Vegan Holiday Series 3: Christmas

‘Tis the season! Ok, I know it’s not exactly Christmas yet and December just started, but I’ve had my christmas tree up since November 18th, because who says we only have to be merry and jolly 25 days a year?

If you couldn’t tell, I love Christmastime. The trees, the lights, the candy canes, the snow, the movies- the list goes on. Another thing I love is the Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Starbucks. After a few in-depth Google searches, I found that the Peppermint Hot Chocolate (and the regular Hot Chocolate) from Starbucks are vegan if you omit the whipped cream, and substitute the regular milk for a non-diary option. I asked for almond milk in mine and it was delicious!

This is the perfect drink for sitting by the fire and watching your favorite Christmas movie.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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Vegan Holiday Series 2: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: the time of year when get dressed up to eat in our living rooms and calories don’t count.

When we hear “Thanksgiving” we think of 20 pound turkeys roasting in the oven. To some that sounds amazing, but to vegans…not so much. Luckily, there are so many delicious plant-based Thanksgiving options available to buy in supermarkets, or easy recipes that can be found online.

This year for Thanksgiving I bought my all-time favorite Gardein product. It’s a stuffed Turk’y Holiday Roast. To be honest, I don’t really remember what real turkey actually tastes like, so I can’t properly compare the flavor of this roast to the real thing. However, I CAN say that this roast is gooooood. This roast even comes with packets of vegan gravy, which tastes identical to real gravy.

Also on my plate this year is vegan stuffing that I purchased from a local vegan bakery called Papa Ganache. If you remember my birthday cake post, it’s the same bakery. This stuffing was outrageously delicious. My favorite part was the chunks of everything-seasoned croissant pieces they included in the stuffing. If you don’t have a vegan bakery near you serving savory items like Papa Ganache, there are plenty of vegan stuffing recipes online, or accidentally vegan stuffing mixes in stores!

My Aunt made a homemade cranberry sauce that happened to be vegan! It was just cranberries, orange juice, and sugar. Very sweet and tangy, and the perfect little side to dip some roast and stuffing in.

And lastly, a good ol’ fashioned baked potato. I topped the potato with some salt and Country Crock brand butter. I also decided to pour some gravy on top of the potato. 10/10.

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving!!!

Vegan Restaurant Finds 4

Chipotle is hands down one of my favorite places to eat. Not only is it delicious and filling, but it is also one of the most vegan friendly food-chains out there.

At Chipotle, you can chose either a bowl, tacos, or a burrito. The tortillas and taco shells are vegan. Both the white rice and brown rice bases are vegan, as well as the black and the pinto beans. For protein, Chipotle offers Sofritas. Sofritas is crumbles seasoned tofu, that in my opinion tastes a lot like ground beef seasoned with Old El Paso taco seasoning. Yes, that’s a very specific description, but if you’ve ever had that brand of taco seasoning you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You can also add fajita veggies to your order, as they are vegan. All 3 sauces, mild (pico de gallo), medium, and hot are vegan, as well as the corn salsa. And, of course Chipotle’s guacamole is vegan (but it’ll cost you extra). You can also add the shredded lettuce to your order. Their chips are vegan as well!

My order, which is a great combination of flavors (I would highly recommend it) Is: A bowl with white rice, black beans, sofritas, mild and medium sauce, and corn salsa.

This bowl only costs about $9.00, and is guaranteed to satisfy your Chipotle cravings!

Easy Vegan Teriyaki Seared Tofu

For dinner I made myself one of the simplest dishes ever, and it turned out pretty great! Not only was this easy to make, but there are very few ingredients making it affordable as well.

You will need:

  1. Teriyaki Sauce( I use Kikkoman low sodium)
  2. Soy Sauce
  3. Agave
  4. Ground Ginger
  5. Garlic Powder
  6. Onion Powder
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. 1 Package of Firm Tofu
  9. 1 Bag of Frozen Veggies (I use Bird’s Eye Steam Fresh Asian Medley)
  10. 1 Cup of Microwavable White Rice (but, you can use any type of rice you like)

First, drain your tofu. Then cut it lengthwise into planks- about 1/4-1/2 an inch. Once your tofu slices are cut, use paper towels to press out any excess moisture. In a ziplock bag, combine the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, agave, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. I didn’t use exact measurements when doing this part, I just eyeballed everything. Place the tofu planks into the bag and let them marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours. The longer your tofu sits in the teriyaki mixture, the more flavorful it will be!

After 2-3 hours, heat a small skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil, and cook the tofu for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

As the tofu is cooking, pop the frozen veggies into the microwave. When they are done, drain them then transfer them to a reusable container. Pour the extra marinade over the steamed veggies. Then, pop the rice into the microwave.

I like to serve my dish with the rice on the bottom of plate, then veggies on top, and then the tofu on top of that, but you can assemble your dish any way you like.

This dish is delicious and VERY filling. You can definitely make this into 2 or 3 meals.

I cannot wait to make this again!

Cheat Day!

Sunday is the day of the week when we get to sit on the couch, watch tv, and eat what we want all day long. Sunday is cheat day.

For breakfast, I made myself a bagel. Since I’m indecisive, I put Daiya Cream Cheese Spread and Country Crock Spread on one side, and Daiya Cream Cheese Spread sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on the other. This combo sounds weird but trust me, it’s amazing!

Lunch was a vegetable sushi roll and vegetable dumplings that my mom bought me from Wegman’s. This doesn’t sound like the type of cheat meal one would probably think of, but I always feel so full and satisfied after eating this, that it feels like I cheated.

For dinner I had the ultimate baked mac and cheese. I make a box of Annie’s brand Vegan Mac and Cheese and transfer it to a baking dish. I then add in some chopped pieces of Gardein’s 7 Grain Crispy Tenders (for a little protein). Then I combine Panko Breadcrumbs, Follow Your Heart Vegan Parmesean, and melted Country Crock Spread and cover the top of the Mac and Cheese with it. I then bake it in the oven at 350 degrees until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown.

And you can’t have a proper cheat day without something sweet. My current obsession is O’My Dairy Free Gelato. It’s creamy and has the perfect chocolate flavor!

Enjoy your cheat day everyone, the diet starts again tomorrow!

 

Vegan Restaurant Finds 3

Finding vegan options at restaurants keeps getting easier and easier!

Olive Garden is one of the most vegan-friendly chain restaurants I can think of. You will certainly not leave there hungry.

The day I found out Olive Garden’s breadsticks were vegan was honestly one of the happiest days of my life. Instead of using butter on the breadsticks, they use a soy based product and seasoning. If you’ve had these famous breadsticks before, you know they are extremely addictive and you can’t stop at just one. Olive Garden is known for their unlimited salad and breadsticks, but steer clear of the salad. It’s weird, a salad that’s not vegan? Their dressing actually contains cheese, as do the croutons. I’ve never asked about this before, but I’m sure a salad with no dressing and croutons can be ordered and you can ask for oil and vinegar to put on it instead.

The minestrone soup at Olive Garden is vegan as well. It is made with vegetable broth and loaded with different types of veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots. It also has red kidney beans, white cannellini beans, and little pasta shells. (This soup is perfect for dipping breadsticks in as well).

For an entree, the only vegan option is really just pasta and marinara sauce. You can pick any shape of pasta you like (and gluten free options are available too). You can also jazz up your pasta and marinara by adding chopped veggies into the sauce. (The sauce is perfect for dipping breadsticks in as well).

Olive Garden does not currently have any vegan dessert options, but after eating a big plate of pasta, a big bowl of soup, and 4 baskets of breadsticks, you won’t even miss it!

 

Vegan Holiday Series: Halloween

Halloween is my all time favorite holiday. I love scary movies, dressing up, carving pumpkins, and of course the candy.

Luckily vegans can still enjoy the candy aspect of today, because there are a lot of candies on the market that are accidentally vegan!

                                   

That’s right, many Halloween favorites like Skittles, Twizzlers, Sweet Tarts, and Laffy Taffy’s are vegan. Other vegan Halloween treats include Smarties, Hubba Bubba gum, Swedish Fish, and Sour Patch Kids.

If you’re missing your fix of chocolate, there are some great vegan alternatives on the market as well that are easy to find in many super markets.

Sun Cups are a great alternative to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They are made with Sun Butter (made form sunflower seeds) so they are great for people with peanut allergies! Enjoy Life Chocolate Ricemilk Crunch Bars can take the place of Crunch Bars, and Organic Ocho Coconut Bars are perfect for Almond Joy lovers.

Happy Halloween!