Vegan Bytes #07: Vegan Holidays Issue

In this issue...

*Veganizing Holiday Recipes
*Vegan Gift Ideas
*Quitting Meat Without Support
*Gingerbread Recipe

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Do you "veganize?"

"To veganize" is a popular verb in the vegan world. To many new vegans, turning an old, unedible (but once delicious) recipe into one that works with their new diet can seem daunting, and the finished product can seem amazing. Can it really be true that baked goods don't need animal products to taste good? Yes!

Some vegans avoid veganized recipes, standing by the philosophy that veganism is about what you can eat rather than what you can't eat. Many vegans I know actually eat a wider variety of foods from different cuisines than non-vegans. You would be surprised what the world offers when you begin to look outside of the food you are accustomed to eating.

I love to veganize dishes, and I find that it opens my world to allow me to use "regular" cookbooks and change the recipes to fit my needs.

Turning an favorite holiday recipe into one that conforms to a vegan diet isn't hard, and it allows you to eat absolutely anything you want.

Veganizing main entrees:

  • Seitan is a magical thing-- if you eat gluten, you can make it taste like any kind of meat your dish calls for
  • Freezing tofu gives it a meatier consistency that adapts well with any marinades
  • Shreaded tempeh works great to bulk up sauces and patties
  • Try some cheese replacements
  • Look for some amazing nut cheese recipes

Veganizing desserts:

  • Use non-dairy, non-hydrogenated butter in place of cow's milk butter, I like Earth Balance
  • Ener-G egg replacer is the easiest replacement for desserts
  • Tofutti makes cream cheese and sour cream
  • Silken tofu is an easy sub for recipes that call for egg yolks
  • Soy milk works great as a sub for cow's milk
  • Buttermilk can be made with 1 tbsp. of vinegar or lemon juice added to a cup of soy milk

For more information on egg substitutes and milk substitutes, visit Vegan Nutritionista.

Vegan Gift Ideas

Stuck on what to get the special vegan in your life? Most typical gifts will qualify as vegan, but if you want to really impress someone, think outside the box.

For the new vegan, learning to cook without animal products can be a challenge, so a new cookbook is a great gift idea.

Also, for those who want to avoid animal products in clothing, switching over an entire wardrobe all at once can be expensive, so a new pair of shoes, handbag, wallet, or giftcard would be greatly appreciated.

More seasoned vegans might be inspired by some cute tee shirts that advertise their beliefs. Machines for the kitchen are always fun; check out soymilk makers, juicers, and blenders. And no matter how long your friend has been a vegan, who doesn't love a new pair of shoes?!

Here are some great vegan gift ideas:

Fighting for your diet

Dear Cathleen,

My husband refuses to give up meat. I tried to change my diet to give up meat, but hated it when there were two dinners being made on a single night because I didn't want to eat meat. We started fighting so much that I kinda gave up. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do so that my lifestyle change doesn't cause so much trouble?

~Kathy F.

Hi Kathy!

It's great to hear from you. I think your question is great.

Just so you know, almost everyone who decides to give up meat has to deal with this situation to some extent. What I've found is that even if you hope to change people's minds on food to make them healthier, you definitely can't force it. If you start pushing, they start pushing back even harder.

Make your own changes and other people will change if/when they see a difference in you. Or, they will just accept your choices and not give you a hard time about it.

Meat is really touchy for some reason-- people really hate the idea of having to give it up. It probably has a lot to do with how addictive it is-- it sets off some of the same receptors in the brain as heroin and other drugs!

What I would do is make meals that are nutritionally complete for you, but also add in the meat for your husband. So, if you are looking at your dish, half of it should be vegetables, a quarter should be a whole grain, and a quarter should be beans. Then add on whatever meat he wants. That way you're not making two meals, but just one extra piece of meat for him. If you are opposed to making the meat, maybe ask him if he can cook that part of the meal. Hopefully this wouldn't take any longer to make than normal, and you make him happy, without compromising your values.

In the meantime, he might start to notice changes in you-- maybe a little weight loss, maybe some increases in energy and decreases in fatigue, maybe even a little more mental clarity. Maybe eventually he will see that the meal is really filling even without meat. And maybe he will eventually cut back.

These are big maybes, and it's probably better not to try to force him to change his diet. I know many vegans who live happily with non-vegans. Relationships are often about compromise and always about respect for the other person's values.

I hope this helps!

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Vegan Gingerbread

My mom used to make this recipe from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook around the holidays and I always loved it. It's the old school gingerbread that comes out in loaf form. It's fragrant and soft and just delicious. The recipe was easily veganized. I find its flavors meld and it tastes even better after resting for a day or so. Try to resist eating it fresh out of the oven, I dare you!


2 Ener-G eggs
1/2 c. vegan sour cream
1/2 c. molasses
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat the Ener-G egg mixture with water until light and fluffy.

Add sour cream, molasses, and brown sugar, butter, and beat until well combined and smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the liquid and mix until just combined.

Transfer the dough to an oiled baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

That's all for this month!! I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Comments? Feedback? Ideas? I'd love to hear from you. I would love to add an "ask the editor" section to this newsletter with great questions and answers for all. Just reply to this newsletter and let me know what you think.

Enjoy the Holidays!

See you next month!


Here's a link to the Vegan Nutritionista blog, which has up-to-date info about the latest additions to the site. Click here on the blog page to see what's new.

Also, here is a link to backissues from Vegan Bytes.

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