My New Project…The Vegan Test Kitchen

Holy guacamole! It’s been over 5 years since my last post, and I’ve been up to quite a bit. In regards to careers, I left Starbucks to join the exciting world of quality control at Geek Squad City, then made a more permanent switch to real estate–working as a leasing consultant for a property management company and now currently a Realtor. And yes…I’m still vegan! But, I’m sure you’re not here to learn about my day job, so let me get to the exciting part–

While I enjoy writing, I’ve decided to venture into the world of video, and with the help of Luke as editor, we’re bringing you The Vegan Test Kitchen on YouTube! I’ve always wanted to veganify the Julie & Julia story, and the opportunity was perfect once we came across six old iPhones that just happened to be great video cameras. In my opinion, only one cookbook was worthy to test every recipe on video, and that’s the Veganomicon-The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. So, over the course of the next year I’ll be testing every single recipe, and you’ll have a front row seat. Subscribe to the channel and you’ll be updated every time a new episode is released (we’re currently planning for two a week)!

Come join me, in The Vegan Test Kitchen.

 

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Vegans aren’t Whole Foods whores

Many people think to be vegan, you have to spend trillions of dollars at Whole Foods.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I do 90% of my shopping at Kroger, just like every omnivore.  I’m not gonna lie, Whole Foods (or Rainbow Blossom) is the perfect place to get those necessities like Vegenaise, Daiya cheese, or those Dr. McDougall’s soup bowls that are perfect for work time lunches that you just can’t find at Kroger or Wal-mart.  But for your every day needs, Kroger is more than sufficient.  And they’re only going to get better from here!

Although some label reading is still required, Kroger has started to mark a lot of their products “vegan”, only adding to the hundreds of cruelty-free products they’ve always carried, giving consumers the opportunity to make more ethical choices.  Care to take a stroll?  Here are just a few things you might not have known were so readily available…

Bread Products…Just about all of Kroger brand bagels (Everything, Blueberry, Cinnamon Raisin) and most, if not all of Thomas’ Bagels are vegan, as well as Kroger’s “Value” brand wheat and white sandwich bread.

Need something to spread on your toasted bagels or bread?  Try Earth Balance “buttery spread”.  It tastes no different from margarine, and everyone I know that’s tried it has loved it.  It comes in “original” or “soy free”.  Plus it has Omega-3’s which are great for your brain!

Wanna try something other than that mucus-packed cow’s milk with your cereal?  There are actually more options for non-dairy drinkers!  Soy milk isn’t the only one.  There’s Oat, Hemp, Almond, Hazelnut, Coconut, and Rice milks.  Most of these products are animal-free.  Just check the package to see if it’s vegetarian or vegan.  Most will say so.  If not, just Google it on your smart phone!  That’s what they’re for!  Non-dairy milk lasts longer, and most are fortified with vitamins, including calcium.  Plus, I like variety, so I’ll usually switch it up for whichever milk is on sale at the moment.

Craving lunchtime soup in the winter?  Try Amy’s Organic Soups.  They make it soup-er easy (I couldn’t help it!) for you to grab and go, because 90% of these are vegan and are labeled first thing on the ingredient list if they are.  They have sales on these all the time, so stock up when they do.  My favorites are “No Chicken Noodle” and “Split Pea”, both low-fat.  They also have fantastic lentil soups.  I haven’t met one I didn’t like.  And if you’re a soup and sandwich person, there is no shortage of “deli meat” alternatives that taste great stacked between lettuce, onion, pickles, tomatoes, avocados, or whatever else you want to throw in there.  Tofurky’s Hickory Smoked “turkey” slices are amazing.  I could, and do, eat these by themselves.  Another alternative is Lightlife’s Smart Deli, Roast Turkey Style.

As for dinner, nothing is easier than stir-fry.  Lightlife’s Smart Strips, Chick’n Style Strips saute perfectly with a bag of frozen veggies, which is one of the better things Kroger has started offering.  They’re carrying more all-natural frozen vegetables, with no added preservatives.  And there have been several studies to show that frozen vegetables are often more nutritious than fresh, due to nutrients deteriorating right after they’re picked.  So don’t feel bad if you’re in a hurry!

Sweet tooth got a hold of you?  You have about a dozen soy and coconut milk ice cream flavors to choose from.  Not to mention ice cream sandwiches and frozen fruit bars.  And who could forget Oreo’s?  Yes, believe it or not, they’re actually vegan!  They may not be healthy but they are animal-product free.

Last but certainly not least, you have the most important section…produce!  You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know the importance of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.  And look at those beautiful colors!  I must say, Kroger has really stepped up their produce and organic section, which just goes to show, your choices do matter.  See a veggie you’re unfamiliar with?  Don’t be scared!!  Grab it, look up a recipe on Vegweb.com, and dive into the kitchen!  You may hate it or have a new favorite!  The point is, eating ethically doesn’t mean eating twigs and berries.  The choices are always expanding.  So go Krogering! 

Bill Clinton…going vegan?

Apparently President Bill Clinton has recently stated he is “experimenting” with a vegan diet.  Experimenting?  Come on Bill!  This isn’t college when you and your male roommate happened to both be naked at the same time and you “experimented” with yourselves.  If I can do it, so can you!

Although I am happy he has decided to try veganism, I’m worried he will quickly drop it once he gets his desired results.  He said the predominant reason for starting the plant-based diet is health reasons.  Since a vegan lifestyle has little if any cholesterol, it is the prime diet for a person who has had by-pass surgery.  The only problem with this reasoning, is people get the results they want and drop veganism like a hot plate.  Thus doing no long-term good for animals, or even yourself.  Many people however, have started on a vegan diet for health reasons and were then turned on to the many ethical reasons, thus changing their view from it being a “diet” to a lifestyle.

Here’s hoping it’ll stick.  I know you can do it Bill!