Traveling Vegan: Ordering Food Out

I have been MIA for probably close to a month it feels like. I am not sure, I probably should’ve check my last post date. Either way. I have had a lot on my mind, changed jobs, and then had a huge fight in my family. Part of it had to do with my being vegan. Now if you have just started reading today, I am not vegan by choice. That is why I blog, so other beginner vegans can get through the hard part I didn’t know how to get through. The part where you want a cheeseburger and you don’t care about the damn animals. Well as you get deeper into being vegan a little part of you starts to care about the animals and then perhaps a big part of you (me) will eventually.

I got sick. I had an organ removed. So I am forever vegan. Period. My brother and his wife do not embrace this lifestyle and that is totally fine and up to them. No matter what the animal rights people say I will not push my lifestyle on them. But I would like a little compassion.

When I go out to eat, I have to be detailed and explain my dietary boundaries as a diabetic or gluten allergy person would. Explain what I can’t eat, what I can eat, and why so they understand I am not just being a pain for some new skinny diet. I really cannot eat that stuff and if I do there are major consequences. That being said, I do not go out a lot. I hate it, It’s hard, and stressful. Unfortunately, I have to (sometimes) for family events. During a recent family meeting my brother and his wife brought up how this makes them feel. To a very extreme degree. They deemed me annoying and impossible and that my discussion with the waiters was needless and ridiculous and too detailed. They do not seem to understand what happens when I get sick. Last year an ORGAN was removed. That is a pretty good reason in my book to take the time to explain in detail what I can’t ingest. However they do not agree and asked me to not do this and basically just order and hope for the best so they do not have to hear about it. My sister in law also went so far as to scream at me and repeat the comment that my food choices are “GROSS”. Well my darlings, this is where I must become less than pleasant.

When you go out to order your food, remember…. it is not gross, your order is not annoying, and your reasons (whatever they are big or small) are valid. If your order takes twenty minutes and they need to bring out a short hand court reporter. Let them. You should not have any food forced on you. This leads to food issues. Either overeating, undereating, or resentment. Be happy, be healthy, and tell those folks to go away. I hate food nazis. I don’t want to be told to be vegan, be vegetarian, or be omnivore unless it is by a doctor who has a reason.

Moving on.

So here are my other eating out and ordering tips:

  1. If you have an Apple IPhone: Apps are my best friends! Try the following: Calorie Count (it tracks nutrients), VeganXpress (it tells you by restaurant what you can eat there), HappyCow (it helps you find restaurants that are veggie friendly!), Specialty Produce (tells you what to do with those pesky unknown veggies you got in your CSA package), Dotti (also known as, this helps you find out nutritional info for healthy choices), and Vegan Steven gives some great recipes too!
  2. Some places can tell you if there is hidden dairy. The Cheesecake Factory now has a lower calorie menu that includes a little milk symbol!
  3. Ask your waitress or waiter about ingredients if you couldn’t find it online. I go to the website of the restuarant before I leave the house. If it isn’t on there I then ask the wait staff. One restaurant brought the box of frozen veggie burgers out at a airport to let me read the ingredients. It was amazing how kind they were!
  4. Most people know someone who is vegan. They will be compassionate and understanding if you take it all with a sense of humor. Say something fun like “I seem to be allergic to everything! Can you help me with the ingredients of this menu item?”
  5. Never back down. If they have the ingredients chances are they can make you something you can eat. Most places have veggies, pasta, rice, bread, and fruit. Ask for something simple like a pasta dish or rice sautee. They will accomodate you.

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins: The Joy of Vegan Baking Adaptation

So I love muffins and chocolate and bananas and my “Joy of Vegan Baking” Cookbook so when I saw a recipe for Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins I passed out in a heavenly rush on my kitchen floor! All jokes aside the recipe was easy and yummy and hit the spot. I could make a ton of them for a work related early morning meeting or just to snack away at throughout the week for the whole family. I even brought some to my neighbor’s house last night for the kids and they became the “best muffin I ever ate” by the 8year old omnivore at the house. So that being said, I knew I had to throw the adapted recipe up. The “Joy of Vegan Baking” calls for more chocolate chips which I am usually game for but in this case they were crumbling apart from the chips so I cut them in half and it was perfect. I also added a little more vanilla and some flaxseed powder. The muffins keep well and are pretty good ingredient wise with nuts, seeds, and 4 bananas. Can’t beat a semi-healthy muffin! Enjoy!



2cups All Purpose Flour (I use unbleached from Trader Joe’s)

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda

Pinch of Kosher Salt

1 Cup Vegan Sugar (Whole Foods has a good one)

1/3cup Canola Oil (Vegetable will work but Canola is better)

4 Bananas ripe or brown (deep yellow work best although brown are a little sweeter)

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp Mexican Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup Vegan Semisweet Chocolate Chips (green package at whole foods)

1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts

OPTIONAL: Add 2 tbsp powdered flaxseed for a little extra goodness, it won’t effect the flavor or texture!



Place paper in muffin tins. You can use folded parchment or just any good old cupcake paper wrapper. I have tons of old Christmas ones so red and green it is!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Get two bowls to mix in. One for wet ingredients one for dry. The larger one for the wet ingredients as you will add the dry to this mixture later.

Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt in on bowl (optional flaxseed powder). Lightly whisk to combine everything well.

Next, in the larger bowl or the “wet” bowl mix the oil and sugar until it looks like a yellow slushy.

Mash in the bananas to the “slushy” mix. Then add water and vanilla. Combine well.

Now sift the dry mix into the wet mix slowly. I would add about 1/8 at a time then stir in completely and sift in the next bunch to avoid those bubbles of lumpy dry mixture.

Once all is combined well stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

I did not add walnuts to one batch at the request of my neighbors kids the other day and the muffins were still deemed the “best muffin she has ever had”. 8 year old approval is a good thing especially an 8 year old omnivore! So nuts or no nuts they are A-OK. Moving on…

Scoop mixture into cupcake pan/cups. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup if my Ice cream scoop is unavailable.

Back for 25minutes in a gas oven it may take closer to 30 in an electric oven.

Take out, cool, and eat.

Vegan Bacon Mac and Cheese

So the other night I needed to get rid of the block of Daiya Cheddar Cheese I had in the fridge before it went bad. Not that I knew what the expiration date was but I knew it had been in there too long at this point. So I decided to make a cheese sauce. Then I went into the freezer for veggies and saw that the Maple Smoked Marinated Tempeh Bacon was long past overdue for getting into my stomach and decided it would be a junk food dinner night! Bacon mac and cheese had sounded like a good idea for a while but I was terrified that my execution of such a dish would come up wanting. So I made the sauce and then dipped a piece of the bacon I cooked up into it as a test. That test was the most delicious test I have ever taken. It came out well. The next question was will the tempeh get soggy or mushy and gross in the sauce? A day later still perfecto! There was only a little bit of oil separation in the container that I place in the fridge after 3 days. So those leftovers became my lunch and let me tell you, best lunch ever! The moral of this story: you can be vegan and still have bacon mac and cheese and enjoy like my husband the omnivore did. Just don’t steal my extra bacon slice I forgot to crumble and make yourself a sandwich before I am done cooking, like my husband did.



1 Box of Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh by Tofurky (Turtle Island Foods

Spray Oil

Macaroni or Fettucini

Olive Oil

1 8oz container of Vegan Cream Cheese

1/4 cup Vegan Sour Cream

1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan (I use galaxy foods)

1/2capful of lemon juice

1 Block of Daiya Cheddar Cheese (they sell them next to the shredded version at Whole Foods now)

Garlic Powder

Kosher Salt



Place olive oil in the bottom of a deep frying pan (3 inches or more should do). Just enough to coat the whole bottom. Added a thin layer of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt spread evenly.

Place all cheese products into the pan (cube the Daiya and cream cheese for faster melting). Place on low medium heat until melted. Add a splash of lemon juice and soymilk (original) if needed.

In a separate skillet. Spray oil on the bottom and cook tempeh until slightly dehydrated and very brown on both sides. The packaging says 2 minutes each side but I find longer is better as it does better the dryer it is. I had it on heat (low-low medium) for about 15mins.

Once bacon is cooked crumble it by chopping with the side of the metal spatula you used for flipping.

Make pasta of your choice (Macaroni or Fettucini seemed to be good options). Don’t forget to salt the water before boiling!

Drain once al dente.

Toss Pasta with Sauce. Add crumbled bacon after pasta is completely mixed in sauce. Mix bacon in well so it is coated. ( I held out one ladle of sauce and poured it over crumbles so it mixed easier).

Let sit a few minutes to thicken and Serve!


PS This is great served as leftovers and keeps well if it lasts which in my house it did not. My omnivore husband gobbled up a mixing bowl size portion of it and then made a bacon sandwich with some bacon I hadn’t crumbled yet. The more bacon the better, the flavor comes out well. Next time I may add another 50% more bacon to the mix as it was THAT important. I do not have any pictures yet because I wasn’t sure how well it would go but take my word for it, its yellow, creamy, cheesy goodness!



Adaptations: place all in a casserole dish and top with panko breadcrumbs, Earth Balance butter, and Wayfare Foods Pig Out Whole Grain Bacony Bits for a more homestyle feel and a bit of crunch! I am semi-obsessed with the bacony bits btw!