Vegan Easter Basket Stuffers + Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!
Easter is one of my favorite holidays, not only because it’s central to my faith, but also because I have very fond memories of dying eggs, waking up to find Peter Cottontail hid the eggs, eating my weight in cheap milk chocolate bunnies and jellybeans, and family Easter dinners with a loaded feast of ham and spring veggies. When I made the switch to a vegan lifestyle, Easter was the hardest holiday to adjust because just about every tradition centers on animal products. However, it doesn’t have to be that way and it gets easier every year as companies catch up with the vegan lifestyles. There are now dyeable ceramic eggs, which I just ordered to try out (so excited!). You can now crown your Easter dinner table with a Tofurky Ham Roast (also trying for the first time this year!). And it’s easier than ever to fill an Easter basket to the brim with vegan goodies. Of course, the best baskets balance candy with other fun surprises to avoid a sugar overload. Here are some of my top Easter basket stuffers for vegan families:
The rest of this post contains affiliate links.
Candy & Chocolate
No Easter basket is complete without something sweet to eat. The classic Easter bunny is a great standby and there are now some great vegan options, such as the “milk chocolate” Franky the Laughing Chocolate Easter Bunny or the easy-to-find Lindt Dark Chocolate Gold Bunny If creme eggs are more your thing, make sure Peter Cottontail orders you some Cream Veggs in time for Easter morning. YumEarth’s Sour Jelly Beans are vegan friendly. And of course, most high-quality dark chocolate bars (check those labels!) are dairy and egg free.
Toys & Games
If you have young ones (or are preparing a basket for the young-at-heart), toys and games are a great way to encourage some movement after the candy coma. Spring or Easter themed toys like the Hatchimals 12-Pack Egg Carton or a Sweet Stuffed Bunny add a nice touch. Small toys in a theme your child loves – like these My Little Pony Minis – are perfect for hiding in eggs instead of candy. Wooden toys, like these neat cars from Hape, are a durable and more eco-friendly addition. Continue Reading…
Vegan Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Sauce
Slow cooker meals are a working parent’s best friend — prep in the morning and sit down to a delicious warm meal with little to no evening prep. Corned beef is simply beef brisket cured in brine and boiled. Seitan makes a great vegan beef substitute and when you add onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage, you’ve got yourself a delicious complete meal. To give it that corned beef flavor, a spiced brine is poured over the ingredients and let to simmer all day. While corned beef and cabbage is traditionally associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the US, it makes a hearty meal on any cold night. This recipe makes a full 6-quart slow cooker. You can halve the recipe for smaller families or just freeze the leftovers. Sláinte mhaith! (Irish Gaelic for “Good health!)
Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage Ingredients:
2 large onions, cut into 1″ chunks
6 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
6 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2″ pieces
10 baby potatoes, halved or quartered into 1″ chunks
16 oz seitan (2 packages), sliced into 1/4 in. slices
1 head cabbage, cored and sliced into 1-1.5″ wedges
4 c. vegetable broth
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 t. coriander
1/4 t. allspice
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper (sub in smoked black pepper if desired)
3 T. brown mustard (or 2 T. brown mustard and 1 T. horseradish mustard if you have on hand)
2 T. red wine (optional)
Horseradish Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 c. vegan mayo
2 T. prepared horseradish
1 T. water or lemon juice Continue Reading…
Saint Patrick’s Day Brunch: Vegan Irish Soda Bread Scones
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s not too late to get in the holiday spirit with these yummy Irish Soda Bread Scones. “Authentic” Irish Soda Bread contains only four ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. This scone recipe builds on that base, adding in a touch of fruit and spicing for a delicious Irish-ish breakfast. As added bonus, they’re whole grain and, of course, vegan. Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!
2.5 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. coarse salt
3/4 + 2 T. non-dairy milk, such as almond
2 t. apple cider vinegar
3 T. maple syrup
1/2 c. dried cranberries, raisins, or currants
8 t. coarse raw cane sugar (optional)
Sheet Pan Dinner: Gnocchi and Roasted Veggies
Sheet pan dinners are amazing for busy nights — just toss everything together on a baking sheet (or two, if your family eats like ours) and roast away. I never knew you could bake gnocchi in the oven and I love how they come out – slightly crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. Use whatever veggies you have on hand to clean out the fridge – sweet potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, beets, peppers, and eggplant would also be delicious. The trick to roasting mixed veggies without a mix of burnt pieces and partially raw veggies is to be mindful of size when prepping – larger pieces for fast to cook veggies like peppers and smaller ones for root vegetables that roast slower so that you end up with evenly cooked veggies. Don’t skimp on the oil – veggies and gnocchi should be evenly coated (but not dripping). Use a second baking sheet if needed – overcrowded veggies won’t crisp up properly. Bon Appétit!
1 lb. shelf-stable gnocchi (add a 2nd package for big families)
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
6 garlic cloves
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1.5″ pieces
1 pint grape tomatoes
8 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved
3-4 multi-colored carrots, cut lengthwise and into 1.5″ pieces
2 T – 1/4 c. organic extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. dried basil
Salt & pepper to taste
Super Easy Vegan Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Chocolate covered strawberries can make even a regular weeknight seem indulgent. Add a bottle of champagne and a candle and you’ve got yourself a date. The best part? They take next to no time to make and you’ve probably got the ingredients on hand.
1 lb strawberries
1 c. dairy-free chocolate bits (I like Kirkland or Guittard brands)
1 t. extra virgin olive oil Continue Reading…
Vegan Walt Disney World: When to Go
Walt Disney World may be known as the most magical place on earth but when you go can make the difference between a truly wonderful experience and the “magic” of waiting in line for hours under the blazing sun with 50,000 of your new friends. Crowds, weather patterns, special events, and even pricing vary widely throughout the year. Here are some factors to consider when planning your trip:
Approximately 20.4 million (yes, million) people visit the Magic Kingdom each year (according to TEA/AECOM estimates). However, attendance varies greatly throughout the year. Check a reliable crowd calendar, such as Touring Plans (small fee, absolutely worth it IMHO), to get an idea of crowds during your potential dates. Crowd calendars aren’t perfect but they give you a general idea of what the parks will be like.
The week between Christmas and New Years is the most crowded week of the year. In general, any time schools are out (summer months, the week before and after Easter, Thanksgiving week) have high crowds.
Historically, September/October, May, early November, and the first two weeks of December offer lower crowds coupled with decent weather and special events. Lower crowds typically mean lower wait times, more potential for discounts, and an easier time scoring Advance Dining Reservations. Especially for first timers, it’s worth waiting for a less-crowded time of year.
Orlando weather varies more than you might think — from daily highs in the uppers 90s in June to lows than can dip below freezing in the winter months. We took our first January trip last month. While fun, the below freezing temps each night didn’t give as much of a reprieve from New England winter as we would have hoped and we saw many shivering guests walking around in newly purchased Mickey hoodies. However, the colder weather is tempered with lower crowds and a lack of precipitation.
If swimming in the pool or hitting the water parks is an essential part of your vacation, a winter trip is probably not for you.
We’ve found May and November to be especially lovely weather wise – warm, not hot days, and not-too-cool nights. We’re also a fan of Sept/Oct — the heat is starting to ebb (and we tolerate heat well) and crowds are typically lower than the summer months.
Special Events Continue Reading…
Vegan Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Whipped Cream
Spring is here! Okay, no it’s not, but the warmer weather earlier this week in the Northeast was much appreciated. However, Spring produce is starting to trickle up from the warmer regions of the country. While we try to incorporate local foods in our diets as much as possible, sometimes some juicy berries in February are just the ticket to stave off the never-ending-winter blues.
I’m a bit of a shortcake snob — a buttery, crumbly, warm-from-the-oven biscuit is the only way to go. Pound cake or white cake cut into squares does not a shortcake make.
1 Qt strawberries, sliced
1 T sugar
2 c white whole wheat flour
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3 t baking powder
1 T arrowroot powder
1/8 t salt
1/2 c Earth Balance vegan butter stick, firm & cold
2/3 c + 1 T unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as almond
Vegan Walt Disney World: Top Resources for Planning Your Vacation
Going to the most magical place on Earth but worried about finding good vegan food? Worry no more! Walt Disney World is actually one of the best vacation destination for people with dietary restrictions. Cast members (Disney-speak for employees) are generally well educated and helpful in finding you a meal that meets your needs. However, any Disney vacation requires quite a bit of planning to be successful and if you follow a vegan diet, that planning can mean the difference between a week of meal after meal of veggie-burger-no-bun or a varied and delicious experience from tofu bowls to curries to sushi to vegan ice cream treats. Some restaurants are better than others and a bit of planning can make sure you are in the right place at the right time throughout your trip.
Later in this series, I’ll go over ideas on when to go, where to stay, what to pack, and where to eat. For now, let’s start with some good resources to use in planning your Disney adventure.
Official Disney World Website – Obvious, yes, but the Disney website will be your friend when making Advance Dining Reservations, reserving Fast Pass +, and for general planning
Touring Plans – Touring plans has a useful blog as well as their namesake touring plans to save you time in the parks. Their crowd calendar is extremely handy for planning when to visit. Some features are for subscribers but the fee is well worth it (around $15 for a year).
Oh Shiitake Mushrooms, TODAY is Valentine’s Day?
This post contains affiliate links.
Despite the annual recurrence of Valentine’s Day, many otherwise fine folks find themselves surprised every February 14th and desperately trying to find a gift on the way home from work that doesn’t look like it was picked up on the way home from work. If this is you, skip the grocery store chocolates and flowers (or get them too!) and read on for a more thoughtful gift that you can still give them right now. Then bookmark this list for the next time you forget a gift-giving holiday 😉
The first issue typically takes 4-6 weeks to come but you can print the confirmation off and include it your card (you did get a card, right?). A specialty magazine in something the recipient likes – yay, vegan cooking! – shows you put some thought into your gift.
Audible Subscription or Audio Book
To be honest, I just don’t “get” audiobooks. I process information much better written than spoken so audiobooks feel like too much work for me. However, many people love them (hello, hubby!) and you can personalize with an author or topic your recipient likes. Continue Reading…
Vegan Chocolate Bundt Cake
Bundt cakes should be in every baker’s secret arsenal. Bundt cakes look elegant and like you spent hours in the kitchen while in reality, your pretty pan did most of the work. Shhh – It will be our little secret! No frosting is needed for most bundt cakes, including this chocolate beauty. You can add a glaze if desired but the cakes are sweet and pretty enough to stand on their own. Right before serving, garnish with a sprinkling of sprinkles, powdered sugar, or edible flowers.
2.5 c. all-purpose flour
1.75 c. sugar
1 c. cocoa powder
1 T. black cocoa powder (optional)
1 t. espresso powder
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. unsweetened almond milk
2/3 c. EVOO or avocado oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T. vanilla extract
Recipe: Continue Reading…