The “Vegan Mom’s” Review of “Great Wolf Lodge” Resort & WaterPark

Back in the summer of 2005, my family stumbled upon a brand new resort in Williamsburg Virginia, called “The Great Wolf Lodge”. As we walked through the spacious lobby, mesmerized by the realistic wolves that surrounded us, we had no idea what we would encounter as the 4 of us made our way to the back of the hotel. When we came to a large window, which looked over a humungous indoor water park, I think all of our jaws dropped open. It’s a pretty amazing site for a first timer. The kids went wild, and needless to say, we cancelled our reservation at some “other” hotel, and quickly booked a “Wolf Den” room at The Great Wolf Lodge. We had a blast that week, and immediately began a new family, summer tradition!


Fast forward to the Summer of 2010, and our 5th stay at The Great Wolf Lodge (we skipped 2006 after our daughter was born). We are are still loving our waterpark resort…. but things are a little more tricky now! This is our 2nd year as a “Vegan Family” and Great Wolf Lodge is not exactly known for their “Veganism”.

The resort offers one sit down restaurant, and a couple counter service restaurants. Believe it or not, the food service by the pool was the most “Vegan Friendly”!! The menu offered veggie summer rolls, filled with fresh raw veggies, wrapped in rice paper. VERY YUMMY & highly recommended! They also served a wonderful fruit salad and they “specially” made the kids lettuce & tomato sandwiches. A pretty nice lunch, I must say!


The kids were also able to buy rainbow ice “Dippin Dots” from a machine. I was thankful for this, because there is not any sorbet in the ice-cream counter.

The main restaurant serves a Buffet every night, and lets just say that it is not a Vegan’s dream dinner!!! Lots of meat & egg noodles!! They do however have a salad bar and baked potato station. We informed the chefs about our “dietary restrictions”, I hate referring to our Vegan diet as restrictive, but when talking to people in the food service industry, that is how they view it. Thankfully, the chefs were absolutely wonderful, and they prepared us a delicious family style plate of sauteed veggies. We were very appreciative of their hospitality!


Outside of the waterpark is a small shop which sells ice-cream, fudge, coffee, candy, cereals, fruit and such. They do offer soy milk and Vegan popcorn. And each morning we would enjoy cereal & bananas for breakfast.

There is a  partially Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant in Williamsburg called “Food For Thought” and I would highly recommend dining there. They make a Vegan version of Pad Thai that is amazing!!

Over all, The Great Wolf Lodge is an amazing family vacation destination!! My children love it, and over the years we have made countless wonderful memories there! This is not a true “Vegan Friendly” resort, and you will have to think outside of the box when staying there. Thankfully, the rooms include a fridge, so stock it up if possible!

I won’t lie, I LOVE GWL, and we will continue to visit each summer, but I REALLY WISH that they would offer more options to their Vegan guests. They are considered a “Green” resort, which is very impressive! But what is more “Green” than “Veganism”??



“Organic Tempeh & Garden Veggie Pasta”

I am especially proud to share this recipe with you, because it is my own. I am also excited to say that most of the ingredients, came from my very own garden. This might not seem like a big deal to some…. but to me, it is HUGE! This is the first year that I have ever had a vegetable garden, and I jump up and down for joy each time I find a new ripened veggie.

Please give this delicious, super easy and very healthy recipe a try!

Ingredients:

1 bag organic fusilli pasta

1 package organic Tempeh crumbled

1 med. green pepper chopped

1 med. red pepper chopped

1. large white onion chopped

1 bulb garlic, each clove thinly sliced

2 med. tomatoes chopped

1 cup fresh green beans trimmed

handful of both, fresh basil & fresh cilantro chopped

About 6 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil.

Boil water for pasta & cook aldente. While pasta is being prepared, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil to large saute’ pan over med. heat. When oil is warm add  crumbled Tempeh to pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and onion, cook for another minute. Add peppers, green beans & herbs. Cook for another few minutes, stirring everything often.

Drain water from pasta and return pasta to the pot. Add the Tempeh, veggie/herb mixture & the rest of the oil. Mix well. Stir in some extra olive oil if needed.

Sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan if desired.

Enjoy!

Top 15 Vegan Family Road Trip “Cooler Essentials”

Well, we are officially into summer, and that means family road trip time for many of us! Summer Road Trips are a memorable part of childhood, and even with all of the dirty restroom stops, fighting in the backseat and hearing “are we there yet” 567 times…. I would not miss our annual automobile voyage for the world!

Most families stop at fast food restaurants a few times a day, while on long car trips. But unless your kids LOVE a McDonald’s ice-burg garden salad, there is not much for Vegan kids to eat. I recommend packing a large cooler, filled with tasty & healthy food that your family will enjoy.

Keep in mind that kids get hungry when they are bored….. or at least they think they are hungry! So pack a lot, you don’t want to run out of food when kids are involved & you are in an enclosed space! 😉

Here are my TOP 15 Cooler Essentials~

1. Some type of non-dairy milk. Rice, Soy, Almond, Hemp, whatever you like. It will come in handy for cereal, coffee, tea… etc.

2. A few “healthy” Vegan cereals. Kids & grown-ups enjoy a nice bowl of cereal at any time of day.

3. At least 1 loaf of Wheat/Whole Grain bread. You can eat it plain or create a sandwich.

4. Nut Butter (unless allergies)

5. Fruit spread

6. Mock deli meat (my kids love Tofurky)

7. Lots of fruit!! Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, etc…. make sure it’s washed & ready to eat!

8. Veggie Sticks. Take the extra time and prepare lots of variety. Slice carrots, celery, sweet peppers, broccoli & cauliflower! They can dunk them in the nut butter, or bring some vegan dip.

9. Healthy crackers!

10. Soy yogurt (or applesauce, if they are not yogurt fans)

11. Whole Grain Taco Shells. Seriously! Kids love them, and they can fill them with beans, veggies, or eat them plain.

12. Container filled with black beans or garbanzo beans. Sooo healthy!!

13. Nuts! Peanuts, almonds, cashews….. (unless allergies)

14. Drinks!! No soda for this family, so I recommend lots of water!! Juice boxes are good too!

15. Last but not least, something SWEET! Vegan cookies, a little candy, popcorn…. you get the idea. Your kids deserve a little reward for sitting in the car for so long!

Don’t forget to stock up on paper goods, forks, knives, spoons, paper towels, etc….. eco friendly ones, of course!

A Month of Popsicle Recipes – KitchenDaily

A Month of Popsicle Recipes – KitchenDaily.

Okay moms, this is a list of popsicle recipes that you will want to print out and stick on the fridge!!! I bought my silicone popsicle molds on amazon.com.

Just be sure to use non-dairy milk & yogurt as a substitute!!

ENJOY!!

“Crazy, Unbelievably YUMMY”, Vegan Rice Krispy Treats!!!

My kids were at a fun summer party at a friends house yesterday, and they were serving Rice Krispy treats. I was not there, but my niece, son, & daughter, all turned down this delicious dessert. I was so proud of them for staying strong, while on their own! So I decided to run out and buy the ingredients for Vegan Rice Krispy Treats. Unfortunately, our local grocery store did not have Vegan marshmallows, so I had to  find another way to create our treats. This recipe makes the yummiest Rice Krispy Treats EVER, and they only took minutes to prepare!!!!! I’m not going to lie and say these treats are healthy or low in sugar! But they are a “treat”, so as long as you are not making these for your kids every day, this “Vegan Mom” says….. ENJOY!!!

Ingredients:

1 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon soy margarine

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups Rice Krispys

Heat syrup in saucepan over medium heat & add sugar. Stir continuously for a few minutes, when it boils, add margarine, then add vanilla, still stirring.  Pour Rice Krispys into a large bowl, and then slowly pour liquid over them.  Stir until all ingredients are completely mixed.

Form a rectangle on wax paper about an inch thick.

Allow Rice Krispys to cool and harden for about an hour, then cut into squares.

~Recipe~ Raw Zucchini Hummus

If you are like me, you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden. Here is a little something different to do with it!

Raw Zucchini Hummus from Veg News Magazine-10th Anniversary IssueMakes 3 Cups

2 zucchini, finely chopped & ends removed

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup raw tahini

1/4 cup olive oil

paprika for garnish

In a food processor, combine zucchini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and tahini and blend, stopping periodically to scrape the sides of bowl. Drizzle in olive oil as needed and garnish with paprika.

Inspirational Visit To “Farm Sanctuary”

Every once and a while, you find yourself somewhere, that changes you for the better, and inspires you to do more. This is exactly what happened to us, during our visit to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY.

We made the 6 hour journey, with 3 kids fighting in the backseat and only 2 quick rest stops. Needless to say, all 5 of us (my mom included) were super anxious to get to the farm!! We had been planning this trip since last summer, and our excitement was rising!

We were hoping to make it there before 3pm, which is when they give the last tour of the day. Thankfully we made great time, and arrived shortly after 2:00. We parked the car and entered “The People Barn” to check in. We then went to check out our cabin. TOO CUTE!! There were 3 little red cabins, side by side, just steps away from the main building. The best part of all was the view. All you could see was beautiful open farm land, with barns and of course animals!

We then took the farm tour, which was included in our B&B stay. A sweet and knowledgeable young woman named Renee, was our guide. We visited with the cows, goats, turkeys, ducks, chickens and PIGGIES!! All of the animals were relaxed, content, and many were affectionate! It was easy to see that these creatures were appreciative of the love and respect they are given. Most have come from abusive situations, so they realize how wonderful their new lives truly are. This experience makes you understand that animals are really no different than us. They want affection, they require humane treatment and they deserve respect. They feel pain, fear & love. In my mind, anyone who hurts an animal, is no different from someone who hurts a human being.

I encourage any person who has a love for animals, to visit Farm Sanctuary. Whether you are a Vegan, or a meat eater, this is a place you will feel inspired & empowered. I especially encourage Vegans, who have a non-Vegan spouse, friends or family members, to take a trip here together. You may be surprised what happens…… My mother came as a Vegetarian (she loves her cheese) and left as a Vegan. (She learned how her love of cheese was fueling the veal industry)

I entered Farm Sanctuary as a Vegan, but I left with a new sense of “being”. I was enlightened, empowered and educated. How many family trips offer you that?

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Please check out  www.farmsanctuary.org for information, ideas, updates, and ways you can help rescued farm animals.

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