Valentine’s Day “Love Cookies”

1/2 cup Earth Balance

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground golden flaxseed

3 tablespoons warm water

1 tsp. raspberry extract

5 drops red food coloring

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. light corn syrup

2-3 tbsp. soy or almond milk

heart-shaped candies for decorating

Whisk ground flaxseed & warm water, let sit for 3 minutes. Mix Earth Balance and sugar together. Add flaxseed mixture. Blend in extract and food coloring. Combine dry ingredients, and add until well blended. Shape into a flattened ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Roll out onto lightly floured board until approx. 1/4″ thick. Cut into heart shapes with cookie cutter. Place on parchment covered baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Cool.

Stir together confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup and milk until smooth. Dip half of a cookie into icing, then set on waxed paper and sprinkle with heart-shaped candies. Let dry about 1/2 hour. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.

Curried Pear & Parsnip Soup

Curried Pear & Parsnip Soup

Serves 4-6

Nothing warms your family on a cold day better than homemade soup! Here is a yummy soup recipe with a little kick!

1 onion chopped

1 tablespoon safflower oil

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon corriander

1 lb parsnips chopped

1 pear peeled & sliced

1 lemon squeezed

1 cup coconut milk

4 cups vegetable stock

cilantro for garnish

Cook onion in oil for about 4 minutes. Stir in parsnips, curry & corriander. Cook for 2-3 more minutes & add pear, vegetable stock & coconut milk. Bring to boil & simmer for 30 minutes. Cool & puree’ in Vitamix or food processor. Return soup to a clean pan, reheat and add lemon juice & cilantro garnish.

Vegan Kids & Bullying, Is It A problem?

Any child who is perceived as “different”, whether it be their appearance, the way they talk, the way they express themselves, what they eat, what they don’t eat.. may be at a higher risk for being bullied. We have been hearing about Gay youth in the media quite a bit lately, and the term “bullying” is being used a lot. I started thinking about Vegan kids, and wondering how common bullying is with them.

I have gathered some feedback from other parents of Vegan children, and what they had to say was a bit surprising!

Most parents feel that their children are perceived as “different”, but most school aged kids don’t seem to have much of a “problem” with their Vegan classmates. They might make comments here & there, or question them a lot, but “put downs” & “intimidating behavior” are not much of an issue.

I was happy to hear that a majority of Vegan children, for the most part, are treated fine by their peers. I know by my own experience, that my son feels completely comfortable with his Veganism at school. Truthfully, he has not had one major issue with another student.

So what is it that I find surprising?? Many Vegan children are being singled out & having their lifestyle criticized. But not by other children…. by adults!

Many parents claim that friends, family members & even teachers, have some major issues with their children consuming a plant based diet. And these grownups are not afraid to let kids know exactly how they feel!

So is it okay, that aunts, uncles, neighbors, coaches & teachers, may single out your Vegan child and tell him that Veganism is dangerous, stupid, crazy or unhealthy? What if they simply make fun of your child a little bit, or embarrass him? Or secretly offer him sausage, and promise not to tell his mom, like a woman did to my son?!?!

The answer is of course, NO. It’s not okay, for these people to interfere, put down, or embarrass our children, because they choose a healthy & compassionate lifestyle. But in this meat loving world, where we are told that kids NEED dairy to survive & be strong, it is bound to happen.

Needless to say, your children will also meet & be surrounded by many adults who will respect & support their decision to be Vegan. My son has such a wonderful group of people in his life, who give him constant praise, and brag about his Veganism. So when he is confronted by a grownup, who simply “doesn’t get it”, he stays strong & stands his ground (and yes, he turned down the sausage offer). 🙂

5 “Spooktacular” Trick or Treating Ideas For Vegan Families

The spooky, creepy, sugar induced evening is almost upon us, and children everywhere are planning for the family favorite holiday…. HALLOWEEN! The costumes have been purchased (or sewn by “supermoms”), the flashlights have been loaded with batteries, and the trick or treating routes have been planned. Families all over the country are ready…. but what about Vegan families?

I have gathered up 5 great ideas to share, and hopefully at least 1 of them will work for your little witches & vampires!

Idea # 5- Only except Vegan treats or non-food items. This was my original idea, seemed easy enough. I looked into Vegan candy options which included many hard candies, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish, Blow Pops & more. The downside is this can be time consuming at each home & stressful for the kids. So make sure you think this one out, before you make your kids promise to accept only Vegan treats.

Idea #4– Stay home & give out Vegan treats with the kids. This sounds boring, but if you live in a good trick or treating neighborhood, this can be a blast! The kids can dress up & do something fun & spooky for the neighborhood children.

Idea #3- Throw a family friendly Halloween Party instead of going out. This is a safe and FUN way to spend Halloween! Allow your guests to bring food & give them a list of Vegan treats or recipes. Bob for apples, have a costume contest, dance…. actually this sounds better than going door to door all evening!

Idea #2– Let your kids Trick or Treat their hearts out, and then trade their non-Vegan treats for Vegan treats (that you buy ahead of time). Donate the un-Vegan treats to co-workers or friends.

Idea #1- Let your kids Trick or Treat as usual & then BUY all of their non-Vegan candy from them (maybe some Vegan stuff too, since no sugar is good sugar), then let your children spend the money on a new toy! Donate the candy. How much you want to pay per candy is up to you! A mom posted this fabulous idea on “The Vegan Mom” Facebook Page a few years ago & it has worked well for my family on Halloween. My kids are excited to Trick or Treat with their pals, and can’t wait to hit Toys R Us the day after. I am just happy to not have a house full of “refined sugary garbage!!” 🙂

I wish you & your family a safe, fun & healthy Halloween!

NEW for Halloween 2014~ SO Delicious ‘Pumpkin Spice’ and ‘Candy Corn’  Coconut Ice-Cream Bars. These treats are sure to please all of your little ghosts & goblins! www.sodelicious.com

so-delicious-collage

Please Welcome Guest Blogger, My Mom “Why I Became Vegan”

“Why I became a Vegan”

According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living (Penguin, 2005) a vegan is “one who avoids causing harm or exploiting other living beings as much as humanly possible. This involves excluding all animal foods and animal-based items from their lives.”


I’m one simple person who has recently made a conscious decision to live my life with greater compassion toward all living creatures. This premise of compassion is the heart of what it means to be a vegan. When you become aware of the animal suffering going on in the world, and you become determined you will no longer contribute to it, you have already taken the first step in bringing your compassion to the next level. The following is my personal story on how I’ve arrived to this point….

My oldest daughter, Lisa, became a vegan (along with her beautiful family) a couple of years ago. She’d read the The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health (Benbella Books, 2004) and become convinced that becoming a vegan would be a much healthier, more compassionate lifestyle.

My first thought was, “I have to give up CHEESE? Oh my.” I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t become vegan overnight. I more or less inched myself along, learning along the way. First, my husband and I cut out all meat. Surprisingly, it was not a difficult transition. I could be a vegetarian, I’d thought! I invested in a couple of vegetarian cookbooks. I also discovered an informative and inspiring cooking show on PBS called, “Christina Cooks.” Christina Pirello had been diagnosed with cancer at a young age and went into total remission after she chose to follow an organic, vegan lifestyle. My path of discovery continued….

This past summer my daughter, my grandchildren, and I journeyed to upstate New York to spend the night and visit a farm sanctuary there. When I entered the car in Connecticut, I was a vegetarian. When I returned from New York, I had committed to becoming vegan.

For the past 50 years animal agriculture in the U.S. has been taken over by large corporations that dominate the marketplace for meat, dairy and eggs. Industrial farming conditions are so harsh that animals commonly succumb to injury, illness and disease and millions die before reaching the slaughterhouse every year. On today’s industrialized farms animals are denied even the most basic humane consideration. Every year in the U.S. nearly 10 billion animals are raised, marketed and slaughtered under the most unconscionably cruel conditions. I had to ask myself, “How can I continue to support this?”

Visiting a farm sanctuary proved to be a very moving experience for me. My family and I discovered first-hand that farm animals are gentle, smart and friendly, just like dogs and cats! Like us, they want to be free of pain, live in a clean place and be treated with kindness. (For more information, please visit farmsanctuary.org)

According to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, raising animals for meat generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, trucks, planes and other form of transportation combined. Going vegan is not only a compassionate choice for animals it’s a greener choice for our beautiful Earth!

As chef Christina Pirello would say… “Cows are vegetarian. They eat grass. Skip the middleman and go for grains, beans and veggies that are loaded with protein!”

I choose to be vegan because I truly believe each of us has the capacity to make the world a better place. I choose not to be overwhelmed by what I can’t do. I choose to be EMPOWERED by what I can do. I am now making an effort to make more conscious and compassionate choices.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948)

I invite you to join me.

Coconut~Chocolate Bread

I have never been much of a bread maker, but as the weather is beginning to change, I am getting the itch to bake!

I bought a wonderful book called, “My Bread” by Jim Lahey. Not all of the bread recipes are Vegan, but many are. I highly recommend buying this book because the recipes are fabulous & the photos are gorgeous!  This is the first bread I have made from his book, and “oh my goodness” it is good!

You’ll need:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of bread flour

2 cups loosely packed unsweetened large flake coconut

1 cup Vegan semi sweet chocolate chunks

3/4 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups cool water

wheat bran or additional flour for dusting

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, half the coconut, chocolate, salt and yeast. Add the water and using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is puffy and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, dust work surface with bran or flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the center of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface, generously dust it with wheat bran or flour and sprinkle it with 1/2 cup of the remaining coconut. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. Lightly sprinkle the surface with the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft free spot to rise for 1-2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/5 quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color, but not burnt, 20-25 minutes more.

7. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool.

A Family Review of “Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss” Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert


Okay, it’s official, “Coconut Bliss” family taste test night was too much fun! And insanely DELICIOUS!! 🙂

When the wonderful people at “Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss” contacted me to review their product, I was thrilled! I mean who wouldn’t be? Any excuse for something sweet, is always appreciated!

As soon as our coupons arrived, the kids and I headed to Whole Foods to choose our flavors. My daughter and I both went for the “Naked Coconut”, (Ava is 4, and she thought the title of that one was VERY funny)! My son chose “Chocolate Peanut Butter”, he is so predictable. I grabbed “Cherry Amaretto” for my husband, because before going Vegan, he was a huge fan of “Cherry Garcia” by “you know who”. We also grabbed some “Dark Chocolate Bars”.

In case you have not heard the news, coconuts seem to be the new “super food” which may reduce the risk of heart disease & even help you lose weight! This product is also Vegan, USDA certified organic, Gluten free, low glycemic & soy free. Not too many desserts can say all of that!

Okay, let the taste testing begin! We started with the bars. The kids devoured them and my husband of course wanted one too!!! My 10 year old son said they tasted just like the regular chocolate ice-cream bars he used to love. This means a lot, because some kids just don’t like the taste of many non-dairy frozen desserts, and my son is one of these kids!

My daughter simply said “this is so yummy”! I had a taste, and I must say…. she was right! My husband seemed to enjoy his also, since he devoured it so quickly!

It is unanimous, The Vegan Mom & family love the “Coconut Bliss” Dark Chocolate Bars!!


Next came the pints! I went for the Naked Coconut first, and oh my goodness, it was insanely good!!! My daughter was loving it as well!!I did enjoy my spoonfuls of Chocolate Peanut Butter & Cherry Garcia, but I have to stick with the Naked Coconut as my true favorite. My son however went pretty crazy for the Chocolate Peanut Butter, Surprise, Surprise!! 🙂 And my husband, just like I knew he would, took off with a bowl of Cherry Amaretto!

“Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss” is truly what they claim it to be, “Blissfull”. It is creamy, flavorful and totally VEGAN!! My only complaint is that my local stores don’t have it. Think Stop & Shop will listen to “The Vegan Mom” and start carrying “Coconut Bliss”?? I can only hope.

Check out their website www.coconutbliss.com, and enjoy some “Coconut Bliss” for yourself!




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!

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