HELP!

VBCC    

August 15, 2018

 

Dear Beyond Meat, Tofurky, Miyoko’s, Just, Trader Joe’s, Boca, Lightlife, Field Roast, Gardein, and all you other wonderful vegan offering companies,

I need your help, desperately!  The world needs your help.

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First off, I want to thank each of your innovating and break out companies for taking the leap into the growing vegan world.   Your products are game changers.  People that have never tried your great vegan products are missing out. People that have tried them are in awe!

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Our vegan movement is growing rapidly.  More awakened people join the ranks every day.  As you know and are responsible for, new vegan products are hitting the market on a daily basis.  Companies like yours and others make the vegan food scene pop with endless possibilities.  Plant-based is the way.  We are so grateful.  We use, highlight, and promote all of your wonderful products in our everyday lives, at home, at work, and with our online presence.  Your meat and dairy alternatives rock our world!  I can’t wait until they rock everyone’s world.

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In the meantime, I’m writing to all of you to explain my dilemma and ask a huge favor, but first a little background information.

I have worked for NASA as a prime contractor for the Test, Facilities, Operations, Maintenance, and Engineering (TFOME) contract for the last 11 years.  My job title is Research Laboratory Mechanic and I get to perform all sorts of cool jobs.  My day to day variety of working on valves, playing with liquid nitrogen, and testing space flight hardware, to name just a few of my tasks, is out of this world.

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The people I work with are amazing with a wide range of skillsets including electricians, scientists, managers, researchers, janitors, mechanics, drafters,  engineers, general laborers, administrators, computer geeks, buyers, maintenance, HVAC, coordinators, and photographers!  You name it!  Our occupations vary to a large degree.  We claim to fame the largest vacuum chamber, acoustic chamber, and mechanical vibration table in the world.

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Sounds cool, eh?

So what could possibly be the problem you ask?!

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Last week was our annual station wide (we have 6500 acres of land here and roughly 150-200 employees) summer picnic.  Luckily, my memory is sharp and I recalled last year’s picnic.  The only food offered that I would eat was mixed nuts and tortilla chips.  I had left starving while my coworkers left over stuffed with the usual picnic fare.

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I planned ahead this year and made a spicy chili with my garden vegetables, Boca Crumbles, and Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo.  I also brought some lovely red velvet cupcakes frosted with buttercream icing using only Miyoko’s butter.  I wanted to bring Beyond Meat Burgers, Boca Chik’n Patties, and Just Mayo, but the grill was filled with chicken and ribs and I didn’t want cross contamination. I would love to see the grill full with Beyond Meat Burgers and Sausages, Boca Patties, Miyoko’s Cheeses, Field Roast meats and cheeses, Lightlife meatballs and deli slices, Tofurky sausages, roasts, and deli slices, and loaded with garden fresh vegetables, grilled buns, and slathered with Just Mayo….something we do all the time at home.

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As far as I know, I am the only vegan on station. I have a plant-based coworker, but I believe that’s it. Most of the people I work with are hard core meat and dairy eaters.   A few people asked why I brought my own food.  One person wanted clarification on whether vegans ate cheese or not and then proceeded later to push the desserts saying, “Can’t you eat dessert either?”

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Without calling anyone out for their weight or their health issues, I am blown away (reason for this letter) that so many intelligent people are still consuming tons and tons of animal products.

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Our offerings today were

  • Cheese Cubes
  • Sausages
  • Potato Chips
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Pretzels
  • Potato Salad
  • Baked Beans with Bacon
  • Coleslaw
  • Pork Ribs
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Veggies with Ranch Dip
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Rolls
  • Store Bought Cakes, Cookies, Pies

Not too much for a vegan!  Not too much for anyone looking after their health either!

So here is my request for you all.   I would love, love, love to show these people that you can eat great food and have great picnics with no animals harmed.  Vegan sausages, burgers, appetizers, salads, rolls, and desserts for everyone.

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My problem is that I can’t afford to purchase and cook for all of these people, even though I really really want to. Work hours, kids, mortgage payments, the usually life gets in the way of that dream.  I do cook often for a group of my omnivore coworkers and they love my food, vegan and all.  I would love to showcase that more for everyone.

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Can any or all of you contribute to some sort of food donation so I can have a proper picnic showcasing how awesome the vegan world and their products are?  You might just gain some more customers.  You may change someone’s perception of veganism.  You might just win some folks over. You might change the world.  Maybe you’ll have a hand in how the next generation eats. Of course you will.   You’re already doing that now.

It’s not rocket science.

Sincerely,

Monica Hewitt VBCC

Research Laboratory Mechanic

NASA Plum Brook Station

 

 

Easy Vegan Baked Cheesy Meatless Meatballs

Easy Vegan Baked Cheesy Meatless Meatballs

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 Wow!  That’s a mouthful, but once you make and eat these saucy cheesy delights, you will see there is no other title for them. You don’t have to spend a million dollars and slave in the kitchen all day to make a perfect vegan meal.  Not everything has to always be completely homemade.  Let’s face it, we are busy people with jobs, and families, and schedules to uphold.

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Yesterday was your typical Monday! Neither the Captain nor I were in the mood to go to work.  The weekends just fly by.  By the time we both arrived back home, the dinner hour had come and gone.  We, along with our 13 year old son who had just returned from football practice in the 90 degree heat were exhausted and starving.  We were all craving cool showers, our air conditioned home, and comfort food, but no one really felt like cooking.

Then I remembered our haul from Trader Joe’s over the weekend.  I had the perfect solution to please everyone and not take up the rest of the evening cooking all night.

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I grabbed a few ingredients, did a little prep work while the oven was preheating, and threw it all together for a delightful vegan meal.   It turned out lovely.  It was the perfect comfort food; saucy, cheesy, meaty. Adding the nutritional yeast not only kicks up the flavor a notch, but gives your B12 a boost. The meatballs are a great source of protein.   Happy campers all around.

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We all want to eat healthy, include as many fruits and vegetables as we can, but sometimes we might just have a hankering for some plant based meat and cheese alternatives.

No need to feel guilty because no animals were harmed to allow us to enjoy our meal.  I am happy to share this recipe with you! I know you will enjoy it as much as we did.

 

 VEGAN BAKED MEATBALLS

1 16 oz. Pkg Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs

1 24 oz. Jar Reggano Marinara Pasta Sauce (Aldi’s)

1 24 oz. Jar Reggano Mushroom Pasta Sauce (Aldi’s)

1 Onion Diced

8 oz. Mushrooms Diced

1 t Garlic Salt

1 t Italian Seasoning

½ c Nutritional Yeast

¼ c Fresh Basil

¼ c Fresh Chives

1 8 oz. Pkg Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Shreds

Lots of Cracked Black Pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400 F

Layer diced onion and mushroom on bottom of 9 x 13 pan.  Next layer the meatless meatballs on top.  Pour both jars of sauce into pan and slightly mix to get the sauce to the bottom layers too.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.  The sauce should be starting to bubble.  Take out of oven.

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Sprinkle nutritional yeast, garlic salt, some black pepper and the Italian seasoning evenly over the meatballs and sauce. Next spread the mozzarella shreds and top with the basil and chives. As usual, I added more cracked black pepper.   Bake an additional 15 minutes at 400 F until melted and starting to brown.

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We ate these on some leftover hotdogs buns from our grilling adventures the night before.  We had to eat them with a knife and fork. They were a messy delight.   You could just eat them out of a bowl, or add pasta.

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We love Aldi’s pasta sauces as most of them are vegan without a lot of additives.  They are cheap too which is always great for our family budget.  These 24 oz. jars were only 97 cents apiece.  What a deal!  We usually have a stockpile on hand for quick meals, including using for pizza.  You can use whatever sauce you like.  Homemade would be the best, but I just didn’t have the time last night.  Trader Joe’s meatballs are another favorite of ours, but again, use the brand you like.  Their Vegan Mozzarella Shreds are one of the best melting cheeses alternative products out there.

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I wish I could say you will enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day, but I swear if I would have allowed it, the Captain and the kid would have licked the pan clean.   The meatballs were gone in a heartbeat.  Guess we will have to head back to Trader Joe’s soon.  I should have bought more packages of meatballs.

 

 

GARDENING 1,000,000

GARDENING 1,000,000!

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You see a lot of people post about their gardens; their green thumbs, their abundant rewards, their everlasting skill of maneuvering weeds, water, bugs, and birds and just how fucking perfect it all comes together. Who does that shit?

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We all love fresh produce, especially summer fruits and veggies.  Who doesn’t love biting into a ripe red tomato or a handful of juicy strawberries?

To some, it can seem daunting; to others a piece of cake.  I am going to show all of you how easy gardening can be to anyone.  I say that with complete sincerity as a kid growing up who didn’t even know how to plant a flower, let alone tend to a vegetable garden.

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Why should anyone bother to have a garden?  Why would anyone want to take their precious time, when we are all too busy anyways to pull weeds, deal with pesky bugs, or dig in the dirt?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just go buy the shit at the grocery store?  Let someone else do the “dirty” work!

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Everyone should have a garden.  Yes, I know that some people have apartments, live with their parents that don’t want their lawns annihilated, or just don’t know where in the hell to start.  This blog is going to show you the way.

First up…..get out of the mindset that you can’t grow a fucking thing.  You can! If you don’t have a yard to do it in, throw those seeds/plants in a pot.  It can be done. We are all afraid of the unknown.  We need to take that leap of confidence to change our mindset.  I am going to give you all the steps you need to make it super easy.  You will thank me later (specifically at the end of the growing season when you’re eating all these tasty healthy plants and you’ve done it yourself with no pesticides or chemicals).

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I am going to give you some specific steps to get started.

 

# 1

Find some kind of fruit or veggie you love.  Research it enough to know if you can or can’t grow it in your climate.

#2

Once you find that perfect fruit or veggie (or certainly more than one is even better) figure out where you are going to plant it.  If you have a yard to plot out a vegetable patch, great!  More power to you.  We will get back on tilling your garden patch before planting in a bit.   If you are using a pot or pots, we need to make sure you have dirt to put into said pots.  You don’t need Miracle Grow, tons of fertilizers, or pesticides to keep away the critters.

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#3

Tilling the ground if the plants are going in your yard is an easy task, if you have a tiller.  If you don’t , buy one, borrow one, rent one, or just start off small and overturn your soil with a shovel and chop up to make the soil softer and more manageable.  Think of how great your toned arms will be.  Make sure this location gets plenty of sunlight.  Plant your plants.  Water!

 

#4

If you are planting in a pot, it’s a bit easier.  Pour in some potting soil. Move into the sun.   Add plants. Water!

#5

Watch these fuckers grow.  If you have tomato plants, you will need to tie and stake them.  I will show you how.  Easy peasy.  If you have other plants, it just depends.   Peppers don’t need staking.  Beans need a “fence”.  Zucchini and squash need tons of room, as do cucumbers and melons.

Again, why go through all the “pain” of doing your own when you can pop down at your local grocery store and shop until you drop.  Drop you will.   When growing your own, you control the environment.  You are giving your family healthier foods to eat by growing your own food.  What a win win deal for everyone.

#6

Make sure these beauties have plenty of water, sun, and tender loving care.  It’s not too much of rocket science.  If it’s dry, water them. Rain water, or pond, or lake or any water is better than the chlorinated water out of your tap, but tap water is better than no water.   Keep the plants in the sun if they are mobile.  Pull out weeds that suck water and nutrients from the main plant.  We put a lovely cheap bird bath in the middle of our veggie patch to keep the birds around eating the unwanted bugs.  It has worked awesome.  You will still have some bugs and possibly other critters.  Don’t fret!  Everyone deserves to eat. A nibble here and a nibble there won’t kill anyone.  If the problem persists see tip #7!

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#7

If you must spray for pests, spray a water based pepper spray to ward off the insects. Check out the internet.  Dish soap mixed with cayenne, jalapeno, or habanero and some water goes a long way.  Just don’t stick your fingers into yours eyes afterwards.  You have been warned.   Please do not put chemicals on the plants.  If you are going to do that, you don’t need your own garden.  Go to the store and buy the shit.

#8

Find lots of great recipes online for when your plants are ready to pick.  Share with your family to get everyone in the groove.  Eggplant Parmesan, Zucchini Bread, pickles, stir-fry’s, pastas with homemade marina, pizzas on the grill, jacket potatoes, you name it.   You will not only love your new found foods, you will revel in trying new recipes with them.

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#9

Enjoy all your new healthy foods.  Love what you are doing.  Make plans for next growing season to include even more options for your garden.   Start planning now because you are so excited. Be the crazy bitch who runs in the house screaming, “We have our first cherry tomato!  OMG!  I love summer!”

#10

Tell everyone you know about your great healthy experience.  Get others to follow your lead.  Cook for your work potlucks with your freshly grown produce to show people the way.   Pat yourself on the back for your efforts.  Enjoy your new found freedom.  Go Vegan or for fuck sake, at least eat and grow more fruits and veggies.  Your body will thank you.  The family will thank you.  Animals will thank you. Mother Earth will thank you!

 

 

Gardening is really much simpler than non-gardeners think.  I went from “no thumb” to a “green thumb” all on my own with a little research and lots of patience.  The rewards are numerous.  I love to spend my day outdoors in my garden picking the fruits of my labor.  I kind of merge with nature, enjoy the sunshine, water/weed the garden, and sip on my Jack Daniels while thinking up fabulous new vegan recipes to whip up.  Life is good when you have a garden!

 

GAR1Message me if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. Happy digging!

 

 

You Must Be Posh to Be a Vegan

You Must Be Wealthy and Posh to Be a Vegan

 

Vegans ARE wealthy and posh.  We see it all the time.  Certainly no one can afford the luxury of being a vegan unless you have bank rolled a million dollars.  I should know.  I am one of them. My husband is also.

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I met my husband, Captain UK about five years ago online.  He was vegan.  I was not.  With lots of questions and inhaling all the information I could, I went vegan ASAP.  But of course it was easy for us rich white folks.   We both had homes, jobs, and money in the bank. We had money to burn.   Through the proper immigration channels, we married, and legally moved the Captain to the United States.  Life was full of unicorns and rainbows. I worked for NASA.  The Captain is now a Program Coordinator for a federally funded program to help the disadvantaged.  Life is good.  Why wouldn’t it be?

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Being vegan is a piece of cake for us. With vegan foods being so expensive and extreme, it would be hard for most people to embrace the vegan lifestyle.  Not so for us wealthy vegans.  We have two homes in two different countries.  We have four vehicles amongst the five of us. We have great jobs.  Remember, I work for NASA!!! We travel the world.  We enjoy the most gorgeous sunsets and eat the freshest of foods.  We are living life to its fullest. Veganism is amazing, but only if you can afford it.  We feel heartbroken for the rest of the world that veganism is out of their reach due to financial status.

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I wanted to showcase a “daily life of a well off vegan” to allow most of you to strive to achieve the wealthy vegan status.  Maybe one day, veganism will be comfortably available for ALL people.

Today is a Monday.   I don’t know of anyone who loves a Monday, but today was a pretty good day.  I woke up at my usual 4 am start to fresh coffee, central air conditioning cranking, and all three boys comfortably sleeping in their memory foam beds.  The cats were curled up at our feet and soon the morning would break through the skylight in our ceiling.  Life was just perfect.

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I packed a lunch of leftover vegan burgers and corn on the cob.  On my way out the door, I double checked the massive amount of garbage I set out at the curb for pickup from our kitchen demo project.  We are putting in a $20,000 kitchen remodel for our posh lifestyle.  Cabinets are in, just waiting on our countertops.

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I headed to work, cranking the music as my early morning therapy.  It’s hotter than hell outside and I knew that would radiate at work.

I arrived at work and ate some leftover corn for my breakfast. That’s the benefit of being wealthy.  Who needs toast or cereal?

Work was hot hot hot today.  We were rebuilding valves and had to do a lot of painting and cleaning of parts after wrenching on them for hours.  The sun was brutal, along with the humidity.

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In the midst of trying to cooperate with a long Monday at work, I realized my middle son had a doctor’s appointment today two hours before he was due.  I couldn’t get ahold of him.  How do I forget these things?  Did my assistant drop the ball?

Next up, I had to work on immigration paperwork and make some copies of important documents on my lunch break.  I was running late this morning, tired from working in the garden, lawn and porch areas over the weekend, so I had packed a not so great lunch.  Where was my maid to make this all happen?

After working my long hot day, I retired home to my estate to relax in the pool I don’t own.  Not really, but I did get the garden hose out.

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I arrived home, noticing the garbage men hadn’t taken all the garbage I had laid out. I walked in the house and saw the mirror in the bathroom was down.  Someone had apparently, accidentally knocked it off the wall and nails were missing.  I fixed, cleaned, and rehung. I wiped some mold that was starting to settle on the ceiling from all the hot showers we had taken.  I also changed cat trays.  I will spare you the pictures.  I emptied garbage.  I turned off fans left on.  I thanked the gods of winter for keeping my air conditioning running in this heat wave.  I checked the kid’s bedrooms and removed empty cups and half eaten food items.

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  I started a load of laundry.  I made sure the kitty cats had fresh food and water.  I pulled up the empty garbage and recycle bins to the house.  After I noticed the smell, I rinsed them of maggots and scrubbed them clean.garbage Thanks to the always wrong weather people and this heat, I had to water our large garden and refresh the bird bath.    Just what I wanted to do after work on a hot Monday! I took dishes outside and washed them with the hose since we are in limbo with our kitchen; our kitchen which has been overdue for three years as the oldest went to college.  Rotting, leaking, and a broken oven were the norm for the entire time.  We watched every penny to make this finally happen. I worked a zillion hours of overtime.     I whisked away wet clothes near the washing machine. chick At the end of my adventure inside and  outside, I talked the neighbor’s chicken into walking back into their fenced in yard.

I am no different than the rest of you.  Outside perceptions are the worst.  We are not loaded and rolling in dough.  We have to send $$ back to England every month to pay the bills.  We not only have two car payments, but the kids’ father bought the cars for the boys and pay for their auto insurance.  They are far from new, but very much appreciated.  Our amazing sunsets and freshest of foods come from our vegetable garden which I spend hours and hours in trying to provide for my family. garrI am constantly watering, weeding, and tending to the garden in one way or another.   Our traveling journeys have mostly been back to England, my husband’s home town, to connect with family and friends and keep an eye on his English residence.  It’s never been about lavishness and jet setting around the world.

We are not posh, even though we have been called it more than once.  We are hardworking “normal” people just like the rest of you.  We work too much. Both of us have two jobs.   We cut coupons and try to catch the deals to save us a penny.  We turn off lights when not in use. We go without.   We worry about medical bills.  The Captain won’t go back to the doctor about a kidney stone because he is worried about the price after receiving a $1000 bill for his CAT scan alone.

Veganism isn’t posh.  Misconceptions are always around.  It isn’t only for the wealthy and misconceived notions never help the movement. This is a myth created and pushed onto the general public by Animal Agriculture.  As you can see, on the outside, we look as financially comfortable as the Royals. We aren’t.  We are struggling as much as the rest of the world.    When it’s all laid out, you see we are just a working middle class trying to make ends meet.  That’s just proof that veganism is for everyone.  Food is not too expensive.  Veganism is a compassionate, cheap, easy, lifestyle for everyone.

Check out our other blogs for cheap, easy ideas.

I need to run.  My chef hasn’t prepared our evening meal yet.  Guess I’ll have to eat leftovers over the not yet finished kitchen. dindin.jpg     The nerve.

 

 

New Vegan Product Reviews

New Vegan Product Reviews

Every day we are buying and trying new vegan products.  Some are awesome; some not so awesome.  We’re not here to run down the shitty products, but to showcase the great ones, giving you a heads up on what to go out and try if you haven’t already. We will continue to drop new product reviews in your lap to make your busy life just a little bit easier.

First up today is Dave’s Killer Bread.  Now this is what I call great bread.  This is not only the best of the best bread out there, their company rocks too.

http://www.daveskillerbread.com/about-us#about-us-1

Dave’s Killer Bread Company produces healthy, tasty, seedy, whole grain, bread.  They also employ great people who are working on their second chances.  You may notice the cheesy guy on the package, but look past that for great taste.

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Nothing artificial, all organic, non GMO, and no high fructose corn syrup are just a few added bonuses to the consumer. This latest purchase of ours was the Good Seed version.  Fantastic! Some of their varieties are as follows

  • Good Seed
  • Power Seed
  • Blues Bread With a Blue Cornmeal Crust
  • White Bread Done Right
  • Thin Sliced

That’s just their bread line.  They also do a line of bagels which include

  • Plain
  • Epic Everything
  • Cinnamon Raisin
  • Bloomin Berry

Check out their website and their breads and bagels.  You can’t go wrong.

 

Biscoff Cookie Butter

 

http://www.biscoff.com/indulge/biscoff-cookie-butter

Biscoff

 

 

What the fuck is this?  OMG, be very careful of this product.  Do NOT buy if you’re willpower is not at a super human strength.  This vegan product is delightful.  How can you go wrong with sweet crunchy cookie butter?  If you’re not careful, you’ll scarf down spoonful after spoonful before realizing that ½ the jar is already gone.  This lovely product is made from Lotus Biscoff Cookies from Lemeke, Belgium.   No artificial colors or preservatives.   Non GMO and nut free also.  This product is a special sweet treat.  You can use this as a dip for pretzels or spread it on toast.  We prefer to eat it right out of the jar.  First come, first serve. Hide it if you can.

 

Walkerswood Plenty Hot Jamaican Fire Stick Pepper Sauce

 

http://www.walkerswood.com/

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What a great Jamaican hot sauce.   This bottle is tiny, but a dab will do you.  This is a flavorful hot sauce that is definitely on the hotter side.  Cheap too.  Only $1.09 for 3.38 oz.  We love to dip our peanut butter toast in this sauce for breakfast.   Originating from the Caribbean, this company has earned its success through their wonderful sauces.   We love their Hot Jamaican Scotch Bonnet sauce just as much.

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Caribbean Dreams Coconut Milk

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I have fallen in love with this milk.  Tonight I used this coconut milk to make a divine ranch dressing for our salad on this super-hot summer day.  I put the can in the refrigerator, keeping it cold to thicken it.  I add equal amounts to Just Mayo, whip, and spice it up with onion powder, cayenne pepper, chives, garlic salt and black pepper.  This product is a perfect base to add to potato salad, dressings, vegan sour cream, dips, and many other milk based recipes.

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More great product reviews on the way.  Experiment! Try something new.  Research the new products out there.  The more we try and buy, the cheaper the great products will become.  Maybe, just maybe, one day meat and dairy will become a thing of the past.

 

 

NO MORE

NO MORE

The day has arrived.  I knew it would eventually. We all knew it would.  It’s been a long three plus years.  I’ve struggled with veganism and the grocery shopping ever since I became a vegan.  My husband and I are both vegan.  The boys are not. An “us” verses “them” theme was created.  I was still buying meat, dairy, and eggs for the kids. Cooking meals became more difficult.  Thanksgiving consisted of a Tofurky for us, a turkey for them.   Grilling out became steaks for them, Gardein burgers for us.

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Grocery shopping became painful.  Just putting a gallon of dairy milk in the grocery cart was embarrassing.  I thought I was a vegan! A vegan doesn’t buy dairy.  Vegans don’t grill steaks.   Vegans don’t cook a turkey for Thanksgiving!

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What was I doing?  Feeling like I was living two separate lives was heavily weighing on my thoughts.

I was not spraying chemicals on my vegetable garden so as to not kill any bugs or birds, but I was seemingly ok with contributing to the horrors of the dairy industry by purchasing cheese for the boys.  There was a constant battle with the decisions I was making on a daily basis.  I wasn’t really practicing what I preached.  I was tired of feeling awful for my blatant disregard for animals.

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My husband and my veganism made me feel great.  My conscious told me that my greatness was severely limited due to my lifestyle choices for the ENTIRE family.

We’ve done Meatless Mondays.  We’ve encouraged all the boys to try our vegan meals.  We’ve openly talked about our vegan lifestyle. I have veganized most of our family favorite meals.  For the most part, the boys were open and willing to try vegan meals, but they all still wanted their roast beef and macaroni and cheese.

I know the health benefits of being a vegan.  I know the horror and sadness of animal agriculture.  I have read and watched everything vegan related that I have been able to get my hands on.

I started my own www.Veganbitchcancook.com website.  I even started writing for other vegan blogs.  I became a vegan for all the right reasons, but now I must make this announcement for the good of my family.  I am sure that some will call this abuse.  Some will say, “How could I”?  There will be jokes and condescending remarks.  There may be swearing.  Yelling and even shedding tears may be possible.  My mind just got to the point last Friday where I said…..NO MORE!

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Fridays after work seem to be the big grocery shopping days for our family.  As usual, this past Friday, I headed out to our local Kroger grocery store and worked my way through the aisles.   My first stop was in the meat section to pick up Beyond Meat Burgers and Sausages for us and beef burgers and pork sausages for them.  Just being in the meat section, makes me ill watching everyone pick out their selections of corpses. Why was I doing the same?

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I moved on to the frozen section, picking out some beef and turkey potpies for them, Boca Chik’n Patties for us.  By the time I reached the produce department, my cart was fairly full.  Full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lots of vegan options.  Sadly, it was also full of death.  I was complicit. What the fuck was I doing? I felt horrible.  That is when I officially decided, NO MORE! No more “their food” and “our food”. How was I supposed to introduce and promote our veganism by feeding them shit?   I methodically went back throughout the store and put all the animal products back.  I picked up some more vegan burgers and sausages.  I headed to the check-out line and for the first time since becoming vegan, I wasn’t embarrassed putting my selections up on the belt.

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I went home and grilled up a shit ton of vegan food for everyone.  My youngest son ate a burger AND an Italian sausage and really liked both.

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Saturday and Sunday I grilled up even more vegan food for everyone.  Vegan burgers, Gardein chik’n strips, and loads of vegetables were on the menu.  We ate like Vikings; vegan Vikings.  Everyone was satisfied.

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I will no longer buy meat, dairy, eggs or any other animal products.  If being a vegan is so great for us, it has to be great for them.

The official announcement to the entire family is coming this week when we can get everyone together.  The Captain and I know we will receive some resistance, but they (and us) will survive.

NO MORE never felt so good!

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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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!