My experience with using VeganEgg

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I saw VeganEgg at the grocery store a few weeks ago and was SO curious about it, so I picked one up. I thought it was funny how it came in an egg box considering there probably aren’t egg-shaped balls inside — or maybe there were? I had to know.

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Inside is actually a plastic bag with this yellow powder. I guess they wanted the box to be egg-shaped to help people associate it more closely with real eggs?

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The powder is composed mainly of something called Algal:

“Algal” simply means an ingredient is derived from algae. Whole algal flour and algal protein are plant-based ingredients, produced from native microalgae originally found in the Netherlands. This algal flour and protein naturally contain high levels of healthy lipids, carbohydrates, and micronutrients. These nutrient-dense microalgae also contain all essential amino acids and are a great source of dietary fiber.

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2 tablespoons of the VeganEgg powder + 1/2 cup of water is the equivalent of 1 egg.

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It actually smells like eggs, but with a much stronger egg smell. When I was baking with it, the batter smelled really egg-y and I was worried that the final baked product would still have the egg smell, but it actually went away.

I made pancakes, which turned out well, and I also made mini muffins, which did not cook all the way.

The muffin recipe called for 2 eggs, which meant 1 cup of water + 4 tablespoons of VeganEgg. The volume of liquid in 2 eggs is WAY LESS than 1 cup, so the batter was too liquidy and the muffins never cooked all the way through.

I learned afterward in a forum that you have to actually REDUCE the amount of water if you’re subbing for more than 1 egg.

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I also tried making scrambled eggs as suggested on the box. They didn’t really have a flavor but the texture was quite rubbery. I don’t know if I would eat it again by itself, although it seems like other people have had positive experiences.

Overall I think VeganEgg is a really neat invention and I’m going to continue experimenting with using it in baked goods now that I know what I was doing wrong.

Clean & cool summer snacks

Project Meal Prep | Clean, cool, vegan summer snacks
Photo by robbplusjessie

I’m still in Toronto and there’s been a heat wave warning for this week. Today and tomorrow, we’ll reach a high of 34 C / 93.2 F!

I’ve been seeking relief by staying in my sister’s basement and working from air conditioned coffee shops. However, my boyfriend’s car’s A/C is broken, so sitting in traffic is the worst. The fan and the A/C can’t work at the same time, so you have to turn the A/C on for a few seconds, then switch to the fan so cold air blows out. Then after 3 seconds, there’s no more cold air so you have to start over again.

Anyway…!

If you’re doing a lot of backyard grilling and going to summer BBQs, you might be looking for something a little more interesting, healthy but still vegan to eat. I feel like people usually do grilled veggies (which can get boring), chips & salsa (not so waist-friendly) and non-vegan ice cream (none for me).

Here are some super easy, fruit and veggie-based summer party snacks to mix it up. Each thing takes like 2 seconds of effort to make, which is nice because it’s too hot to deal with anything complicated.

Watermelon slushie

This drink is so refreshing and full of watermelon-y goodness.

  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • maple syrup to taste (optional)
  1. Cut the watermelon into chunks and freeze for 8 hours or overnight
  2. Put the chunks into a blender with as much maple syrup as you like, and blend until smooth
  3. Pour into glasses and drink through a straw

Mango dip

This is a sweet, refreshing, low-carb alternative to the usual chips and guac or chips and salsa.

  • 3 ripe Manila mangos
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  1. Slice each mango into thirds, with the middle section being the seed.
  2. Cut a grid onto the outer thirds, then flip inside out and slice off the cubes that stick out.
  3. Put the mango cubes into a food processor and blend until smooth
  4. Pull the leaves off the Romaine and dip into the pureed mango

Grilled peaches

Millions of peaches, peaches for me!

  • peaches
  • a couple dashes of cinnamon (optional)
  1. Run a knife through the middle of each peach, going around the pit
  2. Pull each half apart and remove the pit
  3. Grill until slightly charred
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon

Grilled pineapple

You could also do this over a fire when camping!

  • 1 pineapple
  • lime juice, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  1. Slice off the outside of the pineapple, then cut into 8 long wedges
  2. Remove the core from each wedge
  3. Grill until slightly charred
  4. Add a little lime juice, salt, and cayenne on each wedge

Coconut water popsicles

These are full of electrolytes and natural sweetness, unlike many store-bought popsicles that are filled with high-fructose corn syrup (!!). Since the frozen coconut water is clear, you can see all the pretty fruits, too.

  • 1 can or bottle of pure coconut water
  • assorted frozen or fresh fruits, such as kiwi, strawberries, mango, pineapple, and blueberries.
  1. Chop the frozen fruit into pieces that will fit into a popsicle mold
  2. Fill the molds with as much fruit as you like. You might have to press some of the fruit onto the sides of the mold so they don’t all clump together at the bottom.
  3. Fill the remaining empty space in the molds with coconut water
  4. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight

Vegan in LA & Disneyland

LA Roadtrip

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I drove to LA to see Louis CK perform. The show was on Sunday, so we decided to go to Disneyland on the Saturday.

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Roadtrip - popcorn in the car

For the trip there, I packed a bunch of food since we were going to be in the car for about 7 hours and didn’t want to stop to eat dinner. We packed a bunch of wraps with Tofurkey, lettuce, tomato, and Just Mayo, as well as apples, bananas, bars, and popcorn. It was more than enough food!

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I did a little bit of research about vegan food in Disneyland, and I read that there were a lot of options. Wherever we went, I just asked if something could be made vegan, and I found that the staff were very accommodating.

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For breakfast (not pictured), the place we went to just had pancakes and and hash browns. The pancakes were pretty flavorless, so I put jam on top since the syrup they had contained corn syrup.

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For lunch I had a veggie burger. The bun wasn’t vegan but they offered to swap it with lettuce instead. It was really tasty but I was actually hungry just an hour later.

Disneyland Redd Rockett's Pizza Port - Forest of Endor pasta

So I shared the Forest of Endor (without cheese) from Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port with my boyfriend. It was actually really tasty.

Disneyland vegan burger

After almost 11 hours of being in the park, we finally had dinner, and I had burger yet again — it was the Vegan Burger from Carnation Cafe. I got fries instead of fruit, which is not the healthy option obviously, but I was hungry!

Disneyland - Minute Maid Soft Frozen Lemonade

Vegan desserts they have are frozen lemonade and this non-dairy soft serve ice cream thing called Dole Whip. If you’re curious what’s in it, here are the ingredients.

Overall this was not a day of healthy eating, but I felt fine, probably from walking and standing for 13 hours. Beggars can’t be choosers, but I did wish I could have eaten something in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head.

Btw, I was worried they would confiscate outside food, but they didn’t, so you can totally bring your own snacks!

Cafe Gratitude - I Am Nourished

The next day, we went to our AirBnB in Venice Beach, and for brunch we went to Cafe Gratitude. Each item on the menu is named with an adjective, like drip coffee is “Courageous” and when you order, you say what you want by saying “I am…” and then the dish name, eg. “I am courageous”.

The dish above had tempeh, gluten-free french toast, kale, and coconut bacon. It was so good.

Cafe Gratitude - I Am Trusting

My boyfriend ordered the BBQ tempeh scramble (“Trusting”), which came with gluten-free toast and avocado. We shared both dishes.

Cafe Gratitude

For dinner, we went to a restaurant called Tocaya Organica. It’s a vegan-first restaurant, that has non-vegan options as secondary items you can add to your meal.

Tocaya Organica - Plantain chips with guacamole

To start, we had plantain chips (I think they were baked) with guac and pomegranate seeds. I don’t know what they put in the guac but it was like the holy grail of guacs.

Tocaya Organica - Horchata

Tocaya Organica - FAJITA DEL REY

I had horchata and a fajita bowl with soy chorizo, salsa, rice, guac, peppers and onions, some kind of sauce, black beans, and non-dairy cheese. It was delicious but a little too salty.

I highly recommend these two restaurants if you’re ever in LA!

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Where are you going this summer?

Father’s Day vegan food roundup

FATHER'S DAY VEGAN FOOD ROU
Modified photo by Peter Baker on Flickr

Father’s Day is approaching! I’ve rounded up some recipes for if you’re planning to celebrate, or just wanna do something nice for him that isn’t, say, buying yet another necktie that he doesn’t really want.

I think cooking for someone is one of the most generous things you can do, so whether or not your dad is a vegan, these are some vegan dishes he’ll enjoy.

‘Filet’ with Caramelized Onion Gravy (Ms. Vegan)

No need to go to a steakhouse when you could make a faux filet mignon at home. This dish looks like steak, but it’s made with Gardein Beefless tips (which are delicious BTW).

Australian Meat Pie (Ms. Vegan)

I had no idea that “meat pie” was an Australian dish, but apparently it’s considered “iconic” in both Australia and New Zealand. I made these a few months ago and they are SO hearty, warm and filling. Kinda feels like getting a hug from the inside, but not in a creepy way 🙂

Pasta carbonara with shiitake bacon (Chef Chloe) 

This recipe is from Chef Chloe, who won Cupcake Wars a few years ago with a vegan cupcake. She now has a super popular vegan restaurant in NYC which I am dying to visit. Anyway, she came up with this amazing dish which she went on the TODAY show to make, and I also saw it in a magazine a few months ago, so it must be a crowd-pleaser! “Carbonara” is a name for an Italian pasta dish containing egg, cheese/cream, and bacon/ham.

Meatball sliders (Chef Chloe)

Another recipe from Chef Chloe. This is what she says about them:

I made these once for a pack of far-from-vegan guy friends and they scarfed them down. They were shocked to learn that they were vegetarian, let alone vegan!

I’m sold!

Cauliflower wings (Conveniently Vegan)

Wings — a classic pub favorite. My fellow blogger friend Meredith came up with a way to vegan-ize them AND make them healthy. If your dad enjoys wings, then it’s a win-win-win… is that the correct number of wins?

Vegan Guinness chocolate cake (Wallflower Kitchen)

Did you know that some types of Guinness beers aren’t vegan? There’s a part of the filtration process that involves using fish bladder, and there are trace amounts of it in the final product. The company is reportedly in the process of removing that step, making the beer vegan.

Anyway, this chocolate cake recipe looks delicious, and I personally don’t know many men who don’t like beer, so if you’re able to find a vegan lager, why not make it for the dad in your life?

Chocolate Chip Cookies (The Vegan Zombie)

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies, especially when they’re freshly warm out of the oven!

I hope you have an awesome Father’s Day!

A vegan and an omnivore sitting in a tree

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My boyfriend has quite a different diet from me — he loves eating meat, cooks infrequently, and there are days when he doesn’t eat a fruit or a vegetable (which horrifies me a little). We’ve been dating for 1.5 years now, and our diets have never been an issue in our relationship, so thankfully I don’t have to marry a carrot 🙂 Here’s how we keep the peace, and also what I do to sneakily make him eat less animal products.

Respect

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We respect each other’s dietary choices. If, as a vegan, you wouldn’t want someone pressuring you into eating animal products, give the other person the same courtesy and don’t guilt them about eating meat. No one likes to be told what to do.

Also, unless you want to keep having the same argument for the rest of your life, accept that the other person may never change their diet entirely in your favor.

Having respect for one another’s choices is the most important, because it guides everything you do and say around this issue.

Eating out

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When we go out to eat, we choose restaurants that have food we both like. Since most restaurants don’t have many plant-based options (depending on where you live), it’s going to be a test of patience for the omnivore to find a place where the vegan/vegetarian can eat.

I’ve gone out to dinner with some omnivores that are impatient about hopping from restaurant to restaurant to look at options on the menu. It ruins the dining out experience for everyone, because the omnivore is annoyed, and the vegan/vegetarian feels guilty and is stuck eating a meal they don’t like. To save time, do your research in advance before going out.

Additionally, my boyfriend is also totally happy with letting me drag him to vegan restaurants once in a while.

Trickery, muahahaha

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Ok, I’m not actually tricking my boyfriend. I’m just taking advantage of his weaknesses, which are convenience and delicious food 🙂 But how?

Make extra food

If I’m making a smoothie for myself, for example, I’ll make one for him. I’ll also always have a lot of bananas around, because he eats them frequently. I’ll also cut up fruits and veggies for snacking on, so it’s as convenient to eat a healthy snack as it is to open a bag of chips.

Make vegan versions of dishes he likes

Usually I’ll make meals for the both of us, and I try to make vegan versions of stuff I know he likes, like chili, pasta, and burgers. We’re fortunate that I like to cook and also that he isn’t a picky eater, which makes it easier on both ends. He still buys his own food sometimes if he wants to eat meat, but given the option of going to the grocery store, etc. vs eating what’s already being cooked, it’s just easier to choose the latter.

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Stock the pantry and freezer with vegan products

It’s pretty easy to swap out (for example) regular mayo for vegan mayo, cream for soy creamer, regular cookies for vegan cookies. I also know he likes eating prepared foods that are fast to make, like mac and cheese and burritos, so I’ll get vegan versions of them and leave them around.

Tell me, have you ever dated someone with a completely different diet than you? How did it go?

Adventures in trying to be vegan in Barcelona: part 2

I’m back home now, and the remaining part of my trip wasn’t too successful in terms of finding more vegan food.

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I did go to another entirely vegetarian/vegan restaurant called Quinoa Bar Vegetaria. It was a tiny place but the food was insanely delicious. I had a vegan quiche with tomato and basil. I think the base of it was tofu, and it tasted like a margherita pizza in quiche form, but better.

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I also ordered a green smoothie, and it tasted extra good because I’d been deprived of greens the previous couple of days. I wish this place wasn’t so far out of the way from where I was staying, I would have gone there every single day.

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Chomping on the fruit I bought from the market earlier in the week

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I went on a tour of the Bacardi distillery in Sitges (the town I was staying in), and in addition to learning how rum is made, we were also shown how to make a Bacardi-style mojito. It was pretty fun, and mojitos are also vegan, which is why I thought I’d mention it.

Adventures in trying to be vegan in Barcelona

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Casa Batlló, a house in Barcelona designed by the famous architect, Gaudi

Hello from Barcelona / a town close to it!

Firstly, I apologize for the quality of some of these photos. Don’t laugh (ok you can laugh): I brought a high-quality digital camera with me on this trip, but I’ve been so afraid of getting pickpocketed that I haven’t been bringing it out. It’s been a couple of days and I still have all my belongings, so I feel safe enough to start using it from now on.

I haven’t been eating completely vegan on this trip since it’s been incredibly difficult, especially when I’m out with other people or not in the city. I do, however, want to share with you what I have been eating that is dairy and egg-free.

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The first place I went to was a teeny tiny but really popular tapas place called Quimet y Quimet.

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It’s like the size of a walk-in closet. You had to eat standing up, and the walls were covered floor-to-ceiling with alcohol.

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They had a delicious antipasti mixed vegetable plate with leeks, artichokes, peppers, olives, and mushrooms topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I don’t think there was anything else vegan on the menu — just a lot of cheese and meat.

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I ordered this vegetable paella in hopes that it was vegan, but I actually have no idea what’s in the sauce aside from tomatoes. A man was staring at me curiously as I was eating it, and I have no idea why. I ordered it around 4pm and ate it from the pan with a spoon, so maybe you’re not supposed to do one or all of those things.

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Whenever I pass by a McDonald’s in a different country, I have to go inside. Even though I almost never eat there, I’m super curious to see what twist on the menu each country has. In Barcelona, they have mostly the same items as in North America, but with a wider variety of pastries (including macarons), AND you can get gazpacho (cold tomato soup) in a bottle, shredded carrots, and cherry tomatoes.

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Now, onto my favorite part of this trip so far. For the last few meals, most of what I’d been eating was rice, bread, churros (they’re vegan by the way) and potatoes, and I was feeling pretty crappy about not having much protein or fresh produce, so I was ecstatic when I went into this vegetarian restaurant called Teresa Carles.

I wanted everything on the menu, but I ended up getting this AMAZING vegan ceviche which was also raw and gluten-free! According to the men, it has: young coconut, mushroom, hiziki seaweed, avocado, red pepper, and red onion over a base of coconut water and spirulina. I’ve never had a sauce with spirulina in it, so I thought that was pretty creative! The mushroom and young coconut gave the dish a lot of “meaty” texture.

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Fruits on fruits on fruits!

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Cute but probably doesn’t taste great

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My other favorite part of this trip was coming across this giant food market called Mercado de La Boqueria. There were so many vendors selling smoothies and endless varieties of fruit and pre-cut fruit. There was like every kind of tropical fruit it seemed — tamarind, guava, passionfruit, dragonfruit, rambutan, lychee, mangosteen, and more! There were other vendors selling infinite varieties of dried fruits, candied fruits, nuts, dried hot peppers, oils, etc. I wish I had been eating fruit from there the whole time and wanted to take home so much more than I did, but I also didn’t wanna carry around too much stuff while doing touristy things.