Summertime

Summertime

It’s officially summer!  Yea!  Time for picnics, cookouts, barbeques, and parties.  Garden fresh foods are popular, but so are grilled and smoked meats on the grill.

How does a vegan cope at these functions without being the “party pooper”?

I love being vegan and so does every vegan I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Like most vegans, I wish I would have done it sooner.

I also love cooking out and hanging with friends.  Summer weather is great for that.  Most of our friends aren’t vegan which means that barbeques can be a little awkward.  Maybe not so much awkward, but while everyone else is chowing down on pork ribs, you might feel a little on the outside.

I am here to blow that misconception right the fuck out of the water!!

We went to a party over the past weekend that had your usual offerings; hotdogs, burgers, potato salad, chips, and dips.  Did we go hungry, sitting in the corner with nothing to eat? Hell no!  I made and brought a rocking Mexican Dip, a variation of my recipe on my website. It was attacked by party goers and no one could believe it was vegan.  No one could fathom that no meat or dairy was included.  Yea for us vegans and sharing our lifestyle. Other than a few valid questions, our veganism never came up.

We’ve been to many other functions when someone would ask us if we brought fresh cut grass to share?! Or someone would bite into a greasy cheeseburger and with a mouthful say, “You don’t know what you’re missing!” Oh, but we do.  We could tell them, but today, we want to chill like everyone else.

So today, I am going to share some great recipes; some perfect vegan summertime, blow their minds, food to share or not to share.  These recipes aren’t playing around either. They are quick, easy, foolproof and most important…. You are NOT stuck in the kitchen all day when you want to be outside.

pasta

 

 

First up is Pasta Salad.   We all love to munch on a pasta salad. It’s a perfect summer share food.

This is one of our easiest recipes.

 

PASTA SALAD

 

1 16 oz. box of pasta- bowties, ziti, or any kind you desire

1 pint cherry tomatoes

 

1 large onion

1 cucumber

1 yellow pepper

1 pkg shredded vegan cheese (or diced up block of cheese) we love Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Shreds, but we used Diya Cheddar this time which we like too.

1 carrot shredded

½ pkg Craisins

1 jar Marzetti Sweet Italian Dressing

 

Cook pasta according to directions.  Rinse in cold water.  Let drain.

Dice all vegetables as small as you like them.  Add additional veggies.  Broccoli. cauliflower, any thing you want. Dump pasta and vegetables into large bowl.  Mix.  Add Marzetti’s dressing.  Mix again.  Put in refrigerator for at least an hour.  This recipe is so super easy, so super good.

 

Next up is our latest version of my Mexican dip which is awesomely fantastic.  Another easy, cheap and delicious dip.  You can’t go wrong.

pppppppp

 

VEGAN MEXICAN DIP

1 pkg Lifelight vegan crumbles

2 pkg Kroger taco seasoning

2 Cans black beans

1 8 oz. pkg shredded vegan cheddar (Daiya)

I large onion

1 pint cherry tomatoes

Kroger Sweet Hot Jalapenos

1 Avocado

1 Recipe Vegan sour cream

1 Recipe Vegan Cheesy Sauce

This dip literally takes minutes to assemble.

Stir crumbles and taco seasoning according to directions on package over medium heat in skillet.

Meanwhile, put two cans of beans and one package of taco seasoning into food processor.  Blend until smooth.

Spread bean mixture on to bottom of 9 x 13 pan.   Spread crumble mixture on top.  Next, spread vegan cheesy sauce.

Sprinkle shredded cheese.

Bake until melted @ 350 degrees about 15 minutes.

While baking, dice up onion, tomato, and avocado.

Put on top.

Add Kroger Sweet Hot Jalapeno’s to your liking.

Add vegan sour cream and hot sauce.

Serve with tortilla chips.

This dip won’t last long.

 

Next up is our Nice Cream Bars

choc1

 

You will love these Nice Cream Bars.  I took some into work to share and all the guys loved them.   They are super easy too.

6 Bananas

2 C Kroger Crunchy Peanut Butter

4 T Sugar

1 10 oz. Package Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

2 T Vegetable Shortening

choc2

Place bananas, peanut butter, and sugar into food processor.  Mix until smooth.   Line 8 x 8 inch pan with wax or parchment paper.  Pour mixture onto paper and spread evenly.  Place in freezer overnight or until frozen (at least a few hours).

Once frozen, melt chocolate and shortening slowly over low heat until liquefied.

Remove banana/peanut butter mixture from freezer.  Flip out onto cutting board and cut into rectangular shapes (or any shapes you want).  Drop each piece one at a time into the melted chocolate and coat.  Using two forks seems to work the best.   Place on wax or parchment paper.  Refreeze.  It will only take minutes.

With the banana base, there are endless possibilities.  Oreos, vegan white chocolate, crushed pretzels, rice cereal, almond flavoring….. You name it, the options are there.

choc3

 

As you can see, we have endless options.  We don’t need to sit in corners.  We don’t need to stay home.  We don’t even need to preach our movement at all times (even though I do!)

Sometimes, we just want to show the world that it isn’t hard work.  It isn’t only for the well to do.  It isn’t crazy.  It isn’t bland.  It isn’t just salad or grass.  It isn’t tasteless.

Bottom line, you can be a vegan and rock the world!

 

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