Thursday, December 18, 2008

Eat Less Meat: Help the Planet and Your Health!

While I sincerely hope that one day a vegan diet will be practiced by the majority, rather than a steadfast, caring minority, this blog post is for the folks who aren't quite ready to transition to a vegan - or at least vegetarian - diet.

There are many reasons to go vegan - animal rights, human rights, environmental concerns, spiritual beliefs, health and wellness, and an ethical belief in non-violence are just a few.

This quick blog post is addressed to those folks who aren't yet veg*n, but are concerned about their environmental impact and interested in ways they can help save the planet by making easy changes in their lifestyle.

So, here goes:

The energy, water and transportation involved in raising, processing and transporting animals raised for food and the resulting meat products have an enormous impact on the environment. Because of this, vegans and vegetarians significantly lower their impact on the environment the day they stop eating meat.

But, even if you aren’t quite ready to transform your diet and go meat-free, you can still lessen your impact on the environment by limiting your meat consumption – even if you go meatless just one day each week.

Meat alternatives are a great way to ease your (or your family’s) transition and still thoroughly enjoy hearty, filling meals on the days you choose to help the environment – and your health – by going meatless. Morning Star Farms, Boca, Yves and many other companies offer excellent fake meat products that allow you and your family to enjoy your favorite dishes and comfort foods without missing the meat you usually use.

Although meat substitutes do still require energy, water, transport and packaging, the environmental impact of fake meats is significantly less than animal-derived meat products, making vegetarian and vegan meat products a good place to start for folks who would like to improve their health and lower their environmental impact by limiting their intake of meat.

Check out the links in the right column to find easy vegan recipes, vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives and resources that will help you go meat-free for at least just one day each week.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vegan Stocking Stuffer Guides!

As promised, here are links to four more guides to vegan stocking stuffers:

Vegan and Vegetarian Christmas Stocking Stuffers for Kids
10 Vegan and Vegetarian Stocking Stuffers Children Will Love

Vegan and Vegetarian Christmas Stocking Stuffers for Women
13 Vegan and Vegetarian Stocking Stuffers Women (and Others!) Will Love

Vegan and Vegetarian Christmas Stocking Stuffers for Teens
12 Vegan and Vegetarian Stocking Stuffers for Teenagers

Vegan and Vegetarian Christmas Stocking Stuffers for Men
17 Vegan and Vegetarian Stocking Stuffers that Guys (and Others) Will Love

Amy's Kitchen Vegan Shepherd's Pie: Product Info & Review

Amy's Kitchen makes a variety of meatless vegan and vegetarian entrées, including Amy's Shepherd's Pie, made with organic vegetables and topped with organic mashed potatoes. If you didn't grow up in the English countryside or have never heard of shepherd's pie, think vegetable stew in a pie with mashed potatoes on top instead of crust and you will have a pretty good idea of what shepherd's pie looks like.

I love finding ways to make traditional, hearty meals into meatless, dairy-free, vegan delights. And, although I prefer to make them myself from scratch, I don't always have the time - or, let's face it, sometimes I'm just too lazy. Those are the times that I rely on companies like Amy's Kitchen that offer vegan and vegetarian entrées for easy meatless, dairy-free, vegan meal preparation.

As vegans living in the cold, rainy Pacific Northwest, my partner and I have a special appreciation for hot, hearty, savory vegan meals - not to mention that both of us just generally enjoy eating tasty vegan foods. So, when we spotted Amy's Kitchen Vegan Shepherd's Pie at our local PCC Natural Market, we decided to give it a try.

Read more about Amy's Kitchen Vegan Shepherd's Pie (and the full review) here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vegan Stocking Stuffer Guide

If you celebrate Christmas - or just love the gift exchange - you know it can sometimes be difficult to find enough fun little vegan gifts to fill up a stocking. But, never fear - the Vegan Stocking Stuffer Guide is here! This one is for general stocking stuffers, but stay tuned - as soon as my other articles on vegan stocking stuffers for men, women, teens and kids are published, I will post those links as well!

In the meantime, here are 11 vegan (which also means they are vegetarian) Christmas stocking stuffers that are easy to find or make and will delight the vegan or vegetarian in your life.

Vegan Stocking Stuffer Guide

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vegan Black Pepper Steak by Vegetarian Plus: Product Information and Review

All Natural, Cholesterol-Free Vegan Black Pepper Steak in Black Pepper Sauce

While shopping at our local PCC Natural Market a couple of weeks ago, my partner and I came across Vegan Black Pepper Steaks in Black Pepper Sauce made by Vegetarian Plus. Neither of us had ever tried them and they looked like a hearty, savory vegan meat alternative, so we decided to give them a try.

These soy-based steak medallions make a great meat substitute for a hearty meal on a cold day or a savory vegan entrée for a filling dinner. The black pepper sauce is very thick and rich - like a black pepper jelly - and I didn't need to add any herbs or spices to dress up the flavor. I served these vegan black pepper steaks with brown rice and vegetables, but I think that baked or mashed potatoes would also be a very nice side dish for this vegan meat alternative.

Read more about the nutritional information and my full review by clicking the following link:

Vegan Black Pepper Steak by Vegetarian Plus: Product Information and Review

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Warm up your tootsies with vegan winter boots!

It's getting colder here in Washington. We've only dipped into the low 30s a couple of times so far, but colder days will arrive soon, which means it's time to break out the winter clothes and boots.

Since I spent last winter in the South (North Carolina, to be exact) my wardrobe is not exactly up to Pacific Northwest winter standards, which calls for some serious scouring to find the best deals on vegan winter wear - especially warm winter boots to keep my always-freezing feet warm.

Since I'm searching for some cozy vegan winter boots, I figure other vegans are likely doing the same thing. So, I thought I would share a couple of the vegan winter boot options I have found so far...

If you loved Uggs before you went vegan, you might like this next style better. These vegan boots are made by Soda and also have a vegan fleece liner.

(Since this is an old post, the other items that were listed here are no longer available. So...I deleted those to clean up the post and just left this one pair of vegan winter boots up for now. I will make a note to write an updated post with some more vegan boots options. Thanks!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pass the Tings, Please!

Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks are one of my favorite vegan, gluten-free snacks and just might be my all time favorite snack food ever. They are so absolutely, mouth-wateringly delectable that I'm sure you will find them just as addictive as my partner and I do. Tings are light and puffy and have that perfect amount of crunchiness that satisfies snack food cravings. I absolutely love Tings and just can't get enough of them.

Tings are one of many vegan and vegetarian snacks made by Robert's American Gourmet and - for less than $3 a bag - Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks are a great vegan, natural snack to add to your pantry. As an added bonus, you can indulge in them on a regular basis - and feed them to your kids - without guilt!

Click here to read my full article about this great vegan snack food!

Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza: Vegan, Gluten-Free Product Information and Review

Amy's Kitchen makes a variety of vegan and vegetarian foods that can be found in the freezer section of your local natural or health foods market.

Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza is gluten-free, non-dairy and vegan and is made with organic ingredients. There are no GMOs (bioengineered ingredients), preservatives or trans fats.

Each Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza is large enough for three servings and each serving has 350 calories, 20 grams of fat (including 2 grams of saturated fat), 580mg of sodium, 37 carbs, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, 25% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A, 8% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, 6% of the daily recommended amount of calcium and 8% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

As you can easily see, Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza is not the healthiest entrée on the market and is certainly not a low carb, low sodium or low fat food. However, it is vegan and gluten-free, which are two things you typically don't find when shopping for pre-made frozen pizzas. Because of this, it is a good option for folks who follow a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or flexitarian diet who would like pizza as an occasional treat, but don't have time to make their own homemade vegan, gluten-free pizza.

My partner and I tried this new vegan frozen pizza option the other night and, while it isn't our favorite pre-fab vegan entree, we will definitely have it again.

Read my full review of Amy's Vegan Spinach Rice Crust Pizza here.

Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie: Vegan Product Information and Review

Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie is made with organic vegetables and tofu and has 30% less fat than their original Vegetable Pot Pie. There are no GMOs (bioengineered ingredients), no cholesterol and no trans fats.

Each package contains one serving (one non-dairy vegetable pot pie) which has 360 calories, 13 grams of fat (including 1.5 grams of saturated fat), 640mg of sodium, 50 carbs, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, 15% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, 6% of the recommended daily amount of calcium and 15% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

Overall, Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie is a delicious occasional addition to a healthy eating plan.

Not all of Amy's Kitchen's products are vegan and the packaging for the regular Vegetable Pot Pie (with dairy) and the Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie are almost identical, so be sure to check for the text "Non-Dairy" above the name and the vegan logo in the lower left-hand corner of the box.

Find out more about Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pies and read my full vegan product review here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lightlife Smart Bacon: Vegan Product Information and Review

I have tried Lightlife Smart Bacon on a number of occasions and have tried cooking them on the stove with a little oil, a lot of oil and no oil. I have also tried cooking this vegan bacon alternative in the oven to see if I would achieve different results. There may be a trick that I am not aware of, but each time I have cooked them they have come out hard, dry and brittle.

For vegans (and anyone else looking for healthier meatless bacon alternatives) I would recommend Lightlife Fakin' Bacon Organic Smokey Tempeh Strips instead. While I'm not a big fan of Lightlife Smart Bacon, their Fakin' Bacon is superb on BLTs, along side a healthy breakfast or for a great snack.

However, Lightlife Smart Bacon is still a great low fat protein source for vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians or others looking for non-meat protein to add to their diet. The flavor and texture leave something to be desired, but each serving of Lighlife Smart Bacon (2 slices) contains 45 calories, 2 grams of fat, 340mg of sodium, 95mg of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2% of the daily recommended amount of calcium and 4% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

Read the full product information and review of Lightlife Smart Bacon here.

Tofurkey Italian Sausage: Vegan Product Information, Review & Cooking Tips

Tofurkey Italian Sausage has a great, robust flavor - in part from the sun-dried tomatoes and basil, I'm sure - and is really a great addition to a number of meals. I have used this tasty meat alternative many, many times in a variety of dishes and have never been disappointed.

Here are my favorite ways to serve this tasty Italian sausage:
# Serve this tasty meatless sausage sandwich style - Cook on stovetop with a small amount of oil and serve on a bun with sautéed onions and green peppers.

# Add tons of flavor and heartiness to pasta - Cut into rounds (like coins) and cook on the stove with a bit of oil, stir into marinara and serve over your choice of pasta. (for an even heartier sauce I sometimes will also mix in vegan ground crumbles along with the Tofurkey Italian Sausage)

# Serve meatless sausage at your next BBQ - Tofurkey Italian Sausage is amazing when cooked on the grill. For added flavor and ease of grilling you can lightly oil the vegan sausage link before placing it on the grill, or just put it on there as is.

# Serve it like a hot dog - For a spicy, vegan alternative to hot dogs, cook Tofurkey Italian Sausage on the stove or the grill and serve in a bun with your favorite hot dog fixings.

# Serve it in a single-bowl meal - When I'm in a rush or just don't feel like spending hours cooking up a vegan feast, my partner and I enjoy eating Tofurkey Italian Sausage mixed with rice and veggies in a bowl. Cut up the Tofurkey Italian Sausage into rounds, cook on the stove with some oil and mix it in with brown rice and steamed vegetables for a quick, filling meal.

To read my full product review and cooking tips for Tofurkey Italian Sausge, click here.

Shells & Chreese - yes, please!

Road's End Organics is famous for their Chreese vegan cheese alternative and the many delightful and easy to prepare Chreese meals they offer. Their vegan Shells & Chreese are just one of their many organic, vegan products that come in 100% recycled paperboard packaging and offer soy-, nut- and meat-free alternatives to some of the favorite meals we grew up with.

Road's End Organics Shells & Chreese is organic, soy-free, nut-free, vegan, trans fat-free and cholesterol free. This macaroni and cheese-type dish is also high in fiber, vitamin B12, iron and folate.

As for taste, well, let me put it this way - my partner and I bought two boxes so that we could give it a try. We split a box between us last night and have decided to buy 10 boxes next time we go grocery shopping. It really is that good.

Read more about Shells & Chreese here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping: Make Every Trip to the Market a Healthy Success!

If you are vegan or vegetarian - or are just trying to improve your healthy eating habits - shopping for healthy foods doesn't have to be a challenge. At first, it might take you a few extra minutes to check for an organic version or to read a list of ingredients, but finding the healthiest foods for your family's health and wellness is well worth the effort.

Click here for seven tips to make sure you are getting the healthy foods you and your family need the next time you go food shopping.

Vegan Gifts: What to Watch For and Where to Shop

Shopping for vegan and vegetarian gifts can sometimes be a challenge - especially if you aren't vegan or vegetarian and are not sure what is and is not okay to buy.

Shopping for gifts for vegans and vegetarians may seem like an arduous task, but with the right information and some tips on what to avoid, you will soon be shopping for vegan and vegetarian gifts like a pro. The following lists of ingredients and products to avoid might seem a bit lengthy, but the reality is that there are a lot of products out there that have either been tested on animals or contain animal-derived ingredients.

This guide to what to avoid when shopping for vegan and vegetarian gifts and where to find vegan- and vegetarian-friendly gifts will hopefully point you in the right direction and give you some helpful information for your next shopping trip.

From jewelry to cosmetics to textiles to candy, this is an informative article about ingredients and materials that are commonly found in consumer products.

Read the whole article here: Buying Gifts for Vegans, Vegetarians: Ingredients and Materials to Avoid when Shopping for Vegan Gifts

Vegan, Eco-Friendly Gifts for New Parents and New Babies

Just about everyone is going green these days - particularly new parents who are concerned not only about the planet their children will inherit, but also the health of their new baby and how they can limit the chemicals their new baby is exposed to. From the talc in baby powder to the dioxin in disposable diapers, new parents have plenty to be concerned about when it comes to harmful substances coming in contact with their new baby.

Vegan, eco-friendly, natural baby products can be expensive, particularly for new parents who may already be worrying about their budget now that they have a new addition to the family. With this in mind, giving vegan, eco-friendly, natural baby products to new parents as gifts - whether for a baby shower, Christmas or just because you care - can help ease the strain on their new baby budget while providing lasting, healthier options for caring for their baby.

Click here for vegan, eco-friendly baby gift ideas!

Vegan, Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap and Gift Bags

Exchanging gifts during the holiday season is a long-held tradition. Giving Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice gifts is a way to show the people in our lives that we care and think about them. Now you can make your gifts even more thoughtful and meaningful by using vegan, eco-friendly gift wrap options that the recipient can reuse.

Get creative with your holiday gift wrapping and give gifts that keep on giving (to the planet and to the recipient!) with reusable shopping bags, kitchen towels and more!

Click here for tips and suggestions for vegan, eco-friendly holiday gift wrap ideas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tofurkey Deli Slices Update - Italian Deli Style Slices

As promised, I have returned with an update on my most recent Tofurkey Deli Slices find. After finally getting over to PCC Natural Market, I now have the Italian Deli flavor, as well as the Cranberry and Stuffing flavor of Tofurkey Deli Slices.

We just tried the Italian Deli flavor yesterday (and I made sandwiches with this for my partner's lunch today) and they are fab-u-lous. These Tofurkey Italian Deli Slices are quite tasty and have sun-dried tomatoes and basil - yum! To me, they taste almost identical to the Tofurkey Italian Sausages (which also have sun-dried tomatoes and basil, so that might be why), so if you like Tofurkey's Italian Sausages, you are going to love their Italian Deli Slices.

We haven't tried the Cranberry and Stuffing ones yet, but I will report back as soon as we do!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lightlife Smart Dogs Product Information and Review

Lightlife Smart Dogs Vegan Protein Links are definitely my favorite meatless hot dog substitute. If you are looking for a great vegan hot dog alternative for your next picnic or BBQ, I highly recommend that you give these a try.

Get product information and my full review here:
Lightlife Smart Dogs Vegan Protein Links.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tofurkey Deli Slices - Product Information and Review

I love any excuse to make a huge Tofurkey roast feast - complete with gravy, potatoes, stuffing and the works! But, for those days when I don't have 3+ hours to spend cooking this up, Tofurkey has kindly provided some quicker options for enjoying their tasty vegan meat alternatives. In particular, Tofurkey Deli Slices (in a variety of flavors) make quick, easy lunches and snacks. Tofurkey Peppered Deli Slices are my favorite -- to learn more about Tofurkey's Peppered Deli Slices and the other flavors available, click here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chik'n Strips

I've really come to enjoy most of Morning Star Farm's vegan products. Their Meal Starters Steak Strips are among my favorite meat substitutes and their Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles are almost always in my freezer.

For some reason I've just never gotten around to trying their Morning Star Meal Starters Chik'n Strips until now. They are an excellent source of protein with 23 grams per serving. Plus, each serving has only 3.5 grams of fat and 140 calories. I'm not as thrilled about the 510mg sodium, but there is a whole list of vitamins including 4% of the daily recommendation for calcium, 30% thiamin, 35% niacin, 30% vitamin B12, 6% magnesium, 30% iron, 15% riboflavin, 20% vitamin B6, 8% pantothenic acid and 30% zinc. Since iron and B vitamins are sometimes a challenge in vegan and vegetarian diets, I was particularly happy to see how much each serving of this meat alternative had to offer.

Click here to read my full Morning Star Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips Product Review.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gardenburger BBQ Riblets Product Review

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Gardenburger BBQ Riblets. Ok, so now you know how I feel about them, so maybe you don't really need to read the full review, but here is some info on these vegan vittles:

Gardenburger BBQ Riblets are veggie riblets made with all natural ingredients. Each serving has 18 grams of protein, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 3.5 grams of fat, 810 grams of sodium, 580 grams of potassium, 24 grams of sugar, 220 calories, 10% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 15% of the recommended daily intake of iron. I'm not thrilled about the sodium or the sugar content, but the protein, fiber, calcium and iron are great additions to a healthy vegan or vegetarian meal.

I have served these mini meatless ribs with both rice and vegetables and baked potatoes and vegetables, and received rave reviews on each. These savory, delicious rib substitutes are smothered in barbecue sauce and pull apart easily. They are not chewy or weird like some meat alternatives can be and they truly are de-lish.

For more info and serving suggestions, click here.

Product Review: Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread by Vitasoy

Here is the first paragraph from my recently published product review for Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Sandwich Spread...

I have always been a huge fan of Vegenaise made by Follow Your Heart. Up until now, Vegenaise is the only vegan sandwich spread or mayonnaise substitute that I have used for sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad and tofu salad (think egg salad with tofu instead of eggs). But, alas, on my last trip to the grocery store it was out of stock, so I decided to give another vegan mayonnaise substitute a try. There weren't many options, but I found Nasoya Original Vegi-Based Spread in the natural foods section and tossed it in my cart to give it a go.

Click here to read the full review.

Gardenburger Garden Vegan Veggie Patties Product Review

Gardenburger has long been a mainstay on the vegan and vegetarian scene. From the original Gardenburger to the array of meatless fare they offer today, over the years Gardenburger has become a household name known for serving up delicious meat alternatives of both the burger and non-burger variety.

So, naturally, as soon as I see a vegan Gardenburger product that I haven't tried, I immediately have to remedy the situation. When I spotted Gardenburger Garden Vegan Veggie Patties at my local Fred Meyer, I snapped them up and headed home to make veggie burgers and garlic fries for dinner.

Click here to read my full review of Gardenburger's Garden Vegan Veggie Patties.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I like my wine blood- and fish gut-free...

I don't know, that's just the kind of girl I am. When I'm indulging in an occasional glass of wine, I'm just not looking for that extra hint of bull's blood, egg albumen, casein or ground up tendons -- but hey, that's just me.

Sure, wine is mostly grapes with a bit of yeast and some sulfites thrown in, but did you know that the winemaking process also includes something called finings, which are most often made from fish, shrimp, ground up tendons and even blood? For most wine drinkers, this may not be an issue, but for the vegan or vegetarian consumer, this is a big no-no.

Most winemakers use animal-derived finings (even though non-animal finings are available and work great) and they do not have to put this information on the label. Therefore, you need to consult a vegan wine guide before you go wine shopping, since you won't be able to determine which is suitable for you once you are at the store.

Click here to read more about the non-vegan finings used by most winemakers and to find out where you can buy vegan wine.

Click here to get the printable Pocket Vegan Wine Guide from Vegans are from Mars.

And, a quick note on champagne - popular brands Dom Perignon and Moet & Chandon are both vegan and are sold anywhere that champagne is sold.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On the topic of breakfast...

Since I just posted about the wonders of Tofu Scrambler, I thought I should also add a post about Soyrizo (vegan version of chorizo sausage), which is a perfect complement to Tofu Scrambler, among other things. Soyrizo is really, really good. It's definitely one of my favorite meat alternatives and adds a great spicy flavor to any dish you use it in. It's great for chili, to serve with scrambled tofu (or eggs for you vegetarians)and I can't wait to try it in pasta sauce.

For cooking tips and my complete product review, click the link below.

Vegan Product Review: Soyrizo

Tofu Scrambler: Product Review and Cooking Tips

Tofu Scrambler rocks. I used to make scrambled tofu with all sorts of different spices and additions and sometimes I loved it, sometimes not so much. But now that I've found Tofu Scrambler it is always in my kitchen and I use it every time I make scrambled tofu, regardless of what other spices, veggies and whatnot I mix in as well. It's just a little seasoning packet, but oh what a seasoning packet it is. It's a great base for any scrambled tofu dish you want to whip up and I definitely recommend it!

Tofu Scrambler: Product Review and Cooking Tips

Vegan Dining and Shopping in Wilmington, North Carolina

I used to live in Wilmington, NC and finding vegan - or even vegetarian - food at restaurants and grocery stores was a bit of a challenge, to say the least. But, while I was there I compiled a list of places where even vegans can find tasty dishes and fill up their pantries with vegan vittles.

Here are links to my lists so that you too can be a happy vegan while visiting - or living in - Wilmington.

Vegan and Vegetarian Dining in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Vegan and Vegetarian Grocery Shopping in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Best Places to Find Vegan Fare in Seattle

Folks who live in and around Seattle, Washington are lucky to be in an area with so many vegan and vegetarian dining options. I've only been able to check out a few restaurants so far, but will be writing restaurant reviews for each of them as I get around to it. My favorite so far is Pizza Pi in the U District. If you ever find yourself in Seattle you absolutely must try their spinach artichoke dip and their kick ass vegan pizzas.

For some other Seattle vegan eateries, click here.

Vegan Kebabs for the Grill

Colder weather is on its way and, here near Seattle, we will soon be having more rainy days than sunny ones. But, in the meantime, we can still try to squeeze in some warmer weather barbecues before the rain and snow tries to keep us indoors for the winter. Fortunately, patios, indoor grills and just plain gumption will keep some of grilling indoors or outdoors all year long.

I love grilling Tofurkey Italian Sausages and veggie burgers on the grill, but no BBQ is complete without vegetable and tofu kebabs.

I love huge chunks of onion and garlic mixed with peppers, tofu and mushrooms on my vegan kebabs, but click here for more fun vegan kebab ideas.

Miss Mavyn's Meatless "Meat"loaf

There are lots of recipes online for meatless meatloaf but - much to my dismay - every time I've tried one, I haven't liked the outcome. So, starting from the basics in the recipes I found online, I came up with my own that isn't too crumbly, too mushy or too anything else that those other recipes were. I have tried it using vegan burger crumbles made by Morning Star Farms and Boca and both have worked similarly.

I haven't had the chance yet, but I really want to try it with Gimme Lean's ground burger and their sausage style, which I think will be totally de-lish.

Click here for my meatless meatloaf recipe, and definitely let me know how it turns out if you try making it with Gimme Lean before I do!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cheers to Vegan Beers!

Water, grain, malt, hops and yeast may not be the only ingredients used in the production of your favorite brew. Did you know that the process might also include animal-derived products such as glycerin, casein, isinglass or even bugs? Many breweries use animal products as fining (clarifying) agents, foaming agents, coloring and flavoring, which means that their beers are not suitable for vegans, or most vegetarians.

If you are sipping a pint from Germany, the U.S. or Belgium, you might be safe since most of their beers are vegan, but if you are in a pub in the UK, might be getting pissed with a pint filtered with fish guts. I don't know about you, but I like my beer fish gut-free and I don't want any of that other animal-derived nastiness used in the brewing process either!

Find out more about vegan beer and where to find it by reading, Vegan Beer: Who Makes it and Where to Find it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Give me butter, or give me death

I was vegetarian for almost 20 years before I completely gave up dairy and eggs. Some dairy was really easy to give up, particularly since I'm lactose intolerant and had already limited my dairy intake quite a bit, but other things - like butter and cheese - were harder for me. I missed cheese A LOT at first and even had a couple of days when I wasn't sure I could live long term without some of my old favorites -- bagels with goat cheese and walnuts, cheese and veggie omelets, grilled cheese sandwiches, havarti on crackers...even nachos and pizza were on my mind on those days. But, believe it or not, the craving really does go away and I don't miss cheese AT ALL now. Of course, knowing how it's made and what the animals go through to provide the milk helps quite a bit as well.

Now, as for butter, well that's a different story. Of course, mind you, I wouldn't eat dairy butter for the same reasons I don't eat dairy cheese or other animal products, but I did miss the taste just about every day until recently. I made do without butter in my recipes and everyday cooking and I was getting along okay, but then I came across Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread and my vegan butter prayers were answered.

It isn't perfect for frying because of the low fat content, but it melts like a dream on biscuits, baked potatoes or pancakes and I have never had a problem baking with it.

If you decide to run out and get some of your own, keep in mind that only the light version is vegan. The regular Smart Balance Buttery Spread is vegetarian, but not vegan. (On a side note, I've heard that the regular version is better for frying and cooking for you vegetarians out there).

To read more about my experience with Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread and why I love it, click here.

Yves Meatless Deli Slices

I love Yves Meatless Deli Slices and they are a lifesaver when it comes to making hearty, meat-free lunches for my partner to take to work. If you haven't tried them yet, I highly recommend the meatless salami, which is definitely our fave. I usually throw them on a sandwich with some Vegenaise, mustard and lettuce or spinach, but they are even tastier in a wrap made with flat bread.

Yves' Meatless Pepperoni is another one of my faves - it's great on pizza, but it adds a great flavor for a sandwich or wrap as well.

If you aren't sure that you will love them, you can read more about each one by clicking on these links:

Yves Meatless Deli Turkey
Yves Meatless Deli Bologna
Yves Meatless Deli Salami
Yves Meatless Pepperoni