.
2- Meanwhile, in a 2 qt saucepot, put in the can of stewed tomato’s with juices, and with tongs or your hands break up very well into small pieces. Then add the broth, dried pepper spice, cumin, chili powder, and white pepper. Bring to a boil uncovered.
3- Add the vegetables and bring to a second boil. Then simmer, uncovered, for ten minutes.
4- Put soup in serving bowls and add a small ladle of pasta.
5- sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese if desired.

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

Happy vegan cooking


Friday, January 4, 2008

Couscous Salad with Roasted Vegetables and chickpeas

This is a recipe from the internet source below.

I made some changes because I wanted to utilized my soybeans. See the end of the recipe for what I did. This is a tasty recipe.

Couscous salad with roasted vegetables and chickpeas

Prep: 30 minutes Total: 1 hour

Aromatic cumin, lemon, and scallions add Middle Eastern allure to this vegetarian salad. Chickpeas and whole-wheat couscous provide complete protein.(Excerpt from Every day food)

Serves 4.

1 pound carrots, sliced 3/4 inch thick on the diagonal
1 head cauliflower (3 pounds), cored and cut into florets
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
6 scallions, thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place carrots and cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with cumin and 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread half the vegetables on a second baking sheet. Roast until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets and tossing halfway through. Cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/4 cups salted water to a boil. Stir in couscous; cover and remove from heat. Let stand until tender, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; set aside to cool, uncovered.
Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine roasted vegetables with couscous, chickpeas, and scallions. Place arugula on a serving platter, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon dressing. Add remaining dressing to couscous mixture, and toss; serve over arugula.

Gnotes- Instead of the chickpeas I used soy beans from the can. I simply drained and rinsed them before use and used them as per the directions in the recipe. I do like chickpeas, but I wanted to try this with the soy beans. To make the process quicker, I used frozen cut krinkle carrots and frozen cut cauliflower(not thawed). I used my toaster oven to roast the vegetables (line the toaster oven baking sheet with aluminum foil). I did not have scallions on hand so I simply chopped up some white onion. I am not a fan of arugula so I did not use that. I also did not have lemons on hand so I simply made an Italian dressing with Extra Virgin Olive oil, red wine vinegar and seasonings. And finally, I enjoyed it warm. I did not follow the amounts exactly because I only made one serving size. I enjoyed it and would make it again.

source: with roasted vegetables a

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back again soon.

Happy Vegan Cooking


Product finds

I am always on the look out for a product new to me now that I have become vegan. I decided that I should post what I discover, and ways I may use the product. I wrote about "Nog" by Silk in another post. I am not one for TV dinners but sometimes when my time is limited and I am just too tired I may have one. I was walking around the grocery store after work looking for something quick and easy where I did not have to wash more then a fork. I was getting disappointed as I read ingredients and there was something in the products I could not have. Then in the frozen food aisle, to my surprise, I saw "Amy's frozen foods. And some of them are vegan!!! Yes, someone has actually made food for vegans to pop in the microwave or stove. I had her veggie loaf and it was good. Now that I know what to look for I noticed it in the whole food store as well. So, at least I know that when I feel the way I did that night, I have a quick option to eat.
Another thing I saw was soy beans in a can in the can bean aisle. I do not know if most stores carry it because I never looked. But I decided to try them and see how they were. I replaced them in the recipe I posted "Couscous salad with roasted vegetables and chickpeas" and it was good. On the back of the can it stated that 1/2 cup (equal to one serving size) has 13 g of protein, 10% DV calcium and 30% iron.. So I thought it is a nice source of nutrients.

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back again soon.

Happy vegan cooking


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lets talk about sugar

In my journey towards becoming vegan, I learned that some sugar is not vegan. This was a surprise to me. I would have never thought something like sugar would not be suitable for vegans. I started doing research on the subject and came across quite a few interesting articles on the internet that I am going to post here. It is alot of information but answered many of my questions. And helped me in choosing what to buy. When I went out looking for the sugars I found it quite easily. The first grocery store was a negative but the second general grocery store had a Florida crystal brand (which when you read through the post you will see the names of vegan and nonvegan sugars). Then I noticed it was at the natural store I go to as well. And if you can not find it, if you go to my first post, you can order the sugars from the online stores I posted. I hope you will find the information useful and that it will answer your questions about sugar. I will be copying and pasting the information, so please note any opinions in the excerpts are of the writer and are not mine.

Article one:

The Great Sugar Debate: Is it vegan?

I don't know how many times I've had this conversation with people. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the subject. Most vegans I've come into contact with know there is something non-vegan about sugar, but not everyone knows what that is. So we went to PETA and asked them. Here's what they told us...

Bone char, made from the bones of cows, is at times used to whiten sugar. Some sugar companies use it in filters to decolorize their sugar. Other types of filters involve granular carbon or an ion exchange system rather than bone char.

The following sugar companies DO NOT use bone-char filters:
Florida Crystals Refinery
P.O. Box 86
South Bay, FL 33493
Labels: Florida Crystals

Refined Sugars Incorporated
One Federal St.
Yonkers, NY 10702
Labels: Jack Frost, Country Cane, 4# Flow-Sweet

Makes powdered brown sugar

Supreme Sugar Company (subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland)
P.O. Box 56009
New Orleans, LA 70156
Labels: Supreme, Southern Bell, Rouse's Markets

The following sugar companies DO use bone-char filters:
1114 Ave. of the Americas
25th Fl.
New York, NY 10036

Savannah Foods
P.O. Box 335
Savannah, GA 31402

California & Hawaiian Sugar Company (with the exception of its Washed Raw Sugar)
830 Loring Ave.Crockett, CA 94525-1104

Supermarket brands of sugar (e.g., Giant, Townhouse, etc.) buy their sugar from several different refineries, so there is no way of knowing whether it is vegan at any given time.

Brown sugar is generally made by adding molasses to refined sugar, so sugar companies that use bone char in the production of their regular sugar will also use it in the production of their brown sugar. Confectioner's sugar (refined sugar mixed with cornstarch) made by such companies also involves the use of bone char. Fructose may, but does not typically involve a bone-char filter.

If you want to avoid all refined sugars, we recommend alternatives such as Sucanat and turbinado sugar. Neither of these sweeteners are ever filtered with bone char. Additionally, beet sugar--though normally refined--never involves the use of bone char.

Article two:

More about sugar and alternatives

Half of the white table sugar manufactured in the United States is cane sugar and the other half is beet sugar. Beet sugar accounts for about 40% of the world's sugar, and the United States is the third largest producer. Sugar beets, which naturally contain 16 to 18 percent sucrose, flourish in temperate climates where the soil is rich and the growing season is about five months long. Thirteen U.S. states currently grow sugar beets. Sugarcane, which contains 12 to 14 percent sucrose, is a tropical grass and is grown in four U.S. states: Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas. Both cane sugar and beet sugar are considered to be among the "purest" foods available because they are 99.9 percent sucrose.
The primary distinction between cane sugar and beet sugar, other than being derived from different plants, is the processing method. Unlike beet sugar, cane sugar processing typically takes place at two locations, the sugar mill and the refinery. During the final purification process, cane sugar is filtered through activated carbon (charcoal) which may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin. This step is unnecessary for beet sugar and therefore is never done.
Over half of the cane refineries in the United States use bone char (charcoal made from animal bones) as their activated carbon source. The bone char used in this filtering process is so far removed from its animal source that cane sugar processed in this method is deemed kosher pareve, which, according to Jewish dietary laws, means that it contains no meat or milk in any form as an ingredient. A number of vegans disagree with this perspective.
Consumers cannot discern any differences between beet sugar and cane sugar in taste, appearance, and use. Beet sugar is frequently not labeled as such -- the packaging may just list "sugar." Cane sugar is more often labeled specifically, but not always. For consumers wishing to differentiate, the issue has become convoluted. Many vegans prefer to avoid white table sugar altogether rather than chance using a product that was filtered through bone char.
Brown sugar consists of sugar crystals (cane sugar or beet sugar) combined with molasses for taste and color. Confectioner's sugar (also known as "powdered sugar") is white table sugar that has been pulverized into a very fine powder and sifted.
Some vegans replace white table sugar with unbleached cane sugar or dehydrated and granulated cane juice, both of which are available in natural food stores. Most of these products can replace white sugar measure for measure for general use (such as on cereal or in beverages) and in recipes. These products are typically darker in color than white table sugar -- ranging from light amber to rich brown -- due to their naturally higher molasses content. This can sometimes alter the flavor of recipes and may also affect the color of the finished product.
Unbleached cane sugar is considered by some to be more healthful than white table sugar. Although it may contain minimal trace nutrients, one would have to eat massive quantities of this sugar in order to obtain any reasonable nutrititive value. And, of course, there are numerous drawbacks associated with the overconsumption of sugar including tooth decay and obesity.
Nutritionally speaking, sugar is sugar is sugar, whether it is white table sugar, maple sugar, or a natural alternative. A 1948 federal law requires all products sold as sugar in the United States to be at least 96 percent pure sucrose, so even "raw" sugar (sometimes called "turbinado sugar") is by law compositionally close to white table sugar -- about 96 to 98 percent sucrose.
Beyond the bone char concerns and health-related issues, there are many factors to consider when purchasing sugar and products that contain it. The vast majority of sugarcane is not organically grown, and most sugar plantations employ environmentally unsound agricultural methods, such as heavy insecticide and pesticide use and crop burning, which negatively impact soil, air, water, and the health of the workers. Sugarcane production is labor and energy intensive and utilizes large amounts of fossil fuels in processing, filtration, packaging, and transport. Plantation owners typically pay meager wages and provide no benefits while workers are forced to endure brutal, substandard conditions.
There are many reasons why vegans avoid white table sugar, why some purchase only organically-grown unbleached sugar, and why still others eschew sugar products altogether. A prudent approach may be to reduce our use of all types of sugar, including sugary processed foods, and to train our taste buds to more fully appreciate the natural sweetness of fresh and dried fruits, grain sweeteners, and other whole foods. Still another option is to purchase granulated natural sweeteners such as maple sugar, granular fruit sweetener, and date sugar, or to use natural liquid sweeteners such as pure maple syrup, agave syrup, malt syrup, brown rice syrup, and mixed fruit juice concentrates. These products are available in natural food stores and many supermarkets.


Article three:

What is Sugar In The Raw?
Sugar In The Raw is a natural, unrefined sugar made from sugar cane grown in Maui. Juice is extracted from the sugar cane, and then crystallized through evaporation. These crystals are rinsed with a very small amount of water to remove just enough stickiness to make the product free flowing. We pack this turbinado sugar and market it as Sugar In The Raw.

What makes Sugar In The Raw different from other sugars? Is it healthier for me than regular sugar?
Sugar In The Raw's distinctive color and taste comes from the sugar cane juice flavor that naturally occurs in the crystals. By contrast, white sugar is obtained by refining the sugar cane crystals to remove all the sugar cane juice flavor (and with that, all of the nutrients). Thus white sugar is basically 100% sucrose whereas Sugar In The Raw contains very small amounts of nutrients. Some nutritionists believe that these very small amounts of nutrients contribute to the advantages Sugar In The Raw over refined white sugar. Some commercial brown sugars are made by adding coloring and flavor back to refined white sugar; this is not the case with Sugar In The Raw.

How many calories in a packet of Sugar In The Raw?
One packet (approximately 1 teaspoon) of Sugar In The Raw has 5 grams of carbohydrate and only 20 calories.

How may I use Sugar In The Raw?
Add it to your coffee, tea, cappuccino or latte. Replace white sugar in recipes with an equal quantity of Sugar In The Raw. Sprinkle over cereal or fruit. Mix with cinnamon and sprinkle over pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Use as a topping on muffins, cookies and other baked treats. Blend with fruit and skim milk or yogurt for a healthy smoothie. Use in glazes and sauces for meat and poultry.

Is Sugar In The Raw kosher?
Yes. Sugar In The Raw is certified kosher.

Is bone char, or any other animal byproduct used in the manufacture of Sugar In The Raw?
Sugar In The Raw does not contain any animal by-product, nor does it come into contact with bone char or any other animal by-products during its manufacture. Sugar In The Raw is appropriate for vegan diets.

Is Sugar In The Raw safe for people with celiac disease?
Yes, Sugar In The Raw is safe for people with celiac disease. Sugar In The Raw contains no gluten, nor does it come into contact with glutinous products such as wheat during its manufacture.

Is Sugar In The Raw safe for diabetics?
Sugar In The Raw is metabolized in the body in the same manner as regular sugar. Accordingly, it is not recommended to individuals who must restrict their sugar consumption such as diabetics.

What is the shelf life of Sugar In The Raw?
Like table sugar, Sugar In The Raw has an unlimited shelf life when stored under cool and dry conditions. Exposure to high humidity and/or temperatures may result in caking, but the product is still safe to consume.

My box of Sugar In The Raw has hardened. What should I do?
Because of its sugar cane juice flavor, Sugar In The Raw may become hard and caked if stored under humid conditions. Avoid exposure and storage in humid environment. Sometimes it is possible to loosen the lumps by placing the Sugar In The Raw in a tray and putting it into a low heat oven (up to 160F) for 15 minutes to a half hour. Please use caution not to overheat or burn the product.

Why, if it's less refined, is Sugar In The Raw more expensive than white sugar?
Sugar In The Raw is a Premium Hawaiian turbinado sugar made from all natural cane grown in limited quantities on the island of Maui. Worldwide, there are few growing and manufacturing facilities devoted to producing high quality turbinado sugar, and so the supply is much more limited than the supply of white sugar. As a result, Sugar In The Raw costs more than white sugar.


Article four:

Why Some Vegetarians Will Not Consume Sugar-

Some vegetarians, usually strict vegans, will not consume sugar. This is because sugar is often whitened with the bone char from cows.
If you are a vegetarian and you want to continue eating products that contain sugar, but do not want to cause suffering in the process, you have a number of options.
Your first option is to only consume products made with beet sugar. There are two major sources of sugar in the U.S.A: beet sugar and cane sugar. Cane sugar is often whitened with bone char from cows; in contrast, beet sugar is never whitened with bone char.
So, if you want to completely avoid the bone char, you can do so by eating only beet sugar. The only challenge, and it is a big one, is to find out which foods contain beet sugar and which foods contain cane sugar.
To make things more complex, you can also consume a number of types of cane sugar, as long as you are willing to find out what the source of the sugar is.
You can do this in a lot of cases by looking at the nutritional panel on food before you buy it. If it says fructose or dextrose, the sugar is from a plant source (either beet or corn). If it says sucrose, it could be from a number of sources, which could include bone char-whitened cane sugar.
Now, if you are cooking with sugar, you can personally verify that is bone-char free by purchasing from the following companies, which have publicly-stated that they do not use bone-char: Florida Crystals Refinery, Imperial Sugar Company, Irish Sugar Ltd., Sugar In the Raw (which is also less-refined), and American Crystal Sugar Company.
If you can’t find these brands, but want to avoid consuming bone-char sugar if possible, you can avoid these brands, which have publicly-stated that they do use bone-char: Domino, Savannah Foods, and C&H Sugar Company.Source:

Thank you for coming to my blog. Please come back again soon.

Happy Vegan cooking