Simple ways to eat vegan with non-vegan family

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by JL FIELDS on APRIL 2, 2013

Last Tuesday we landed at the Quad Cities airport and made a quick stop at the a health food store in Moline, Illinois before driving an hour and a half to Burlington, Iowa to be with our family. I wanted to have a few staples on hand so that my vegan diet didn’t become an issue. I was prepared to live the vegan life that I know and love. A joyful one.

Heritage Natural Foods in Moline IL

I picked up canned beans, tempeh, Field Roast sausages, vegetable broth, quinoa, vegan butter and a few vegan nutrition bars, and a bag of mixed nuts and seeds.

Later that day, after visiting for hours with the family, they decided to order pizza – the pizza parlor confirmed they use butter and eggs in their dough. No problem. I grabbed some veggies, a skillet and crumbled up a Field Roast Sausage to make this salad.

Crumbled Field Roast Sausage Salad on JL goes Vegan

The next morning I broke out some tempeh for breakfast – a little scary to serve to very-non-veg people – but I offered breakfast sandwiches to my sister and niece. They were game! I just poured a little syrup in a bowl, added chili powder, stirred and dipped each piece of tempeh (four) into it. I heated about 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet on medium-high.  I fried the tempeh on one side for our minutes, flipped turned the heat down to medium and fried for another four minutes.

Tempeh Breakfast Sandwich

They loved it.

My husband, niece and I had to run a few errands to run later in the day.  I had her call a couple of Mexican restaurants and she found one that didn’t use lard in their beans or chicken stock in their rice. Score!

Potato Enchilada and Bean Burrito Casa Fiesta in Burlington, IA

It was a quiet night at mom and dad’s, and I wasn’t very hungry, so I just sautéed some lentils with onion and served them in a snall bowl with raw greens. I had more lentils, and toast, for breakfast the next morning.

After the funeral and burial we had a “fellowship” dinner at the church.  I knew there was a very slim chance I would have anything to eat – and that’s okay because that dinner was not about me.  There was one pasta salad, tossed in Italian dressing, and I put a spoonful on my plate and I quietly opened a chia and flax seed-filled protein bar and place it on my plate. I was perfectly content as I visited with my family.

After the funeral we picked up a few bottles of wine (hey, the day called for it!) and, because I’m always curious, I checked out the organic section (Health Market) of Hy-Vee. Well, well, well! Tofurky deli slices and several vegan cheese options (includingDaiya!).  I picked up Tofurky slices and Tofutti sliced cheese so while everyone enjoyed leftovers from the fellowship meal I had a vegan sandwich. Yay!

The next day I had Field Roast sausage sandwich and large salad for lunch.

Friday night Dad put a pot roast on the stove. I asked him to give me a thirty minute warning. I made quinoa in vegetable broth with a little cayenne pepper. I dry-sautéed celery, garlic, and onion in a skillet for a few minutes on medium-high, added a can of drained and rinsed black beans, stirred in chili powder, a splash of vegetable broth and let it simmer on low for about five minutes. Just before serving I added about five jalapeño-stuffed olives, sliced, to the skillet, then tossed the beans and quinoa.

Black Beans with Jalapeño Stuffed Olives and Quinoa on JL goes Vegan

The rest of the family had my beans and quinoa as a side dish and enjoyed it. It was so good I had the leftovers Sunday morning for brunch!

Saturday we went back to the Mexican restaurant for lunch and that night we went to the only vegetarian restaurant in Burlington, Iowa, Mr. Motos Public House[click to continue…]

JL Fields is co-author of the forthcoming Vegan for Her: The Women’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet and writes the blog JL goes Vegan.

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