Veggie on a Budget

By: Caitlin L.

It seems that we are entering yet another year in a dismal economy. I don’t mean to be the Debbie Downer of the bunch but we cannot ignore the truth. This can only mean that we have to pinch pennies and clip coupons in all aspects of everyday life- including food. Being a vegetarian on a budget is easier than you think, you just have to think outside the box. Here are some tips on how to save on your next trip to the grocery store.

Don’t be afraid of the can. I admit, I’m guilty as charged. Canned fruits and veggies don’t seem very tempting when you see an array of fresh produce as soon as you enter the supermarket, but they are so much cheaper and oftentimes just as tasty. Canned products are the perfect way to save loot when cooking up some of your favorite recipes. With winter in full force, chili is the perfect dish to cook up for a hearty dinner. This recipe is cheap, easy, and above all else, tasty.

1 Large Can of Diced Tomatoes

2 Cans of Red Chili Beans

4 Tablespoons of Chili Powder

2 Teaspoons of Cumin

1 Teaspoon Ground Red Pepper

Mix in a large pot and bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it stay at that heat for at least a half hour.

Make a list. I what you’re thinking…duh! But here’s the thing, it actually works. Pre-planning meals for the week not only eliminates the head scratching when thinking about what to eat everyday, but it will also ensure that you don’t buy a boatload of food that you won’t eat. So before you head out to buy your eats for the week, see what you’ve got in your cupboards. You may have more than you think.

Buy a cookbook and get your chef on. Having a good vegetarian cookbook will allow to make substantial and satisfying meals that you may not have thought of on your own. Say goodbye to the t.v. dinner and say hello to meals that you will want to eat over and over again. Try “1,001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes” by Linda Yaokam. After purchasing this cookbook, the words, “I can’t find anything to eat,” will leave your vocabulary. For something a little bit more basic, give “Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet” by Nava Atlas a shot. These recipes are perfect for quick weekday meals. Try making some of the meals from these books in advance and freeze them. That way if you’re in a rush or aren’t in the mood to cook, you won’t fall victim to greasy takeout.

So there you have it, a few simple ways to change the way that you eat and shop. Now what will you do with all your extra cash?

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The Brown Bag Blues

By: Caitlin L.

It’s 10:00 at night. You have to be at work at 9:00 tomorrow morning. Having to figure out  the next day’s lunch is the last think you want to worry about so you you bag up some veggies, maybe some hummus, a few wheat crackers and you throw it in the fridge. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Well do not fear, I am here to get you out of your lunch rut. Never again will you be craving a costly lunch out after you try some of these fabulous and easy meal ideas.

For those that have taste for the spicier foods life has to offer, this lettuce wrap is for you. In a bowl, combine a can of drained chickpeas, a large tomato, an avocado, 2 tbs of diced chives, 1/4 of chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp of salt, 3/4 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tbs of tabasco, and half a lemon- squeezed. Blend all the ingredients well. Once everything is blended, you can toss the mixture in 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Portion onto lettuce leaves and you have a wrap filled with flavor.

Once you’ve conquered the wrap, perhaps you prefer to get a little bit more complex with your preparation. To satisfy your Asian palate, we have a tofu stir fry.

12 oz (350 g) firm or extra firm tofu, cubed 1/2-3/4 inch thick
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Teriyaki Sauce
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 1/2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp oil
4 1/2-5 cups broccoli (florets and stalks), chopped (about 1/2 lb/225 g)
2 tsp water
1 medium large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup green onions, sliced

In a shallow dish, add tofu. Pour soy sauce and vinegar over tofu and marinate for 10 minutes or longer (flip tofu at least once while marinating). Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk all ingredients for teriyaki sauce until cornstarch is dissolved (or put it in a blender to puree).

In a large frying pan or wok on high, heat 1/2 tbsp oil. Add tofu and saute for 4-5 minutes, then turn over to saute for another 3-4 minutes, utnil lightly brown on each side. Remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add another 1/2 tbsp oil to wok, and add broccoli and water. Toss, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, until broccoli turns bright green, then add bell peppers and saute uncovered for another 1-2 minutes. Add teriyaki sauce and increase heat to high. Toss to coat, and let sauce come to a slow boil. As soon as sauce has reached a slow boil and has thickened, add tofu, cashews and green onions, and toss to combine.

Pop that sucker in a tupperware container and stick it in the fridge. When you bring it to work the next day, don’t be surprised to see that you have a few more friends at the office than usual.

So happy eating and never let your brown bag get boring again!

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It’s Finally Acceptable to be a LUSH

Everyday, we hear the awful things that animals endure just to test our beauty products. There are few companies that claim to be entirely vegan and even fewer that actually are. Recently on a trip to Boston, I noticed a store called Lush packed with beauty products that claimed to be just that- vegan to the core. I figured this deserved some investigation.

At first glance, everything seemed to be concurrent with what they were saying. On each label was the message “FRESH HANDMADE COSMETICS,” next to which it said “Vegan.” So far so good.  As I got home and hopped on my laptop, I decided to check this company out further. Officially started in 1995, Lush sought out to use only organic and fresh products that had no effect on animals. They started their first store in London and continued to grow into a global company with stores in over 40 countries. As their company grew and they began to have a serious voice, they realized that it was time that they started taking a stand against animal cruelty. Lush actively supports the saving of the sharks and seals, as well as a nuclear free world. In addition to doing their part vocally, they also do their part physically. To package their products, they only use recycled materials and give you the option to forgo packaging all together if possible. They also monitor with other companies where they receive their materials to ensure that all aspects of their business are as environmentally friendly as possible.

So now that we have the big picture, we can focus on what it is that Lush actually makes. To put it simply, they have everything you need to turn your bathroom into a personal spa. Soaps, hair products, skincare, and perfumes all fall on their inventory list. One thing that caught my eye was their henna hair dye. It’s literally the only hair dye you can find that’s all natural. I still wasn’t entirely convinced myself so I went on YouTube where Lush has an entire channel with tons of videos talking about their products, their beliefs, and their stores. They had a step by step video detailing how to use henna hair dye properly and effectively. Animal friendly and informative? I didn’t know such a thing could exist!

Log on to to find the closest store to you. They have over 700 locations so you have no excuse not to check it out!

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The Faces Making Vegan Cool

I know that many of you out there consider yourself the premier vegan chef this side of the Mississippi. No need to be modest now, I’ve seen you watching the Food Network, chopping celery faster than a Japanese hibachi chef. But the truth is, as good as I’m sure you are, there are people out there that actually do this for a living. They are making a name for themselves and some of them have even taken on  a bit of celebrity status. I decided to find out who these chef’s are and which restaurant they call home.

Let’s face it, if Oprah dons you the title of top vegan chef, there isn’t really any questioning it. Tal Ronnen, Oprah’s own vegan chef has dominated the talk show circuit and has brought vegan cooking to the mainstream, or at least to the stay at home soccer moms watching TV at noon. Ronnen favors French style of cooking and takes meals famous for their concentration on meat and adapts them to make them vegetarian, but just as tasty. Recently, he stopped at Portland’s Veg Fest to showcase his idea that vegan cooking can be tasty. He has worked at restaurants across the country, including Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles and Candle 79 in New York City.

You don’t necessarily picture Italians as the front runners for vegetarian cooking, but chef Aldo Zilli is looking to change that perspective. After become vegetarian a few years ago to give his eating habits a healthy makeover, Zilli decided to the same for his flagship restaurant, renamed Zilli Green. This London hot spot now serves vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free dishes that are sure to leave you begging for seconds. Zilli takes his inspiration from countries around the world, serving dishes like Thai Curry with Quinoa and Blood Orange Chutney and Pumpkin Ravioli with Butter, Sage, and Nutmeg Sauce. Is your mouth watering yet?

Now on the sweeter side of vegan eating, we have chef Erin McKenna. I mean, the woman makes baked goods that are sold in  Downtown Disney for goodness sakes. What could be sweeter than that? After being diagnosed with allergies to wheat and dairy, McKenna decided that the only way she could continue to enjoy cupcakes was by opening up her own shop with her own recipes. She uses all natural sweeteners and replaces white flour with rice flour. A healthy cupcake? Who knew? In addition to her store in Disney, McKenna also has locations in Los Angeles and New York City.

Have a favorite vegan restaurant or vegan chef from your hometown? Let us know! We are always looking for great options for eating out!

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Bake Til You Drop

By: Caitlin L.

Tis the season for baking. No matter how much you hate it or try to avoid it, chances are that for some event or another, you need to pop at least one batch of cookies into the oven. But here’s the problem- not all your friends share the same animal friendly practices that you do, so you don’t want to scare them with the new tofu and wheat grass cookie you’ve been meaning to test out. Never fear, I have the solution for you. Believe it or not, there are some baked goods that taste delicious without using animal by products. Your friends won’t even know the difference. The main issue is replacing the butter and eggs in your favorite recipe. A good egg replacement can be manufactured by using 1 tablespoon of golden flax meal and mixing that with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it becomes thick. When it comes to the butter, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are your best bet for producing tasty treats. Be sure to use an aluminum baking sheet because vegan desserts are more prone to getting burnt on the bottom. Use these tricks in your grandma’s secret recipe that she brought over from the old country or start a new baking tradition of your own. Here is a great vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe that is the perfect choice to bring to your next holiday party:

2 cups Earth Balance Non-Hydrogenated Spread
1 ½ cup turbinado sugar
1 ½ cup Yellow D Brown Sugar (a vegan “brown sugar”)
2 tablespoons Ener G Egg Replacer
8 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ -3 cups vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine egg replacer and water, mix until “puffy” and frothy. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream Earth Balance and sugars. Add egg replacer/water mixture and vanilla, blend well. Next, sift in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stirring after each one or two cups of flour. Once all flour is mixed in, slowly add chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

So have fun baking this holiday season kids and be sure to get out of the kitchen and actually ENJOY the tasty treats that you cook!

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Don’t Go Green With Envy This Christmas, Go Green With Your Shopping

By: Caitlin L.

If you can find the energy to get off the couch after a little too much eating the day after Thanksgiving, perhaps you’ll brave the stores for some Black Friday shopping. Year after year you beat yourself up over Christmas shopping. You want to find the most perfect, unique gifts for all of your friends and family. I know how it goes because I go through the same battle every holiday season, usually settling on a mediocre gift the week before December 25th. This year, I vow to start early on my shopping and I want to help you do the same. I did some research to find the coolest, most eco-friendly gifts I could find for every personality, even your wacky aunt who won’t be happy with any gift found at the local mall.

For the Gadget Guru: The emonitor from Powerhouse Dynamics is the latest and greatest in energy saving. This electronic miracle leaves no stone left unturned when it comes to identifying where you are wasting energy. It tracks every outlet and let’s you know how big of a carbon footprint you make when you leave the bathroom light on all night. Phantom energy will no longer be haunting your house with this in your hand.

For the Fashionista: Brand Ecoist is the innovator in making handbags from repurposed materials. They use everything from candy wrappers to soda cans as the base for their bags. The weaving technique that they use is fashionable and functional; you would never know that this stuff was ever marked as trash. To add to an already great gift, Ecoist will plant a tree for every handbag sold. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

For the Trailblazer: For those of us that love roughing it in the wilderness, roughing it just got more comfortable. The Blue Beech 450 sleeping bag from Vaude is the real deal when it comes to camping gear. It’s made from lyocell fiber from tree pulp to ensure that you stay dry through the night. The Blue Beech is also composed of three layers and a pillow pocket so that you may forget that you’re not in the comfort of your own bed.

For the Person that Doesn’t Want Anything: You know who I’m talking about. It’s usually your mom or your grandmother who cannot give you a straight answer when you ask them about their ideal gift. That’s when you have to enlist a little creativity and give them something from the heart. On Oceana’s website you can adopt a sea animal and make that donation in someone else’s name. Worried that your special someone won’t have anything to unwrap on Christmas morning? Have no fear, upon making the donation, you get a cookie cutter sent on the mail to you in the shape of the animal that you adopted, along with an exclusive sugar cookie recipe. Everyone wins!

For your Little Bro: What kid doesn’t love candy? And what babysitter doesn’t love a kid kept busy for hours on end? Glee Glum has formulated an all natural candy making kit. Kids can make gum, chocolate, or gummies while learning about a healthy environment and fun science. Your little chemist will keep him/herself occupied and stay out of your hair. What could be better!

So now that you have a couple ideas, happy shopping! Here’s to being done early and getting the chance to actually enjoy the holiday season!

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The Lazy Vegan’s Basic Recipes For Thanksgiving

By: Caitlin D

So let’s face it, the holiday season is not exactly the healthiest time of year. From the never ending appetizers, to the traditionally heavy holiday dishes, it can be hard to stick to our healthy diet and lifestyle. Thanksgiving can be especially difficult for vegans and vegetarians as the main dish revolves around meat. To-fu and veggie turkeys can be a little intimidating, especially for new vegan cooks (like myself), so I decided to do a test run and find some of the most delicious (and relatively simple) recipes and tricks to creating a delicious vegan-friendly (and turkey friendly) Thanksgiving Dinner!

There’s a million recipes out there for vegan side dishes and desserts, but if you’re like me, and looking for an easy transition from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner to the vegan one, here’s my list of fairly simple recipes for the amateur- vegan cook!

The Lazy Vegan’s Guide to a Delicious Thanksgiving!

The Main Course: The Turkey-Free Turkey.

My suggestion? Go with store bought Veggie Turkeys or a Tofurky. (I found mine at Whole Foods Market in the frozen isle)

Try one of these tricks to make it your own!

-Baste in vegetable broth while baking to add extra flavor

- Try a Cajun rub to kick up the zest

- Try the traditional turkey seasoning: Coat the roast in olive oil and spread on turkey seasoning

PETA’s Recipe for Traditional Turkey Seasoning

1 1/2 tsp. poultry-seasoning herbs
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Pinch of salt and pepper

Next Comes The Stuffing…Vegan Style [I used the recipe from, absolutely delicious!]


  • 8 – 10 pieces of slightly stale bread, cut into ¾” cubes
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • ¼ cup vegan margarine or similar spread (such as Earth Balance)
  • 5 – 7 tbsp. water
  • ½ tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp thyme (taste better if fresh rather than dried!)
  • 1 tsp sage (taste better if fresh rather than dried!)
  • 1 tsp rosemary (taste better if fresh rather than dried!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt margarine in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté until onions are soft.
  3. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl. Mix in the herbs and spices.
  4. Pour the vegetable mixture into the bowl of bread cubes. Stir well.
  5. Slowly drizzle the water, one tablespoon at a time, over the dressing while stirring it.
  6. Lightly grease a large casserole dish. Pour the vegan stuffing into the dish, and then cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes. Increase temperature to 400 degrees F, remove foil from the dish, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top of the dressing is slightly crisp and browned.

It’s Not Thanksgiving Without Gravy…(Yes there’s more than 3 ingredients but nothing too out of the ordinary!) [Found on]

  • -1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • -6 cloves garlic, minced
  • -3 slices yellow onions, chopped
  • -1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
  • -4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • -4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • -2 cups water
  • -1/2 teaspoon sage
  • -1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • -5 -6 white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • flour (optional) or cornstarch (optional)


  1. Pour the oil in a saucepan and heat.
  2. Add garlic and onions and saute 5 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce, stirring constantly until it makes a think, thick sauce.
  4. Gradually stir in the water and add spices.
  5. Keep adding cornstarch or flour until it is the right thickness for you!
  6. Serve hot!

PETA’s Roasted Rosemary’s Sweet Potatoes

  • 6 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into wedges
  • 6 Tbsp. vegan margarine, melted (try Earth Balance brand)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh minced rosemary
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large bowl with the margarine, rosemary, salt, and pepper to coat. Spread onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with any remaining margarine from the bowl.
3. Bake for 20 minutes, until tender, flipping halfway through.

And Now For Dessert- Pumpkin-Raisan Oatmeal Cookies! [I found a few variations of this myself, but I think this is the best version]


  • 6 tbsp canned pure pumpkin
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • ½ whole banana, mashed
  • 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a cookie sheet
  2. Next, mix  pumpkin, maple, banana, sugar and non-dairy milk together in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice together and then transfer it into the wet mixture.
  4. Stir a few times then add raisins.
  5. Continue to mix until combined. The mixture will look dry at first but with some arm power it will soften!
  6. Drop spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake 8 to 12 minutes.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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Vegan or Bust

By: Caitlin L.

I know that most vegetarians have thought about it. It gives you the ability to use the Earth as your cafeteria, brag that your diet is 100% “green” and count animals as friends, not a food group. That’s right, it’s veganism. Whether or not this scares you or excites you, it’s safe to say that this is the next step in becoming one with Mother Nature. With all the tree hugging stuff aside, there are some very visible benefits to being vegan, both to you and to your beloved planet Earth. So here are some of the facts so that your decision is an informed one.

For the most part, vegans tend to be a healthier crop of people for the sheer reason that they eat less processed foods and less fat. As a result of this, we see a decrease in blood sugar and an increase in energy (and who doesn’t want more energy at 9 A.M. on a Monday?). For those of us who are a little more concerned with outward effects, being vegan also helps to improve the condition of your skin. Maybe that’s why Hollywood stars have jumped on the bandwagon. We tend to hear a lot more in the media about how being vegan has become “trendy”. Everyone from Pamela Anderson to Glee star Lea Michelle have adopted this lifestyle. Getting veganism into the mainstream does, if nothing else, bring awareness to its benefits.

For those living their life to be as green as possible, the vegan transition could be the one that you are looking for. For one, we eliminate the pollutants caused by factory labor. The food that we are ingesting skips the processing step and thereby doesn’t need to stop at the factory, it essentially goes from the ground right to our dining room table.  A smaller known fact may be that animals themselves actually cause pollution. The fecal waste of cattle emits ammonia. The release of that chemical into the air can eventually move into the drinking water, causing algal blooms and fish kills. When supply and demand decreases for animal byproducts, that decreases the amount of pollutants caused by animals.

Now that you have some of the facts, the decision is yours. Are you ready to throw in the grilled sandwiches and the mocha lattes with skim milk to better yourself and the environment?

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Let’s go Back to our Roots

By: Caitlin L.

As anyone with a calendar can see, we are in the month of November. That means we are just a few short weeks away from the only holiday devoted solely to eating- Thanksgiving. Although I cannot imagine a Thanksgiving without a turkey, I know many have lived their whole lives celebrating without the large bird as the centerpiece for their dinner table. This got me thinking.

I wanted to inform myself about a healthier Thanksgiving dinner. I began to do a little research about tasty, organic, meat-free dishes for the holiday, and was interested to find that our Pilgrim ancestors ate a lot less meat than I realized. When I think of the Pilgrims I picture hunting and fishing, and men walking miles in all sorts of weather with their kills carried on their back. Obviously I have a narrow view of these people’s daily lives. It turns out that they ate meat only 30% of the time and relied on crops that they grew for the rest. Maybe the Pilgrims really had something with this whole living off the land thing.

Now I don’t expect anyone to head into the fields and harvest their own crops this Thanksgiving, but perhaps an organic holiday isn’t such a bad idea. For one, it’s a healthier alternative to your traditional meal. Farmers growing organic are a lot more conscious about how they grow their food and how it is handled. It also doesn’t hurt to buy your food local. You support your community while at the same time knowing exactly where your food came from. Let’s go organic this Thanksgiving, not just for the environment, but for ourselves. If our ancestors could do it, so can we.

Check out these recipes for Thanksgiving meal ideas:



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New England Vegetarians Unite!

The 15th annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is just around the corner!  The annual event is sponsored by the Boston Vegetarian Society, an all-volunteer non-profit organization that seeks to increase awareness of the vegetarian lifestyle as well as advance the way of life.

The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is open to all people of all ages whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, a natural food eater, or just looking to add some health consciousness to your lifestyle.

The festival brings an enthusiastic buzz to Boston where family and friends can listen and speak to top national speakers and chefs, sample natural foods from all over New England, see educational exhibits, and much more! In the past, the Festival has been noted by many as being a “great success” with a “great wall to wall energy”!

The festival is one of the longest running of its kind, and is a great place to use as local resource as well as a networking event for people interested in the vegetarian lifestyle. There are discounts for festival grocery shopping, cooking demonstrations, kid-friendly activities and even on-site nutritional consultants.

The festival is being held at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center on Tremont Street in Boston, MA. And goes from 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, October, 30th and continues on Sunday, October 31st, from 10 AM- 4 PM. There is free admission, free parking, and as always, free food sampling!

For more information, check out

Or want to get involved and lend a hand? Visit for more information.

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