Veg in Cow Country

cooking (and eating) vegan and vegetarian in the midwest

These are a few of my favorite things… Junk food! December 8, 2011

Filed under: Chocolate!,Comfort Food,Convenience — vegincowcountry @ 7:51 pm

*Photos are not mine

1. Oreos

Oreos are vegan! Growing up, Mom bought Hydrox, which are basically the same thing. Unfortunately, Sunshine no longer makes Hydrox, so we make due with Oreos. Definitely not health food, containing high fructose corn syrup and no doubt other fattening, not-good-for-you stuff, but we’ll ignore that when we get a craving — the important thing is no animal products! I prefer the Double Stuf variety — apparently, so does my cat. One day I came home for lunch, and apparently Matilda the cat didn’t expect me – she was lying on the living room floor with the package of Oreos, having chewed it open and was in the middle of a cookie. Being a cat, of course, she didn’t look the least bit guilty. If you like to dip your Oreos in… something, almond milk is just as good as dairy milk!

2. Krispy Kreme Glazed Cherry Pie

Krispy Kreme fruit pies are vegan! Though the word “pie” is a slight exaggeration for a lump of cherry pie filling (more filling than cherries) covered by a stale-tasting crust with a sugar glaze on top… Yum… I used to love Hostess’ cherry pie! Hostess contains lard, though, so finding that Krispy Kreme makes basically the same thing was a happy surprise. The sugar glaze really is the best part. 

3. Kettle-Cooked Mesquite BBQ Potato Chips

They have to be kettle-cooked, that’s mandatory, though the brand doesn’t really matter. The crunchier, the better! (Be wary of Lay’s Baked BBQ chips, not just because they are baked, but because they contain chicken fat – how’s that for weird??)

4. Taco Bell

I love Taco Bell. I mean really, really love Taco Bell… Since their rice and beans are both vegan, and they will substitute beans for meat in any menu item (no charge), they’re vegetarian/vegan-friendly. My favorites are the 7-Layer Burrito, pictured above (minus the sour cream and cheese), and bean burritos “fresco style” — which means they add pico instead of cheese and sour cream.  (FYI, their sour cream contains gelatin.)

5. Go Max Go Mahalo Candy Bar

I looked long and hard for a vegan candy bar, especially one that would taste like my favorite, Almond Joy. Mahalo is my new favorite candy bar, and it is even better than an Almond Joy, trust me. Go Max Go has a whole line of vegan candy bars: I found mine at Whole Foods. I was so thrilled that I emailed the company, receiving a prompt response, thanking me for my compliments (and promising to look into making a vegan Heath bar – heh heh!)

6. Trader Joe’s Soy Creamy Mini Chocolate Sandwiches

These things are seriously addictive. I mean it – when we got a Trader Joe’s in town, a friend told me I had to try these, but warned that they were almost TOO good. She was right. They’re considerably better than the Tofutti bars, in my humble opinion. I’m not an ice cream connoisseur by any means (I’d rather have chocolate cookies or cake most days) but  a good ice cream sandwich can really hit the spot. Maybe it’s time for another trip to TJ’s…

7. Burger King’s Veggie Burger

I had rarely eaten at Burger King before becoming a vegetarian, but when I learned they had a veggie burger, I became a loyal (if only occasional) customer. It’s a fast-food burger, not gourmet food, but as frozen veggie burgers go, this one is pretty darn good. Although it’s not vegan (contains egg whites and dairy), I consider it a great attempt by a fast food chain to offer something marginally healthy and vegetarian, so I reward them for it by spending a little money there. The fries are good, too (and not coated with animal fat, like some other chains).

I’m still looking for a good vegan chocolate-covered cherry – probably just not looking in the right places. But that’s what makes life fun, the hunt!

What’s your favorite vegetarian or vegan junk food splurge?


Dried Beans in the Crock Pot September 5, 2011

Filed under: Convenience — vegincowcountry @ 7:03 pm

Dried beans are much cheaper than canned – I figure I get about 4 cans’ worth of beans out of 1 pound of dried beans… at the same price as 1 can of beans! What do you do with 4 cans’ worth of beans that aren’t in cans? Pop them in Ziploc bags in 1 ½ cup portions (about what you’d get out of a can after draining the liquid) and freeze. They thaw nicely in the microwave whenever you need them.

For someone who works full-time (or just has better things to do at home than cook beans), however, soaking beans for hours or overnight and then boiling for at least an hour hardly seems worth it. But if you have a crock pot, all you have to do is rinse, toss beans and water in the pot, and turn it on high. I don’t use my crock pot much – mostly because the one Mom gave me a couple of years ago for Christmas is much, much too big for a single girl (6 quarts – do you think that’s a hint??) – but perfect for dried beans.

A pound of black beans plus 6 cups of water is done after 3 hours on high in the crock pot. And I’m free to wander off and blog and surf the internet do laundry, clean house, and run errands while they cook!


Papa John’s Pizza Party! August 25, 2011

Filed under: Convenience — vegincowcountry @ 7:33 pm

I love to cook, I really do. But I am not ALWAYS in the mood… I’ve had a rough week, and it’s only Thursday!!! So I decided to treat myself (and the menagerie) to a pizza party.

Yes, well, see, somebody got hungry before the camera came out. I swear, the dog did it! (Please ignore my dirty kitchen floor – as I said, it’s been a rough week)

Papa John’s makes the best no-cheese pizza of any national chain I’m familiar with. I order no cheese, extra sauce, mushrooms, black olives, onions, roma tomatoes and banana peppers (green peppers are not allowed anywhere near my pizza, thank you very much). Be sure and always order extra sauce with any cheese-less pizza or it is too dry.

If you’re a strict vegan, skip the garlic dipping sauce that comes with it, as it contains dairy. You can always make your own with softened margarine and garlic powder (something I’ve been known to do when Papa John’s dipping sauce runs out).
We won’t talk about how much pizza we ate tonight… But everybody shared! Goldie especially enjoys her pizza:

^Pizza monster…


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