Vegan Halloween Tips

Vegan Halloween

If you are raising vegan kids Halloween can seem like a bit of a challenge. What is worse than everyone handing your kid a bunch of brightly colored, perfectly marketed candy that you need to take away since it is filled with animal ingredients?? I think you have a few options when it comes to Halloween that will allow your children to participate, but keep your ethics in tact. I have used each of these vegan Halloween tips over the years and now that my son is 8 we will use a combination of these ideas. This is my all time favorite post to put together…I love looking at all of Trey’s costumes over the years!

Vegan Halloween

SWITCH WITCH

This has been my go to since Trey was 2 years old. Trey goes out and trick-or-treats and I trade him all of his candy for a bag or box of toys. It is really important that these be good toys, remember they are giving you ALL of their candy in exchange. If you are not trick-or-treating at home be sure to bring your Switch Witch bag with you so you can swap out immediately. Several of Trey’s friends have started asking to swap out their candy for a Switch Witch bag which has been awesome.

Vegan Halloween

When Trey was really young I would just give him toys. Now that he is older and sees everyone eating candy I give him candy that I know he will like, but that is vegan and not full of dye etc.

VEGAN CANDY LIST

Here is a handy list of vegan candy from VegNews. I know some vegan families who let their kids keep all of the vegan candy they collect when they trick-or-treat. They take out what’s not vegan and might give their kids some of the extras that they were passing out to trick-or-treaters. Popular candies that are vegan include Smarties, Skittles, Now & Laters, Red Vines, Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers and Dum-Dums (refer to list for specific flavors).

Vegan Halloween

I haven’t done this before for Trey because I really hate all of the dye and chemicals in most candies. As he gets older I don’t want him to see veganism as one big boring limitation so I was planning on letting him have some of these candies this year. Last week Trey’s friend gave him a pack of Skittles and since I just read they are vegan I decided to let him have the small “fun size” pack. It did not go well…his body gave them a full rejection! I’ll spare you the details but needless to say he won’t be eating anymore heavily processed candies. The good news is he was able to see how his body reacted to that type of food and he is not looking to repeat that experience.

Vegan Halloween

HEALTHIER VEGAN CANDIES

There are some candies that are less processed than others. If you look at Whole Foods they have quite a few candies that are vegan and also free of dyes and many of the less desirable chemicals. A few of my favorites:

  • TruJoy Fruit Chews – these are an awesome alternative to Starburst. These are my current favorite candy.
  • YummyEarth Lollipops 
  • Surf Sweets Fruity Bears – this is what I’m passing out this year. I was able to purchase them at Target. Check the label on Surf Sweets – they clearly label their vegan candies as Vegan.
  • Go Max Go  – 100% vegan candy bars that replicate popular chocolate candy bars.
  • Cocomels – Delicious, rich caramel with multiple flavor options

Vegan Halloween

This year I am going to use a combination of these healthier candies and the Switch Witch bag for Trey. He will get some candy, but he will also get a new Lego set he has been eyeing.

What is your strategy for a vegan Halloween? Any favorite vegan candies?

Vegan Halloween

Meatless Monday: Favorite Vegan Sides

Favorite Vegan Sides

When most people hear you are vegan they immediately envision a diet of all side dishes. It is hard for people who aren’t familiar with vegan options to understand that we eat a wide variety of foods, not all sides with a gaping hole on the plate where the main dish used to be. Most of the meals in our house are bowls, casseroles, tacos etc that don’t require side dishes. Occasionally we will need a side dish and I have 2 of my favorite vegan sides to share with you today.

GARLIC RICE

Favorite Vegan Sides

This simple Garlic Rice was inspired by a local Japanese restaurant, Blue Ginkgo, that we love. They started to make Garlic Rice and it is so delicious I have been known to just eat the rice with edamame for dinner.

Favorite-Vegan-Sides

I was sent a sample of Royal Basmati rice to try and it worked perfectly in this Garlic Rice. I cooked the rice both on the stovetop and in my pressure cooker. The pressure cooker rice turned out better, but that is because I have terrible luck cooking rice on the stovetop. Rice cookers/Pressure cookers are my friend! I’m looking forward to trying a few of Royal’s other products, especially this Basmati, Wild Rice and Quinoa blend.

Serve this rice with my Teriyaki Bowl or use it as a side for any Asian inspired meal. I’m planning to use this frequently now that we are approaching cold & flu season. Garlic is known as a potent antibacterial.

Garlic Rice
 
Fragrant garlic rice that works well as a side for Asian inspired meals or as the base of a Bowl.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1¾ cup water
  • 10 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Soak rice for 15 minutes then rinse. Place rice, water and 10 cloves of garlic in saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is cooked. This can also be done in a pressure cooker or rice cooker. Follow your manufacturers cooking instructions.
  2. Once rice is cooked heat a skillet to medium high over the stove. Add in sesame oil and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add in cooked rice, Tamari and scallions. Toss to coat the rice. Taste for season. Add more Tamari and sesame oil as needed for flavor. Remove skillet from heat and serve.

 ROASTED POTATOES AND AIOLI

Favorite Vegan Sides

Potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods. I blame my Irish heritage. I love them roasted, mashed, in potato salad and as fries. One of my favorite restaurants in Oakland, Encuentro, serves roasted potatoes with a side of aioli for dipping, The aioli changes frequently but my favorite is the Lemon Herb Aioli. I love the tanginess of the lemon combined with the fresh herbs.

The aioli can be used on sandwiches and the like but I love copying Encuentro and using it as a dip for my potatoes. Toss small potatoes that you have cut into wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potato wedges and potato type. Once they are done let them cool slightly and serve with this tangy, fresh aioli. These potatoes are a great accompaniment to veggie burgers and are also a hit at potluck meals.

Favorite Vegan Sides

Vegan Lemon Herb Aioli
 
Tangy aioli packed with fresh herbs. A perfect side for dipping potatoes or delicious as a spread on sandwiches.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (see note*)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil are a good start)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a serving bowl. Once thoroughly combined refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Notes
*I prefer Wildwood Organics Zesty Garlic Aioli

* This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive a free sample of Royal Basmatic rice for review. All opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links.

Vegan on-the-Go

vegan on-the-go

As I mentioned in my last post we moved at the end of last month. That left me without much time, energy, or in some cases a kitchen for cooking. These transitional times are when being vegan is a bit tougher than being an omnivore. It’s not like vacation when you have time to research new restaurants and then enjoy leisurely meals. You really need grab and go food that you don’t have to prepare, but you want food that fuels you. I thought I would share a few options we relied on for the weeklong period when we were transitioning from one house to the next. These are my vegan on-the-go favorites:

GROCERY STORE FINDS

NuGo Bars: These bars taste good, are high in protein and low in fat. Be sure to check the ingredients as not all of their bars are vegan. Here is a list of their vegan options. My husband likes the Chocolate Mint flavor, while I love the Chocolate Pretzel.

vegan on-the-go

Precut Fruit and Veggies from Whole Foods: This kept us eating fruits and vegetables without having to look for the cutting boards and knives.

Ranch Dressing: I normally make my own dressing, but this is a good option from Follow Your Heart when making your own isn’t in the cards. Trey loved dipping the pre cut veggies in the dressing.

vegan on-the-go

Shelf Stable Hummus & Bean Dip – protein packed dips that work with chips, crackers or cut up veggies.

Gardein Pocket Wrap – my husband loves these. It does require that you have an oven or microwave available, but they are fast and satisfying.

QUICK RESTAURANTS

Chipotle – savior of any vegan on-the-go. Their sofritas (marinated tofu) are delicious and filling. I like that I can have a salad, bowl, burrito, crispy tacos or soft tacos. Options are helpful since we ate here a few times during the move. I get bored eating the same thing each time.

Veggie Grill – We have a Veggie Grill about 15 minutes from our new house. This all vegan chain seems to be cropping up all over the west coast. My favorite dish is the Savory Kale Salad with tempeh bacon. Trey loves the kids meal options and my husband loves the buffalo chick’n.

vegan on-the-go

 

Spice Kit – This is a Bay Area restaurant with a few locations. Like Chipotle, they have several vegan serving options including salad, rice paper wraps or a bowl. My favorite is the Vietnamese Bowl without the fish sauce. Here is my homemade version.

Subway – The bonus with Subway is that they are everywhere. Their white bread is vegan and they have lots of veggies to load into your sandwich. Here is a guide from PETA highlighting vegan options at Subway. Will this be your most exciting meal ever…no, but it hits the spot when you are tired and hungry.

Ike’s Place – Ike’s is a sandwich shop that started in San Francisco. They are rapidly expanding (they now have locations in LA and Tempe) and have a huge vegan menu. The menu is different in each location, but they have multiple vegan meat substitutes, vegan cheese and delicious bread.

vegan on-the-go

What are your favorite vegan on-the-go eats?

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Muffins

 

Raspberry Lemon MuffinsI’m back from my temporary absence. We moved at the end of September and that did a number on my health (I have an autonomic disorder) so I have been in recovery mode for the past few weeks. I haven’t been cooking too much, but I feel like I am starting to get back on track. Right before we moved I made these vegan raspberry lemon muffins. They were great fuel for moving when I needed something quick to eat while I was packing. These also made easy snacks for Trey to bring to school.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

You can use either frozen or fresh raspberries in this recipe. If you do use frozen raspberries, as I did, do NOT thaw them. They release a lot of liquid when they thaw and your muffin will turn completely pink.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

I used raspberries because Trey doesn’t like blueberries, but you can definitely use either. The combination of cornmeal and lemon would work really well with blueberries.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Raspberry Corn Muffins
 
Vegan raspberry lemon muffins make a delightful breakfast or snack. Lemon zest and a bit of cornmeal give these muffins a delicious taste and texture.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon ground chia
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • ¼ cup vegan butter (Earth Balance), softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup corn meal
  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries (see note)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup mix chia, soy milk, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract and lemon extract. Set aside.
  3. In a mixer cream together vegan butter and sugar. Stir in bowl of liquid ingredients until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, lemon zest, baking powder and baking soda. Combine dry ingredients and liquid ingredients. Mix until well combined. Stir in raspberries.
  5. Quickly scoop dough into muffin tins. Fill each muffin tin ⅔ full.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Notes
If using frozen raspberries, do NOT thaw