Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vegan at Disney: With no Tofu or Tempeh

Sorry that there is no pictures, but I was with my brother and sister-in-law. Since they are not aware of this blog, I couldn’t really take a picture of my lunch. I also did not want to come up with an explanation for my inquisitive nephews about why I was taking pictures of my food.

Since I was with family, and suspecting that they would most likely be eating at the quick service places at Disney Hollywood, I was expecting that my lunch would be a veggie burger. However, I got very lucky. We ended up having our lunch at the Backlot Express, in the Echo Lake area of the park. It is right between the Indiana Jones Stunt Show and Star Tours. They have the one sandwich at the park that is both easily veganized and also soy free, the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich. If you have it without the cheese, it is vegan and comes with a black bean salad on the side. The sandwich is grilled mushrooms, zucchini, red bell peppers with tomato and watercress on a cibatta roll with sundried tomato pesto. The black bean salad is just black beans, diced onion and some type of vinaigrette dressing. All in all a quite filling and nutritious meal. I would be quite happy to eat this a few days in a row.

Now suppose they had decided to eat somewhere else and I was stuck with a veggie burger (which are Boca burgers, from what I have read on the web). Would I have been in trouble, since it contains soy? Not really, because I now have a solution for when there is no other choice but to eat a soy base based product, Enzymedica Digest capsules. These are capsules filled with digestive enzymes that will allow me to occasionally (key word) eat soy products. I have even been able to eat tofu (after taking three capsules before the meal). Now this is not a solution if you are soy allergic (probiotics may be a better solution in that case). However, if you are soy intolerant this may give your digestive system the added boost it needs to digest soy.

For those of you planning a trip to Disney, the best resource I could give you is the special dining page at ( They have a comprehensive listing of all the vegetarian and vegan options at all the parks and resorts. I will also tell you that Disney works very hard to accommodate visitors with special dietary needs. They will allow you to bring food into the parks (yes you are not stuck eating on the property). If you are on the food plan and willing to plan ahead about where you want to eat, I would suggest that you get in touch with the park and see if they can substitute seitan for the tofu in some of the dishes at the sit down restaurants and the resorts. If not, they should be able to make something for you. And if you need more resources just google “vegan Disney” and a lot of things will pop up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope you have all been doing well. Sorry to be away for so long, but right after I got back from Disney I came down with my death of a cold. The Teddybear was off all last week and I was so sick that not only did I not really cook, but I didn’t really eat either. In fact, today is the best I have felt in almost two weeks. Good thing, since I start a new job in January. I’ll be running a tax office for Amscot during the tax season. It’s only for a few months, but much better than nothing. And it might help me get another position down the line. I plan on blogging about what I’m taking for lunch and showing you all my various lunch boxes.

Vegetable Soup

I’ve done some cooking this week. This soup is something I made off the top of my head to give me something simple and nutritious for lunch. It is just some vegetable stock (from the carton), chopped kale, carrots and celery. I cooked them for about 30 minutes, till the kale was soft. I then took it off the heat, added a heaping teaspoonful of chickpea miso and stirred that through. Then I added the last of my udon noodles from the refrigerator by dumping them in the hot soup and letting it sit on the counter for 15 minutes. That was enough to warm them up and let them separate in the broth. Quite good and filling. Not bad, considering that I prefer recipes to free willing my cooking.

Five-Minute Coconut Fudge
I also did my only bit of Christmas cooking today, by making a batch of Hannah Kaminsky‘s Five Minute Fudge that I found over at Using a tip found up at PPK, I used So Delicious coconut milk creamer (plain) to make it. It is quite good and fudge like, much to my somewhat surprise. While the ½ cup of coconut milk (or cream) may not seem enough, the recipe does work. And it looks quite chocolaty, considering that I had to use regular cocoa since I couldn’t find any Dutch processed cocoa.

My guy has to work tomorrow (ugh) so I made up another batch of the Holiday Nog and plan on just snacking and listening to holiday music till we have dinner fairly late. At least he is supposed to be off at 5:00, so we can at least plan on having dinner. It will be just about the same as what we had on Thanksgiving, except I have a new cranberry sauce to try and no sweet potatoes (because I can’t find any in the store).

I do plan on telling you about Disney, but that will have to wait till this weekend at the earliest. Till then, I hope you all have a healthy and safe Christmas.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Nog

Holiday Nog

I had originally planned on being at Disney today, but that got moved back to tomorrow; so I thought you might be interested in this.

This is the Holiday Nog I found on the VegNews website last year. It was too late in the year to be able to have it for Christmas 2008, so I have been saving it for Christmas 2009. I made it on Monday and on that day it was pretty good, however after sitting for 24 hours in the refrigerator, it was great. It looks, smells and tastes fairly close to what you think eggnog should taste like. Hard to believe it is just cashews, dates, water, nutmeg and vanilla. The best news is that you really don’t have to strain this through a nut milk bag, or I didn’t any way. And I made it in a regular counter top blender, but if you had a milk maker that makes raw nut milks, you could possibly use that as well. So if you are looking for an eggnog replacement and either don’t like what is on the market or can’t have soy, try this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thai Fried Rice

Thai Fried Rice

This has been my lunch for the last few days. Vegan Dad’s Thai Fried Rice and the Smoky Miso Tofu from Vegan Yum Yum. The fried rice goes together really easily and is not very spicy, despite the curry paste and sweet chili sauce that is part of the recipe. I still had some mushrooms left from making the Hippie Loaf, so I decided to dump those in as well. I also dropped the green onions, since I have not been able to find them pre chopped in the store lately. The coconut and cashews add a really nice touch to the rice and also help to cut any spiciness.

On top is some of the Smokey Miso Tofu from Vegan Yum Yum made with the Hickory Nufu Tofu and some chickpea miso. As you can see it worked really well in this recipe, but if you should make it, I do suggest that you use a brush to apply the marinade to the tofu. I tried this using a spoon and the marinade pooled around the tofu on the sheet pan. That excess marinade burned in the oven, and stuck to the pan to the Silpat. So make sure you keep the marinade on the tofu, if you make this.

I’m going to Disney on Wednesday to see some family that has come down for the week. I hope to report that one can eat at Disney and be vegan and soy free, but what I have seen so far is not promising. However, I will tell you how I am able to cope; when I have to do so. See you later in the week.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hippie Loaf Fix Up

Hippie Loaf Sandwich

I mentioned in my last post that I had made the Gluten Free Hippie Loaf from Happy Herbivore on Monday. However, I haven’t been able to get mine to set up like Lindsey’s did. Part of it may be that I mashed the black beans and rice together and part of it maybe that I made a mistake in the recipe; I forgot the rice flour (actually any flour). So my loaf was rather soft and would have fallen apart if taken out of the loaf pan. What is a person to do at this point? Improvise. I cut slices off the loaf in the pan and then pressed and reshaped them so they would stick together a bit more. Then I fried them up in my non stick pan and had them as an open faced sandwich on bread, covered with either ketchup or BBQ sauce. This has been my lunch for the last few days and it is quite good and filling; especially on this chilly, rainy and dreary day in Florida.

I do really like the flavors of this loaf and am going to make it again, but change the recipe a bit. First of all, I plan on chopping up the veggies in the blender, just so they are in smaller pieces. I think that I will use amaranth instead of quinoa or rice, and won’t mind if it is sticky, since it will help the whole thing stay together. I will also use some vital wheat gluten to help it stick together a bit better (to keep it gluten free you could use some chickpea flour as a binder instead). And I may do this as either a veggie burger or as mini meatloaves in the toaster oven. This could actually get a lot of use when working next spring when I have a job for a few months.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Comfort Food for Cooler Days

Yes, you did read that title correctly. Fall has arrived for us Floridians and we have our second cold front come through the state today. It’s not as cool as it could be, but 60s and 70s are nice compared to 80s (and did you hear that Dallas got snow today). Now if the humidity would just go down. I actually still have to run the AC occasionally to get the humidity out of the apartment. However, this does mean that I can use my oven and so it has been getting ample use this week.

Ginger Roasted Winter Vegetables and Hippie Loaf

On Monday I made some Gluten-Free Hippie Loaf (from the Happy Herbivore blog). And last night I made the Ginger Roasted Winter Vegetables from VwaV. So they both were for dinner last night. I’ve wanted to make this dish for a while, but have had one problem, the butternut squash. I’m really not able to prep that in my kitchen, but am lucky enough to be able to buy it already cut up for a few weeks each fall in November, so this has been on hold till it came back into the stores. I made this with dark agave, since I didn’t have enough maple syrup and amazingly enough it didn’t get to dark and caramelized wonderfully.

Mac Daddy

Tonight, I made some Mac Daddy from VCON, using the chickpea variation. However, I did change the recipe just a bit, since I don’t have a pan as big as called for in the recipe. I made it in an 8x8 cake pan and used 1 can of chickpeas with one batch of Cheezy Sauce. It cooked in the oven for 25 minutes and after sitting for 10 minutes it was ready. If you haven’t made this yet and am not sure that you want a really saucy Mac and Cheese, you may want to try it this way. I may have to make a second batch of the Cheezy Sauce for reheating, but that is really not a problem; because I can still control how much sauce goes into the dish. And it should reheat nicely in the toaster oven.