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


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.


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


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

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:


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.


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?

Saturday Shares 8.22.2015

Saturday Shares HeaderI’m starting to get excited for back-to-school. I love summer, but having a routine again is going to be nice. If only there wasn’t homework to monitor!


EasyLunchboxes – I am pleasantly surprised with these lunch boxes. I thought they were going to be just like standard Ziploc containers (light, bendable etc). Happily these are quite sturdy and have ample space. Trey used them a few days this week for camp and he liked them. He sometimes thinks these bento-style lunch boxes are too “babyish”, but these he was into. The price is great…only $13.95 for a set of 4.

Smashed Indian Potatoes – As a girl with a lot of Irish blood I LOVE potatoes. This version of Indian Mashed Potatoes from Vegan Richa looks heavenly. I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any leftovers at my house, but Richa’s idea to form leftovers in to patties and pan fry them is brilliant.

Thrive Market

Thrive Market – Thrive Market is an online store offering the natural and organic products at wholesale prices. I’m just starting my trial and I’m really impressed with all of the products they have available and the wholesale prices. You get 15% off your first order and that starts your 30 day trial. After 30 days you can sign for an annual membership which costs $59.95. I love that you can sort products by Vegan only if you like. The prices are definitely better than what I see at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

Vegan Starter Kit

photo credit: Vegan Cuts

Vegan Starter Kit – If you are new to veganism or if you have a friend interested in veganism this Starter Kit from Vegan Cuts looks awesome. A whole array of vegan foods and coupons ready to help a new vegan.

VegNews Awards

2015 VegNews Awards – Vote for your favorite vegan foods, blogs and authors in the annual VegNews Awards. Completing the survey enters you in a drawing for amazing prizes including a VitaMix!


Pacifica Beauty Review

Pacifica Review

One of my new favorite beauty brands is Pacifica. I have been using their lotions for years and I am thrilled that they have been rolling out a complete makeup and body care line. I love that they emphasis that their products are all vegan. All vegan brands make shopping much easier…no need to pour over every ingredient wondering if this one particular product is vegan.

Here is how Pacifica describes their own products:

Pacifica is known as one of the most innovative and sustainable makeup lines on the market today. At Pacifica, we are elevating the experience of natural beauty products and overcoming the common perception that naturals don’t deliver great results.  We make natural products that work as well or better than any non-natural line.  Our mission is complete when we have delivered the best performing products, using the safest ingredients, in recyclable packaging and components to the largest possible audience of beauty consumers. All Pacifica products are gluten-free, 100% vegan, and cruelty-free.

What I love about Pacifica

  • All Vegan – enough said
  • Available at Whole Foods and Target – 2 of my favorite, most frequented stores
  • Non-irritating to my sensitive skin
  • Scents that I actually like and aren’t overpowering

Pacifica Review

Favorite Products

  • Nail Polish – great color selection, excellent wear and 7 Free (Made without parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animals.)
  • Concealer – Creamy under-eye concealer that does a great job covering up and brightening without sinking into my wrinkles 🙂
  • Lip Gloss – Non-sticky lip gloss that is hydrating and looks very natural
  • Waterproof Mascara – Love the brush in this mascara…absolutely no clumping
  • Ultra CC Cream – A perfect everyday, lightweight foundation with SPF 17
  • Indian Coconut Nectar Body Butter – Nice, thick lotion that smells like heaven
  • Indian Coconut Nectar Soap – Same great smell as the Body Butter and very moisturizing
  • Solid Perfume – I’m not a perfume person but I love this Spanish Amber scent. I also like the solid perfume for keeping in my gym bag or purse.

Pacifica Review

I’ve tried and enjoyed their eye shadow and blushes as well. The blush is a cream blush and I prefer a powder blush so I don’t use it as often as some of their other products.

I’m looking forward to watching the Pacifica line expand. They have a new foundation coming out that I’m anxious to try. I do hope they add more colors for their face makeup. They seem targeted only for people with pale skin and since vegans come in all shades I hope they expand their color selection as they grow!

Pacifica Review

If you like Pacifica I highly recommend subscribing to their list on their website. They send out information with lots of deals – available directly from their site.

Have you tried Pacifica brand makeup or body products? What are your favorites?

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I purchased all of these products on my own*

Saturday Shares 8.8.2015

Saturday Shares Header

Happy Saturday! Here are a few things I found interesting this week…


photo credit: Mercy for Animals

Award Winning Goat Cheese Farmer Goes Vegan – I loved learning about Julian and Carol Pearce. They are a married couple who have been producing award winning goat cheeses for the past 20 years. They recently have decided to turn their farm into a sanctuary and make 100% plant based cheeses. This article from Mercy For Animals highlights their transformation. My favorite quote comes from Carol: “The reason we have become vegan is being around our animals, knowing they have feelings; they love, have friends and family… how can you eat them?” I look forward to trying their vegan cheese when it becomes available.

Dinner with Dan Buettner – Dan Buettner is the author of The Blue Zones Solution, a book that explores 5 places in the world where people experience incredible longevity. This New York Times article is very humorous, but it also addresses the real fears people have about eating healthier foods. The good news is that coffee, wine, plant based foods and eating with good friends are all parts of what Dan Buettner says contributes to a long life.


Finding Vegan Community – Finding Vegan is a great resource for vegan recipes. Bloggers share photos of their vegan creations with links back to the recipe. Recently Finding Vegan started a community where anyone can join in and “discuss all things vegan”. The discussion topics are wide ranging and include things like: vegans in the news, traveling as a vegan, vegan fashion, and questions from non-vegans.

Vegan French Onion Dip – I am starting to get excited for football season (despite the fact that things are looking worse each day for my 49ers). We love to spend Saturday and Sunday afternoons on the couch watching football. I am always on the lookout for new snacks we can enjoy during the game. This French Onion dip from Oh My Veggies looks so creamy and flavorful. I’m fairly certain I haven’t had onion dip in the last 10 years so I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

photo credit: Wild Mint Shop

photo credit: Wild Mint Shop

Wild Mint – Lisa Leake at 100 days of Real Food offers great advice about moving away from processed food. Her blog is not vegan, but I particularly enjoy her ideas for packing lunches. This week she introduced readers to Wild Mint. Wild Mint is a website filled with non-toxic and eco-friendly products. Trey needs a few new lunchbox containers for school this year and Wild Mint has tons of options all in one place. 100 Days of Real Food is offering a giveaway (through August 12) where you can enter to win a $50 gift card for Wild Mint.


Petit Vour July – Review

Petit Vour July

Petit Vour is a company dedicated to cruelty-free, vegan beauty. They offer a monthly box for $15 (in the US). In it they include 4-5 samples of fantastic, luxury vegan beauty products. The products include makeup, haircare and skincare items. Here is a bit more about Petit Vour’s background from their website:

Petit Vour is the luxury vegan destination for the decidedly fashionable, inspired by the finer things and curated for the modern, ethical woman. With a deep love for animals, and a knack for seeking the finest, Petit Vour brings you the crème de la cruelty-free. In May 2013, we curated our very first beauty box, filled with little luxuries, offering a taste of cruelty-free to our small membership. We’ve since grown quite a bit, but our values remain the same. Our mission since the idea came to life was to bring two worlds together: luxury and progressive values.

I learned about Petit Vour from my favorite resource for vegan beauty tips, Vegan Beauty Review. Vegan Beauty Review’s curator, Sunny, highlights vegan beauty products from all different companies. She covers everything from high-end makeup to drugstore finds. If you haven’t checked out her site, be sure to do so.

I ordered the Petit Vour July box for the first time. Now that I have had some time to play with the products I thought I would share my review with you.

Petit Vour July

Aila Nail Polish: The polish color is a fun coral color called Doolish. It is perfect for a summer pedicure. I wore my pedicure for several weeks and was impressed with the polish’s staying power. I received tons of compliments on the color. Aila nail polish is free of Parabens, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Dibutyl phthalate (DBT), and Camphor.

Petit Vour July

Luxe de Mer Gentle Face CleanserI have incredibly sensitive skin and almost every cleanser I have tried over the last few years has irritated my skin. The one product I use all the time is a rosewater toner. I was thrilled with the results of this cleanser. It is very gentle and the rosewater is calming to my hyper-sensitive skin. I’m looking forward to trying some of Luxe de Mer’s additional vegan products. It looks like they have a great selection of high quality skincare products with minimal ingredients.

Petit Vour July

Routine De-Odor-Cream: This natural deodorant smells great and is made without any aluminum zirconium, aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, triclosan, or propylene glycol. I have been experimenting for years with natural deodorants with VERY mixed results. Recently I have been using JK Naturals (available at Whole Foods) and that has been working really well for me. I like the smell of the Routine Cream, which they call Sexy Sadie. It has a woodsy, vanilla type smell and it worked well. I will use the whole sample and consider ordering some in the future. I do hope they come out with a “stick” form, since I don’t love rubbing the deodorant in by hand.

Petit Vour July Nubian

photo credit: Nubian Heritage

Nubian Heritage Mango ButterI enjoyed all of the products in this month’s box, but this was the winner in my book. You may notice I don’t have my own picture of the body butter above and that is because Trey snatched this body butter as soon as he smelled it. The Mango Butter has a delicious orange scent that, according to Trey, “smells like orange ice cream”. The body butter contains a mixture of shea and cocoa butter and is incredibly moisturizing. I will be ordering more of the Mango Butter and a few of Nubian Heritage’s other body butters. The Frankincense & Myrrh Shea Butter sounds heavenly.


Saturday Shares 8.1.2015

Saturday Shares Header

How is it August already?!? Summer is flying by this year. Here are a few things I found interesting this week.

Elizabeth Gilbert Podcast – Elizabeth Gilbert is the wonderful author of Eat, Pray, Love fame. She has a new book coming out, Big Magic. This book is focused on the creative process. I am really looking forward to reading the book when it is released in September. In the meantime she has a new podcast, Magic Lessons, that I have been listening to this week. She focuses on helping people get over their creative blocks. These episodes are short and full of excellent advice. Highly worth a listen.

Big Magic

Summer Fruit Galette – I am very guilty of buying too much fruit at the Farmer’s Market. This time of year everything looks so good! Lately I have been using some of my bounty to make freezer jam, but this Galette looks like a fantastic way to use up smaller amounts of stone fruit.

by Chloe – Chloe Coscarelli is a well-known vegan chef. She shot to fame a few years ago when she won the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars with her vegan cupcakes. This week she opened a new, fast-casual restaurant in New York City. This place looks delicious. If you are in NYC please stop-by so I can live vicariously through you!

photo credit: by Chloe

photo credit: by Chloe

Cherry Berry Coconut Limeade Smoothie – I love coconut and lime together. This smoothie combines both of those flavors with another favorite, berries. I’ll be giving this a try this weekend to beat the heatwave California is currently experiencing.

Dudley the German Shepherd – I received an email yesterday from one of my favorite organizations, Best Friends Animal Society, regarding a dog in need of a family. Dudley is a young, energetic German Shepherd who was rescued in Southern California by the Dirty Dog Squad. He was in terrible shape when he was found, but he has since been cleaned up and gained 10 pounds. He is now ready for a permanent home. Because of his energy and prey drive (typical in a GSD) he needs a home with an owner willing to train him. If you know anyone looking for a goofy, energetic boy to add to their family please pass along Dudley’s information.

photo credit: Dirty Dog Squad

photo credit: Dirty Dog Squad



Saturday Shares 7.25.2015

Saturday Shares Header

Saturday Shares are things I have read, found or seen this week that I find interesting.

Homemade Cashew Soy Yogurt – I used to love yogurt in my pre-vegan days. I have never found a store bought vegan yogurt that I really liked. Either the taste or texture was always a miss for me. I made this recipe this week and it was life changing. Perfect texture, perfect sourness and no sweetener.


Important Vegan Nutrition Articles – I read two thought-provoking articles this week that really stuck with me about vegan nutrition. One is by Genny Messina, a well-known vegan Registered Dietitian. Her work is always intriguing and backed by science. Her article Preventing Ex-Vegans: Why Nutrition and Nutritionism Matter focused on the fact that as vegans we need to be guided by science, rather than grandiose claims that as long as you are eating “healthy” you will get enough nutrients.

The other article was written by a popular vegan blogger, Sayward Rebhal. Titled When Vegans Get Sick this article highlights the challenges vegans face when they don’t experience the perfect health they hoped for when they became vegan. As you can imagine this article was very personal for me, since I don’t experience perfect health. Sayward talks about how we can help, rather than ostracize, vegans who aren’t feeling well.

The Homemade Vegan Pantry – The original recipe for Cashew Soy Yogurt came from Miyoko Schinner. My success with that recipe inspired me to order a copy of her new book.

Homemade Vegan Pantry

Earlywood Wooden Utensils I read about Earlywood Utensils this week on the Pinch of Yum blog. Their handcrafted wooden tools look incredibly beautiful and are designed to last a lifetime. I’m planning to order a long serving spoon and scraper in the future.

Peach Cobbler Smoothie – Summer peaches are one of my favorite foods. This smoothie recipe looks like a great way to use up any overripe peaches. I love that the recipes includes oats, since it makes smoothies a bit more filling.

Artifact Uprising Photo Books –  When Trey was a baby I was pretty good about putting together a photo album each year using iPhoto. As he has gotten older I have slipped up and have several years worth of digital pictures sitting on my computer. These incredible books from Artifact Uprising are inspiring me to get my pictures off my computer and into a book we can enjoy. I admire the company for their eco-friendly practices, as well as the fact that they hire adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to assemble their products in Seattle.

Photo Credit - Artifact Uprising

Photo Credit – Artifact Uprising



Saturday Shares 7.19.2015

As I mentioned earlier this week one of the reasons I started my blog was to participate in the blogging community. Many of my favorite bloggers share weekly or monthly lists of things that they have seen, read or tried that they enjoy. I’m going to start doing that here at Vegan Gretchen with my Saturday Shares posts. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday Shares Header

Julie Hasson Freezer Jam – I have not gotten into canning and have never made jam since I am concerned I would poison my whole family. Julie’s freezer jam made with Instant Clear Jel looks like the perfect homemade jam – no cooking required. My Clear Jel arrived yesterday so I’ll be making it this weekend.

Kris Carr Safe & Affordable Skin and Hair Care Brands – Kris Carr is one of my favorite authors/resources for information. Lately she has been putting together reports on makeup that is cruelty-free and made without toxins. Her latest report is on drugstore brands. I love a good deal!

Petit Vour Beauty Subscription – I have tried and loved the Beauty Box from Vegan Cuts, but I wanted to try another cruelty-free beauty subscription. I’m looking forward to receiving (and reviewing) my first box in a few weeks.


Homemade Vegan Butter – I’m late to the game on this one, but I’m intrigued by the idea of making my own vegan butter substitute.

New Nordic Ware Bundt Pan – This arrived on Thursday and I’ll be testing a new bundt cake recipe in it this week.


Korean Tofu Bibimbap Sandwiches – We love Korean food in our house and this sandwich looks completely delicious

Ta-Nehisi Coates New Book – Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most thoughtful and insightful writers regarding race in America. I have long been a fan of his writing for The Atlantic and I’m just starting his latest book, Between the World and Me.  The book is written as a series of letters to his teenage son and explores the history of race in America.



Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale – The perfect time to stock up on fall fashion at a discount from my favorite department store.



Talking to Kids about Veganism – Ruby Roth Books

“Mom, I don’t like anything about Hooter’s.” This is what Trey, my 8 year-old, tells me last week as we drove past a Hooters on our way to his friend’s birthday party.  My first thought was “Thank God!”, but I decided I should inquire further.  “Why don’t you like Hooter’s?” I ask.  Trey says “The sign says they have wings, shrimp and burgers. All dead animals.” One point for veganism and one additional point for the fact that he doesn’t know about Hooter’s other selling points!  His comment made me laugh, of course, but it also made me glad that Trey knows why we are vegan.  Since he was tiny I talked to him about why we don’t eat animals. One of the things that really helped those discussions was Ruby Roth’s appropriately titled book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals.

Ruby Roth Books

Read More »