If you’re just starting on your vegan journey, or maybe just want to eat a little bit more plant-based, this post is for you! These are some really easy vegan grocery list swaps you can make. These were all purchased from Whole Foods, but any large grocery store should have most of these items.
Even if you’re not ready to make a switch to vegan at this point, keep your eyes out next time you go through the grocery store. Maybe walk a bit slower, and you might find there are actually TONS of vegan alternatives for you to try! Going vegan is often seen as a “limit”, your “limiting” what you can eat. Really, that’s just a frame of mind. I eat WAY more foods now that I’m vegan than I ever did previously and don’t see it as a limit at all. And for all the favorites like ice cream and sour cream, I can still buy the vegan version!
After having some amazing vegan pecan pie over the holidays, I knew I wanted more pecans in my life! The problem with pecan pie? It’s time consuming to make a full crust, and the pie is just so big that you need so many people to help finish it! Enter, vegan pecan pie tarts!
They are easy to serve – no more messy cutting into a pie. They’re already all set in individual serving size. These are way faster than making a regular pecan pie from scratch (those crusts are so time consuming!) They use a simple cupcake muffin tin so you don’t need any fancy baking supplies. You can eat them with your hands, or dress them up and serve them on a plate as you would with pie. They are also undetectably vegan – my brother is a pecan pie fan and thought they’re as good as any he’s had!
You’ll need a food processor for the crust, some coconut oil to grease the muffin tin, and the muffin tin. Once you make the crust, you’ll get those in the oven while you start preparing the filling. The filling gets made quickly, so it’s best to have all of the ingredients pre-measured and ready to go since you’ll make this over the stove. Then you’ll scoop the filling into the crusts, and you’ll bake it a bit longer at a lower heat so the crust doesn’t burn. Pop them out carefully – I slide a toothpick around the outer edge and gently apply pressure upwards once I have all sides loose.
CRUST is adapted slightly from Deliciously Ella’s recipe here:
FILLING is adapted slightly from America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, Vegan For Everybody
Other dessert recipes you may like:
Granola is something that goes quickly in this household! Between topping our breakfast smoothie bowl with it, eating it mixed in cashew yogurts, or having a bowl on its own for breakfast (or dessert!) we go through a lot. It’s way easier to know how to make it at home than to keep buying it from the store. Plus, you get control over the flavors you want! This apple cinnamon granola is one of my favorites!
Once you get the basics down, you can really swap in and out so many different ingredients to get it to your liking. It’s nice to always have granola on hand for that extra crunch and I always enjoy my homemade granolas much more than the store bought. Maple syrup can get pricy, so you could go with a less expensive kind since we are just after the sweetness here, but beware of low quality brands that include lots of added sugar.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
Mix the oats, cinnamon, salt, flour, and almonds together.
In another bowl mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla together and then pour into the dry mixture.
Stir in the chopped apples.
The mixture should be wet, but not soaking. If it feels too wet, add a little bit more oats until it is more like a wet sand consistency.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pour the mixture on the parchment paper lined sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, mixing around halfway through. Granola can burn easily, so keep a close eye on it.
Best consumed within 3 days and stored in airtight container.
Other tasty snacks you may like:
Protein bliss balls are the easiest thing to make, and pack a punch with nutrition. These babies reminded me of oatmeal cookie dough, and so got their name.
They’re a quick and healthy snack to grab. Dates are packed not only with lots of fiber, they also provide a ton of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and copper. The protein powder gives you a little boost there, and the oats add some energy with their carbs and a little more fiber. The added cinnamon and raisins really give it a cookie dough flavor so these also work for dessert, while still being guilt-free.
This recipe makes about 15-18 tablespoon size balls.
Store in an airtight container on the counter. They’ll last for 1 week at room temp, or 2 week if you keep them in the refrigerator.
You may also enjoy a similar recipe:
Learning how to set goals and achieve them does not need to be a scary thing. It does not need to be an end-of-the-year thing. And most definitely should not make you feel guilty about where you’re currently at.
Before I knew how to properly set goals, I was overwhelmed with trying to meet all the goal “criteria”. Is it measurable, achievable, blah, blah, blah. My version still uses these pillars, but in a less structured way. These buzz terms just make it way more complicated than it needs to be. Goal setting does involve time — after all, it’s your process of how you’re going to get from A to B, but it can be a fun and insightful process.
So here are my tips…
This part requires the most up front thinking. It’s probably the part you least want to do, but is also the most important. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. Start by writing down (yes, write down) all of your ideas. Some good prompts are:
This process should take a good hour. Really dive deep on what you picture for the following year.
Once you have all of these ideas written out, start to look through for patterns. Do you see certain words popping out a lot? Or maybe certain names? Do you get a general vibe or feeling from what you wrote down, perhaps growth focused, perhaps health focused, etc? Once you go through and pick out some patterns or ideas you really love, start to reconfigure those into initial goal ideas. This may involve re-wording some of your ideas, or combining words you see throughout into one consolidated goal idea, or simply picking out patterns. My goal ideas at this point usually are just categories, for example “Less Waste”, “Exploration”, “Balance”, “Personal Fulfillment”, “Financially Responsible”.
From your goal ideas, pick 1-8 that you are most passionate about. Are you willing to sacrifice things to meet these ideas? Will you get closer to where you want to be with everything you wrote down in your first step? Consider adding in a verb here (this is where that “actionable” comes in). But honestly, if your goal is “take care of myself” that’s fine too because we’re going to build out the action part in the next steps to make it more specific.
Once you have your goals written out, you are going to take a deeper dive into each one to create actions around it, and a timeline. To come up with the actions within the goal, I find it’s best to think about what needs to happen from now, to the end of the year (or quarter, however long you want to have this goal for) – what are all the things you’re going to DO from now until then? Then, break the goal down into 2-3 mini goals, each mini goal having 1-3 actual steps to achieve. For example, a goal of “Enhance Relationships” could have mini goals of “Enhance family relationships” with actionable items of – make a list of fun activities to do with my nieces – plan a recurring bi-weekly facetime call with my parents – plan a quarterly family activity; “Enhance friendships” could have – text a check in every week to 3 friends – Host a quarterly dinner or game night – write down birthdays and purchase cards to have on hand. And the third mini goal of “Prioritize my marriage” could have- date night on the 19th every month – put away our phones after 8pm – read the marriage book together. These are just examples, yours may look totally different!
The next thing you’re going to do is make a deadline when you are going to complete those smaller tasks under each mini goal! Some of these tasks might be monthly, like a monthly date night, or some of them are quarterly, like planning a family activity. Schedule EVERYTHING out in your calendar and make sure you’re spacing these steps out throughout the year so you aren’t overloading yourself in January, February and March. If you try to do too much at once, it’s not going to stick! Maybe some goals you’re in okay shape on, so you can wait to work on your finance goals until July, etc.
I honestly hate this term, but it is important to make sure you’re actually sticking with your goals and that they’re working for you. I set up a calendar, basically a “To Do” list, so I can make sure I’m tracking if I’m taking my vitamins, how many times a week I’m working out, if I checked in with my friends, etc. If there is a task or part of a goal that just doesn’t excite you, then maybe remove it next quarter, or reword it so it motivates you and change the mini goals! Look back at your big picture of where you want to be as well, sometimes that lights a fire.
Have you heard the phrase, “nothing changes if nothing changes”? Learning how to set goals is important to help you live a life that YOU want to have. There are bound to be curveballs, and that’s okay. Some things might not get done, but just because one or two things didn’t happen or you fell off the wagon for two months straight, that doesn’t mean you should throw in the bag. Any progress is good, and we’re all about progress not perfection! Goal setting has become a big part of my life to hold myself accountable to ME. Only add goals on your list that YOU want to achieve, because if you are doing something for the wrong reasons, believe me, it won’t stick and you won’t achieve it! Take care of yourself and give yourself grace – life is sticky and messy and sometimes but flowers grow through dirt, and so can you!
To be honest, peppermint is not my favorite flavor. But this holiday season, I decided to test it out in a way that would not be overpowering. Enter, the vegan chocolate peppermint cookies!
I used the exact same chocolate cookie as my Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe. Super minimal, yet effective.
If you are not a huge peppermint fan like myself, you know how wrong too much peppermint can go. I debated adding peppermint extract to the dough itself, but honestly, the peppermint candies are the perfect amount. You can still taste all the yummy and moist chocolate, and get a nice crunch and subtle peppermint flavor.
Kugel is a classic Jewish dish, and this is my vegan noodle kugel version! It seems like every family has their own heirloom recipe. My favorite noodle kugel is from my grandmother’s recipe who died when I was only a few years old, so I unfortunately don’t have any memories of her making it. But my mom continued to make her recipe for us and has become very nostalgic for me.
When I started eating entirely plant based, I knew I needed to make a vegan version of this favorite recipe of mine. I expected to need multiple versions to get it right, but it actually turned out to be very straightforward with the plant substitutions!
It is a traditional Jewish baked casserole, typically served at lots of holiday feasts. It can be savory or sweet, but I’ve only ever had the sweet versions, so this one is too! It also has lots of eggs and dairy and when it bakes, the casserole becomes very custardy. It also typically uses egg noodles which are thin and don’t fall apart when served.
It’s really easy to make, and then just goes in the oven to bake. Because it’s a casserole dish as well, you’ll likely end up with leftovers. It also tastes pretty darn similar to the dairy and egg version. Mine didn’t “stick” together in the exact same way as the traditional version, but I thought the taste was spot on!
Other pasta dishes you may like:
This year may look a little different with COVID keeping many families apart this holiday season. So I’ve got a 4 person Christmas table design ready for some inspiration! Just because all of your family may not be together, doesn’t mean you can’t still make it cozy and intimate for the loved ones or friends in your household. All photos below are by The Ganeys.
For more tabletop designs, check out our tips on How To Design a Modern Thanksgiving Table.
It can feel overwhelming or daunting to go on journey to be more eco friendly. So I’m breaking it down into bite size pieces with this sustainable swaps series. Today, I’ll be focusing on sustainable swaps for your kitchen.
There are lots of little things we can do as individuals to reduce our footprint and impact on our planet. These are just a few easily actionable items you can swap to this month to make your kitchen a little bit greener!
Instead of constantly buying paper towels that get tossed in the trash, try out some resusable paper towels. I find it becomes more convenient to use the reusable option when I keep a small basket under the sink to put the used ones in as I clean. These reusable options will last for years and don’t continue to cut down our forests. It can take some time to get used to reusable paper towels, so you can start by taking a baby step by committing to use these to wipe down the countertops and table surfaces. The more reasonable switch you can make, the longer lasting the change will be and therefore more impactful!
Making the swap from plastic straws to bamboo, stainless steel or glass options is one of the easiest swaps to make. There are seriously endless reusable straw options out there these days, theres really no excuse to use a plastic straw these days. It is estimated that in the US we use 500 MILLION PLASTIC STRAWS EVERYDAY! These are all SINGLE USE and go straight into landfills and our oceans. Reusable straws are not only stylish, but a zillion times more eco friendly than single use plastic ones. If you want something extra aesthetically pleasing, check these out!
You can ditch the plastic dish soap vessels and opt for this great reusable option from Blueland. According to Blueland, a household goes through 30 of the single use plastic dish soap bottles every year. In my apartment building of 20 units, thats 600 plastic dish soap bottles! Just from my building alone! When you realize how much waste there is, it’s a lot easier to know that your small actions are going to have a mighty big impact. Being confident in my positive impact also helps me stick with a swap that may not seem the most convenient at first.
Instead of buying your trash bags at the store that are made with brand new plastic, commit to purchasing these bags made from 100% recycled single use plastic. We are all going to create trash, but even in your trash you can still make a more conscious decision and effort to be more sustainable. For this sustainable swaps for your kitchen, why not use bags that are made from past single use plastic trash!? Plus, with every purchase you are supporting Grove Collaborative’s mission to remove litter from our waterways. Win, win!
You’ll find no shortage of silicone kitchen bags out there! I personally use Stasher bags and LOVE them. While you do have to take the effort to clean them out after you use them, it is well worth the effort for how much plastic you’re saving from landfills and our oceans. Also, Stasher makes it super simple for you because all of their bags are dishwasher safe AND freezer safe! They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so I actually find they are more versatile than any other bag!
Saran wrap is one of the biggest single use plastic culprits. Now, you can just use these reusable storage wraps! You simply wash them in cold water after each use and hang to dry (I usually lay it across the top of another bowl or cup on my drying rack). The best part, once you get all the use you can out of these, they are 100% biodegradable and compostable. I have not found a vegan wrap option, all I have found do contain beeswax. Please let me know if you have a vegan option you love!
While it can feel like a big monetary commitment initially to make sustainable swaps for your kitchen, a lot of the swaps are going to be reusable, so in the long term, that actually means more savings for you, and more love for our planet.
These protein date balls are the perfect mid-day snack, post-workout snack, and even dessert. Date balls are so versatile and healthy you can feel good eating them anytime of the day.
They’re packed with tons of protein from the two types of nuts – almonds and walnuts – and protein powder. Plus, you’ll get an extra boost of fiber, vitamins and minerals from the medjool dates and coconut flakes!
I love these because they’re SO simple to make, the flavor packs a punch, and they’re a great grab-and-go quick snack. Because of the fiber in the dates, they’re actually a little filling despite their size so they’re great post-workout.
They literally could not be easier. Gather all the ingredients and pit the dates. Then toss it all into the food processor and blend up! Blend them about 1 minute, and then scoop about 1.5 tablespoons worth and roll into a ball. boom! That’s all you have to do!
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp water
If you’re looking for other protein packed favorites, try this pumpkin spice almond butter.