I apologize for my relative silence. It's not a lack of passion as much as it is a plethora of baby. I am very excited to meet our little girl very soon, and apparently nature has decided that, in preparation for our baby, I need to be an unconscious as much as possible. This means that my own cooking at home has pretty much decreased to nil. Then Greg pointed out to me that perhaps folks want to know what I do when cooking just isn't in the cards, and I thought that was a great idea, so here's a post for the curious!
It's true that when I cook I tend to go for easy, which on a vegan diet is usually pretty easy. You can really minimize food prep time, complicated recipes, and tons of dirty dishes on a vegan diet, which is great for someone who likes to cut to the chase, just like me. But occasionally...like when you feel like you are 15 months pregnant...you just want food to appear. So here is how I have been handling those situations.
First things first, for anyone local in Chicago, I'd love to give a shout out to the fine folks at the Misericordia Hearts & Flour Bakery. I have blogged about their wonderfulness before; this great organization provides job opportunities for adults with development disabilities, which is tremendous. Also tremendous is that they sell many vegan baked goods at Chicago Farmers' Markets around the city - hurrah! I've already warned the Misericordia folks that I will be making weekly trips to pick up their delicious chocolate-cranberry cookies until this little girl is born. :) Or, if you aren't local, you can order a vegan variety box here:
Finally, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the findings at my local Target. I have been really impressed with their growing selection of frozen vegan items. Typically, as I have written before, I usually do our shopping at Whole Foods (because yes, you can shop there and not go broke, and I often find that my vegan staples are much cheaper there than anywhere else), but since I've been on more of a pre-packaged kick lately, I've been taking advantage of the sales and discounts at Target. And, of course, I want to reward Target for carrying vegan items at reasonable prices!
So what have I been enjoying at Target lately?
- Gardein. I admit, it took a little while for Gardein to grow on me. Then when I ate Gardein products at Wynn in Las Vegas (which, by the way, is entirely deserving of a post of its own), I realized that I had skipped out on Gardein way too early. Gardein now has a place in our home. My favorite lately? The Beefless Sliders! So tasty, so easy to prepare, and one of my favorite vehicles for eating Earth Balance Olive Oil Mindful Mayo.
- Amy's Kitchen. Amy's products are all vegetarian, and I've noticed that more and more are vegan. For example, Veggie Loaf, which used to have honey in it, has now been reconfigured to be vegan. And it's delicious. I also appreciate how clearly the packaging identifies what is vegan and what is not. My go-to favorites lately have been the Black Bean Vegetable Enchilada and the Spaghetti Italiano.
My hope is that I will keep posting other products that I stumble upon that I really enjoy. Sure, in an ideal world, we would all be cooking from scratch all the time, but at the same time, for whatever reason, it's not always the most realistic approach. So don't feel bad if you need to indulge in taking a little help from the microwave at times - the animals will still thank you and you will still feel better!