One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hormel Vegetarian Chili

I'm very fortunate to live in Atlanta. Sure we don't have a vegan mini-mall but there are a plethora of Whole Foods, I belong to a vegetarian co-op and there are farmer's markets all over the place. Rarely do I have to venture to a conventional grocery store to get all the vegan goodness I need.

But there is a Kroger about a mile from me and a Publix about 3 miles away. So occasionally I run out of brown sugar or something and I find myself at my local conventional grocer. Thankfully all the grocery stores near me have a special section for vegetarians but just in case your grocery store doesn't, don't worry. There are still a ton of quick and easy options available for you that require nothing more than a microwave to have a quick and nutritious meal.

Case in point, Hormel Vegetarian Chili with Beans. It's on the aisle with all the other beans. Near the baked beans (they've got vegetarian versions of those too). They are 100% vegan and the ingredient list actually isn't that scary. It also contains no preservatives which is great especially for a canned meal. It takes about 2-3 minutes to heat up in the microwave or 5 minutes on the stove top. I like to have mine with toasted corn tortillas and green beans for a complete meal. You can also heat it and throw it in a thermos for a great lunch on the go.

1 cup of this chili gives you 10 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein for only 190 calories! Plus you can usually find it for about $1. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Back when I was a vegetarian, I thought veganism was just sooooo hard. I whined about my love for cheese and how "difficult" it would be to give up things with egg in them. I mean, who could live without cake, right? Looking back now I can't believe how naive and silly I was. Now the thought of cheese disgust me and I get excited about the prospects of cooking with nutritional yeast. And half the fun of baking now is experimenting with all the cool stuff I can now do in the kitchen. Who knew the multiple uses of unsweetened applesauce or the powers of a little white vinegar and baking powder? As a cook, being vegan cook is 3000 times better than being an omni or vegetarian cook. And yes, I still have cakes, and crepes and even omelette's (I'll be blogging about these little tasty breakfast treats soon).

Most vegans have to find things out the hard way, trial and error, buying tons of books and cookbooks and so on. Eventually you might run across a terrific forum like the PPK (which is a life saver). Or this blog (aka greatest blog ever!). But if you're lucky, like me, you'll be browsing the internet one day and come across It's a one-stop shop for the all encompassing world of vegan blogs. Whether your interests are culinary, AR or nutrition there's a vegan blog out there for it. Even yours truly made the cut!

And it's not just limited to blogs. will keep you updated on the latest vegan podcast and radio spots as well. I've bookmarked it and go there almost everyday to check out what's new in the world of veganism, grab new recipes, check out the latest hot topics in AR and just to read a day in the life of vegans out there. I highly suggest that you add to your morning to do list.
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