Thursday, December 13, 2007

Convenient Burritos Not Vegan

Cedarlane Foods had a labeling problem that resulted in a minor recall. The burritos use soy cheese but it's made with dairy casein. The large boxes are labeled properly, but the individual burritos were not.

Sadly, if you thought these burritos were vegan, you were mistaken.

From the FDA recall news feed:

"Cedarlane Natural Foods of Carson, California is conducting a voluntary recall of Cedarlane Low Fat Bean Rice & Cheese style Burritos because they contain undeclared casein, a milk protein. People who have an allergy, or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. No illnesses have been reported to date.

The reason for this voluntary recall is due to the fact that an allergen, casein, (a milk protein) was not noted on the printed packaging of the individual units. Specifically, the printed outer carton contains the word casein in the allergen statement. The individually wrapped burrito however does not reference casein in the allergen statement. The labeling error was detected by a routine review at Cedarlane Natural Foods as well as the Food and Drug Administration.

Cedarlane Low Fat Bean Rice & Cheese Style Burritos are available in a 6 oz plastic film wrapped packaging as well as cartons of an 8 count, 6 oz family pack. The affected open code dates are from "062808A" (June 28, 2008) through "082908A" (August 29, 2008) and is located on the bottom right, after the heating instructions, of the print plastic wrap of the individual burrito. The open code date of the outside printed carton is similar to that of the individual units but without the 'A' and can be found on the right hand side panel, near the bottom of the carton.

Cedarlane Low Fat Bean Rice & Cheese style Burritos are distributed through all 50 states (U.S). Consumers that possess this product with the respective open code dates are advised by Cedarlane Natural Foods to return the product to the store of purchase for a full refund. Refunds can be obtained until June 1, 2008.

Grocers and distributors have been advised by Cedarlane Natural Foods to withdraw the product with respective open code dates listed above from sale and hold it for pick up from the company. Consumers with any questions may contact the company either by telephone at (800) 826-3322 and speak with Linda Manzo, extension 800, or by e-mail at"

I'm thinking Cedarlane needs a few emails sent to them asking that they make their burritos the vegan way.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Frugal Essentials

How many times have you heard or thought that being vegan is expensive?

A lot of people have the misconception that special diets require more money than traditional diets. It's not true and one blogger proves it. One Frugal Foodie blogs about a variety of special diets, (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, etc.), all the while showing how to be thrifty. In a recent post, the Frugal Foodie outfits a kitchen with necessary cooking equipment with less than $100. Here are the recommended items:
  1. $10 - Spice Grinder
  2. $25 - Blender
  3. $11 - Rice Cooker
  4. $11 - Electric Tea Kettle
  5. $15-20 - Hand Mixer
  6. $10 - Toaster
It got me thinking: this is a great list of tools for a cabin, dorm, RV, or motel. It's perfect for the traveling or temporary vegan who cooks.

Read the whole article for more details >>

Monday, December 10, 2007

Free Convenient Vegan Meals

What's more convenient than eating free food someone else prepares? Well, if you're interested in going that route, try prison!

Hahaha, just kidding.

But PETA just released a list of the top ten vegan-friendly US prisons.
It's worth a look >>

Friday, December 7, 2007

Quick 'n easy snack

toast with tomatoes This simple snack - or lunch, or, for that matter, breakfast - can be made with bread or bagel. Toast the bread, layer thin tomato slices, drizzle with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with pepper or lemon-pepper. Add salt if you like. It's easy and it's elegant. And it's good. Another variation is to slice some avocado onto the top, sprinkle with a bit of fresh cilantro.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ode to the pressure cooker

There are specialized pans to have, and specialized pans to not have. The pressure cooker is one to have if you ever cook at all.

Pressure cookers are good for vegetables, grains and dried beans, use much less energy and time to cook and therefore are also good for the environment and for you.

For example, you can "presoak" dried beans in a pressure cooker in five minutes, and then cook the beans (with all the trimmings) for about a half-hour or 45 minutes and you're done. With prep time (chopping onions and carrots and so on) and time to bring the pot up to pressure, then, getting dried beans on the table, cooked perfectly, will take about an hour and a half - or less. Cooking beans conventionally can take up to eight hours for presoaking plus two to three hours for cooking, not including prep time. I have learned that sometimes the beans I buy are not the freshest (yes, there is a difference in dried beans) and they take a really long time to get done. Even the tough ones give in to pressure cooking, though.

Pressure cookers do an admirable job on fresh veggies, like carrots, and on grains like rice and can even be used to make some interesting desserts. You might be lucky, like I was, and get one for free on freecycle or craigslist, but however you get it be sure to use it!


picture of hash

So you decided to cook the other day? Or you went out to dinner and couldn't finish? So there are bits and pieces of leftovers in the fridge? And maybe you are a little leftover-phobic? Hash might be the solution. Hash can be made with a wide variety of leftovers, combined with a few fresh ingredients if you like.

Hash usually contains potatoes so if your leftovers don't include any you might want to zap one in the microwave. Hash usually contains some sort of protein thing, too, and bits of whatever else might go with it. My general method is:

Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a frying pan. Chop up a bit of onion, toss it in. The onion usually goes first, if you are going to use it, because it needs the chance to soften up. Add any other fresh veggie type ingredient, like bell pepper, and any fresh protein thing, like the fresh mock sausage (gimme lean is one type) so these things can cook a bit and even get a little crispy, then the chopped cooked potato. Turn the heat up a little to crisp it up (I think hash should have some crispness to it), then it's nice to add a bit of spinach or other bright green leafy veg (I use frozen). Sprinkle with some paprika or red pepper (depending on your heatness tolerance and what's in the hash) and some parsley and pepper, and that's it. At the table you can give it a shake of salt if you like.

The hash pictured has onions, leftover half baked potato, leftover cooked portabello mushroom, a bit of fresh gimme lean sausage, 1/4 red bell pepper, a bit of firm tofu, sliced, and a sprinkling of spinach. It tasted great!
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Convenient Vegan Gifts

Want to give a gift to a vegan? Or how about a vegan gift to anyone? Here are some vegan gift ideas. But since this is Vegan Convenient, all these gifts are pre-made, ready to go, totally convenient:

Vegan Gift Baskets:

Vegan Divine makes some wonderful looking gift baskets. They have a special holiday basket (shown here).
Check out Vegan Divine for more information >>

The Vegan Store has lots of vegan gifts including an assortment of gift baskets. These baskets are pre-made so all you have to do is buy one and have it sent to your special someone.
Check out the Vegan Store for information >>

The Vegan Gift Shop has some baskets as well. One great choice is the cookie basket.
Check out the Vegan Gift Shop for more information >>

Vega*n Magazines:
What's easier than a magazine subscription? They make great gifts both for the giver and the receiver!

Veg News is an excellent veg*n magazine that most vegans, vegetarians, and health conscious people will enjoy. Another good option is Vegetarian Times magazine.

T-shirts, belts, purses, and shoes are good gifts for people you know well. Just be careful and get the right size.

This cute shirt comes from Alternative Outfitters, a vegan boutique.
Check out Alternative Outfitters for more information >>

Matt & Nat is a vegan purse company. They make awesome, beautiful bags. The purse above is from their holiday collection.
Check out Matt & Nat for more information >>

Support a vegan/animal organization:

Buy something from a non-profit.

This heart necklace comes from the PeTA shop.
Check out PeTA's store for more >>

Or you can gift a wine membership from the Humane Society.
Check out the Humane Society for more information >>

These are just some of ideas for convenient vegan gifts. I'm sure you can come up with more ideas...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Trying out a new cookbook

I purchased this cookbook recently and am testing some of the recipes. From a quick review of the pages I think I will find it useful.

This is a variation of one of the dishes in the cookbook. The dish goes by the title of "sauteed cabbage/corn" (I don't know why the slash. Why not just "cabbage and corn"?)

The recipe calls for a 6-ounce package of vegan "bacon", chopped, a small green cabbage, a ten-ounce box of frozen corn, and three tablespoons of vegetable broth. My version depended on what I had in the fridge: two vegan Italian sausages, a small chunk of cabbage, a bag of frozen corn, veggie broth. The dish goes together quickly and tasted good. I suspect the cookbook version, with more cabbage (I like the Italian sausages and would probably stick with those) would taste even better than what I made.

The combination of sausage and cabbage is a good one, good country fare really. Most of the recipes in this book make no pretensions about being elegant or gourmet. There are few ingredients, most easily-available and familiar. From what I have looked over (but not yet cooked) I think it's a good book to have on the shelf and I expect to use it rather often.