For A Nut Butter Snack

I grew up in grocery stores. Both of my grandparent's owned grocery stores and I have fond memories of "helping" out when I was younger, licking stamps, running errands, and of course eating the donuts! 

This could be why I love grocery stores today. I can (and have been known to) spend hours in a any type of grocery store in any city. This guilty pleasure served me well yesterday. 

My son loves to snack on Justin's Maple Almond Butter Squeeze Pack. These are great because they are small and slim and can go anywhere. I usually give them to him after I pick him up from preschool. Because they have a no nut policy I don't pack them in his lunch. He sure loves eating it though when we are on our way home. I buy these at Whole Foods but I have seen them at regular mainstream grocery stores. 

Not too long ago I was wishing that Sunbutter would make a squeeze pack so that I could pack it in my son's lunch box for next year. Last night when I ran into a Stop and Shop to get something I spent a little but of time in their natural foods section and viola - 

Here is what they look like individually.

There are other nut butters out there besides peanut butter as well as other "butters" like Sunbutter that are completely nut free. I would highly suggest you try them because they are delicious and provide variety to your diet. Following is a list (I may be missing some important ones so feel free to comment and add your own) of Nut Butters.

Nut Butters
Coconut Butter - if you ever get to a store that sells this buy it then go into the aisle where they sell agave nectar and cacao nibs. Go home mix them together and pour into ice trays and freeze them. These are the most delicious summer treats! 

Non-Nut Butters (of which many of them are gluten free)
Soy Nut Butter - just a quick word about these products. If you have a sweet tooth you have got to try the chocolate soy nut butter, it is so good!
Pea Butter - that's right folks, pea butter made from the wonderful golden brown pea! 

Next time you go to make that all comforting peanut butter and jelly sandwich, remember that you now have more options than you could ever have imagined! These products are also good to have on hand in case you make a new friend that has a severe peanut allergy or if you simply want to provide your child with a nut free snack at school!


At the Campground Part 3

Our last full day in Maine and for lunch I had a gorgeous salad with avocado and sauerkraut. Steve and Keller had Sunbutter sandwiches made with gluten free bread by Ener-G. Sunbutter is a fabulous nut butter substitute and can be found at almost any grocery store these days. Go look for it and if you can't find it head on over to your local natural food store. I know that I once found Sunbutter at a Target. It's creamy and delicious and can be taken to schools that have nut free policies. 

These Greek Gigantic beans are one of the best foods that I have ever eaten. Of course when I can get the Greek beans I make them at home and the whole family gobbles them up. But, most stores do not carry these beans and you have to either order them online or go to a Greek Grocery store or if you are lucky like me ask a family member that has brought them back from Greece if you can take some. 

Luckily, I found that Trader Joe's sells them by the jar. They are the perfect food to take camping because they can be eaten right out of the jar or heated up in a pan. 

Please don't think that we have forgotten our veggies. Steve cut up this beautiful zucchini that we steamed. We also had cucumbers and carrots and lettuce. 

Another easy thing to bring along would be applesauce. If you are packing for a camping trip and eat vegan or want to eat more of your meals as vegan than head on over to your produce section and grab lots of fruits and vegetables. Remember also that there is a vegan substitute for almost any meat and dairy based products out there you just have to know where to look. I hope that this site will offer ideas and knowledge about where to go and what to look for. 

We don't just eat lunch and dinner. I never took a picture of our breakfast because, well, I think they never lasted long enough to snap a photo. Every morning we headed into town and got a fresh fruit smoothie and then we topped that off with more fruit and more fruit and more fruit. 

I look forward to our next camping trip and I may just forget the stove again, on purpose this time. 


At The Campground Part 2

After dinner we enjoyed some special S'mores, Just because you are vegan doesn't mean that you can't partake in childhood delights like cooking marshmallows over a camp fire. Our son even found a great stick to use. Our son chose the Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Mint to go in the S'mores.

It takes a little bit more prep if you have to order the Dandies on line - mine came in 2 days thankfully, because I wasn't so good at remembering that I needed to order them. I ordered them through the website  Vegan Essentials. It's a good reliable site and it has a great selection.

Of course I couldn't not get Sweet and Sara's Peanut Butter Smores. When we lived in Denver there was a great vegan grocery store in Boulder called Three Little Figs and whenever we made the trip north I walked out of the store with one of these in my bag, okay, maybe two or sometimes even three! They are that good and well it was a long ride. 

Here we are giving our approval of the vegan S'mores! You can't get better then this and what's more relaxing than knowing that you aren't eating connective tissue and pig skin with your gourmet chocolate!

At The Campground Part 1

Camping is such a fun and relaxing way to spend time together as a family. There are many ways you can enjoy vegan food at the campground. You can set up your tent, go for a hike, and then drive into town and eat at a restaurant. You can make all your food ahead and bring it in a cooler. Or, you can find a great natural foods grocery store like A&B Naturals in Bar Harbor, Maine and load up on delicious and easy vegan food to enjoy at your camp site. We've done all of these things but my favorite is when we buy the food, support a local business, and eat simply but abundantly.

On our first night at the campground we were just starting to talk about dinner when my partner said "where's the camping stove?" We looked around and realized it was sitting at home snuggled against the bookshelf. I have to admit that normally I would have freaked out, 1. because I don't like forgetting things and 2. it meant that we now had to schlep into town and find a restaurant where we could all eat (little side note, my husband is eating gluten and soy free these days due to a ulcerative colitis and Crohn's diagnosis).

But what came out of my mouth shocked me- I laughed, a big hearty laugh and I simply didn't care. We needed this vacation more than you could believe and I was in my favorite place, Acadia National Park so a camping stove just wasn't going to bring me down. We didn't need a stove it turned out to cook our food, we cooked everything over the fire pit. A brilliant plan devised by my 5 year old son.

Here is what vegan's can eat on a camping trip.

This wonderful raw sauerkraut was locally made by Thirty Acre Farm and it was delicious. I ate it on top of Morningstar Farms Chikn' patties, by itself on a fork, and the next day on salad greens. 

This Morningstar Farms Chik'n Patty was very good and our son loved it too, he ate two before running off and playing a game. 

Spinach and artichoke hummus with soy free rice crackers is a wonderful way to get nutrients like protein and iron. 

Avocados are the ideal food and they taste great on their own, slathered over your vegan burger, sliced onto a cracker or cut up with blueberries and cucumber in a delicious salad. 

Traders Joe's sells some good vegan things. I wanted to pick up something special for our son and I thought chocolate soymilk would be fun for him. 

My husband enjoyed cooked gluten free pasta and a light tomato sauce. The water didn't take long to boil over the campfire although we did find bits of char hanging out with the pasta- but that's something you over look when out in wilderness. 

What Do Vegan's Eat

After living in the same city for 7 years I had gotten a bit complacent about informing people about eating a vegan diet. Our friends (many of whom are vegan or vegetarian) and people we knew were well past the point of asking what we ate. But, eight months ago we moved states and we've had to make new friends none of whom are vegan or vegetarian so the questions about what we eat are numerous.

I don't mind them in the least but I do feel out of practice with my answers. So, the other day I took some dip to a party and it was a hit, everyone wanted the recipe. I remembered that the best way to inform people about what we eat is to actually feed them. It takes a little more work since you end up bringing food everywhere but I find that people are less likely to say they couldn't do a vegan diet if they are actually eating the food in question!