So you want to be Vegan? Ok, well here’s a “starter” list!

Something a lot of my friends and family have asked for lately, and something I had a hard time finding when I started, is a “starter” list of what you need to know, or things that can help you when starting the Vegan journey! I hope you find it helpful…and if I am missing something you would find helpful, let me know – I’ll work on an answer! 🙂

Basics to have on hand:

  • Soy milk creamer: Whole Foods has a good selection.
  • Agave Nectar: BETTER THAN HONEY, but honey substitute 🙂
  • Milk: Soy milk, Almond milk and Rice milk are the best one’s. Almond is probably the best of the bunch, but I’m allergic to nuts 😦 so I usually use Soy instead. Hemp always leaves a funny taste in my mouth so I steer clear of it. Brand wise I stick with the Whole Foods brand, usually unsweetened.
  • Marshmallows: There are vegan marshmallows (thank goodness!). Whole foods carries them in the baking isle, and sometimes in the cold food isle where the tofu is (fresh marshmallow).
  • Egg Replacer: best kind is Ener-G, it is usually in the baking isle @ whole foods
  • Sour Cream & Cream Cheese: Tofutti makes a good one, so does Follow Your Heart.
  • Vegannaise: Mayo substitute that I’ve used in potato salad, and spreads for sandwiches. Good mayo substitute.
  • Butter: Earth Balance is the best. I like the Soy Garden, Original and Whipped (In that order)…They also make an awesome vegetable shortening that is Vegan. 🙂
  • Cheese: Daiya is the only kind I would recommend. I like it mostly IN things (like my nacho cheese, recipe below) and chili, etc..It melts really well and comes in the main types (mozzarella, pepper jack, cheddar). I use it sparingly on things like salads, but that’s just me 🙂

Good vegan pre made stuff…these are the things that get me through at work:

Things to be careful of and watch out for:

  • There are a lot of foods that have eggs and butter and you would never think about it. My list includes: some bread (including things like Naan), some pasta, guacamole pre made or at restaurants (has yogurt of sour cream frequently) and often “veggie” burgers (egg).
  • Just because it is “vegan” does not mean that it is HEALTHY. Sometimes, not so much….so be careful!
  • Honey and Sugar: For both of these, it depends on your view of what “vegan” is – neither sugar nor honey contain any animal products, but how they are made is what causes the “sticky” subject!
  • DON’T be afraid to ask questions about what is in food when you are at restaurants!!

Fast food:

  • Taco bell seven layer buritto, minus sour cream and cheese
  • Wally’s Subs has tofu that is fabulous on taco’s and burritos
  • Subway and Jimmy John’s veggie subs (JJ’s minus mayo/cheese – I add extra veg and guacamole)
  • Qdoba and chipotle – you can get veggie options at both

Blogs and such:

My favorite recipes:

Books and magazines:

Recipe: Vegan “Chicken” Pot Pie

Happy New Years Eve! This is my dinner for tonight – and it turned out FANTASTIC! I got the base of the recipe from Gardein’s website, but as is my way, I differed a bit. If you want the original recipe, please check it out here…if not, read on to enjoy my version. My changes are in italics 🙂

Note: Leave yourself I would say 1.5 to 2 hours to make this.

Individual serving - I added extra filo dough sheets for decoration..I like it in my pot pie 🙂


  • 1 pack Gardein Chicken Scallopini, cut into cubes
  • 6 1/2 cups of water
  • 7 t “Better than Boullion” Vegan Chicken Stock
  • 1 1/2 cup Spanish onion, sliced with food processor (fine shred)
  • 1 cup Carrots, sliced with food processor
  • 1 cup Fresh cut green beans
  • 1 1/2 cup Frozen baby peas
  • Dash of Poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 t Thyme
  • 3/4 t Sage (I used fresh chopped fine)
  • 3/4 t Kosher salt
  • 3/4 t Pepper
  • 1 T Nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 T Soy sauce (reduced sodium)
  • 3 T Canola oil
  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 3 puff pastry sheets rolled out (12×10′ – I use vegan filo dough)


  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F
  • Brown gardein scallopini in a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon canola oil. season with salt and pepper. remove from pan and set aside.
  • To make roux… melt Earth Balance in a sauté pan, add flour and whisk constantly until light brown in color. cool and set aside.
  • In a 5.5 qt. stock pot cook onions in canola oil for 5 min and add carrots, green beans, poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 5-10 min.
  • Add already boiling stock and simmer for 5 min whisk in yeast flakes.
  • Add the roux a bit at a time and continue to cook as sauce begins to thicken.
  • Stir in gardein scallopini, tamari and peas. pour mixture into a large shallow pan to cool.
  • Once mixture is cool (I did this by placing it in a bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes).
  • In a 9×12 inch pan, place two pastry sheets on the bottom, separated by a thin layer of canola oil.
  • Pour on top of the party sheets in the glass casserole dish
  • Cover mixture with the remaining puff pastry sheet (be sure to leave a small excess of pastry for folding and fluting of the edge) and seal edges.
  • Cut small slits in the top to allow breathing – I checked this every 10 minutes to make sure the sheets were not puffing up. If they do, gently stick them with a knife to get the air out.
  • Bake for 35 min or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

The full version of the "pot pie". Would be great for a family dinner!

Vegan Product Review: SKIN Lip & Eye balm

Possibly one of the greatest products I have found for my skin since going vegan: Coffee Berry Eye and Lip Balm by SKIN by Ann Webb! You use it on both your lips and your eyes, it’s a decent size (and costs about $12, you can get it online or at Whole Foods), but it does the job soo well. Heals my cracked lips, helps with dark circles under my eyes (thanks in part I am sure to the caffeine in it), and it helps soften some of the fine lines around my eyes. GO BUY SOME!!

Recipe: Vegan Nacho Cheese

I’m sure this is out on the web somewhere – but i couldn’t find it so I made my own! I desperately wanted nachos over this holiday..I mean, DESPERATELY. Problem 1: cheesy like substance that is not horribly bad for you and is still Vegan! I came as close as you can me thinks 🙂 Tell me what you think!


  • Note: this makes about a cup of cheese – multiply for large parties.
  • 1 1/2 cup soy milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/2 cup Daiya shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 T of nutritional yeast
  • 1 7 ounce can of tomato/green chiles (found in the ethnic food isle)
  • 1/8 t Paprika
  • 1/8 t Cayanne pepper
  •  1/8 t Kosher salt
  • 1/8 t Fresh black pepper (i used a couple of twists of freshly ground)


  • In a small sauce pan on medium heat, put the soy milk in the pot and start stirring.
  • When milk is starting to get warm, add half the amount of cheese and stir continuously until cheese is integrated (I like to use a whisk).
  • Once this cheese is integrated – add the remainder of cheese.
  • Once desired consistency is reached (I like it coating my spoon in a thickish layer), add in salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast and paprika.
  • Add to top of nachos
  • Add vegan sour cream, salsa, and my guacamole-mole-mole 🙂