Kid-Friendly Easy-Peasy Pasta (or the recipe that isn’t really a recipe)

I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve had fast-food anything in the past 10 years…but “fast-food”, that is to say, foods that can be prepared quickly, do have their place in our family’s meal repertoire.

With Guppy and Monsieur F. home every day for lunch, I try to keep things interesting, nutritious and affordable.  And quick.  While there are lots of  healthy and delicious things that I can whip up in just minutes, not all of them pass the Guppy-test, but this one does and it’s ready to eat in less than 30 minutes.

I’m not going to complain here : our daughter was the easiest kid in the world to feed for 4 years.  She’d eat just about anything from spicy lentil curries to tapanade.  She’d have her moments, but generally was very easy to please.  However, since turning 5 she’s gone into a more curious food-phase where she likes everything, sometimes.  One day she’ll love artichokes, the next will gag on them.  I let it go, because as my dear Mamafish would say, “if she’s hungry, she’ll eat.”, but it is still nice to see her clean her plate.  Broccoli, peas, spinach and mushrooms are still her top 5 foods, so I try to use them as often as possible, and will sub one of the above for the peas in this dish…but I didn’t want to lose the cute name and call it “Mushy-peasy Pasta” or “Easy-ccoli Pasta”.  But maybe I should?

Kids love me, you’ll see!

Easy-Peasy Pasta

For the child who doesn’t like rice or peanut butter & jelly sammies.

500 g whole-wheat pasta (mini-macaronis are our favourite)

Pot full of boiling, salted water

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp non-dairy butter

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

3 tbsp soy cream, soy yogurt or non-dairy milk (in order of preference)

2 to 3 handfuls frozen peas, rinsed under hot water

1 or 2 diced meatless-dogs or sausage (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

1) Prepare the pasta according to package instructions.

2) While the pasta is boiling, sautée the onion in the olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes or so.

3) Add the balsamic vinegar and set heat to low, stirring to keep the onion from sticking, then add the butter, soy cream and peas and stir until combined.

4) Drain the pasta and return to the pot, add the balsamic onion mixture and the nutritional yeast and stir until combined.  Add optional soydogs (if you’re in North America you can use Yves and I’m jealous!) and salt and pepper.

5) Youppie!  Eat a happy meal with your kidlet!

*I feel kind of guilty calling this a recipe, because it’s just pasta…but pasta with stuff, makes it fancier, right?

Qui veut des paratas? : Les Vendredis Francophones

Que-sont les paratas?  Similaire à des tortillas mexicaines, ces petites galettes indiennes s’invitent au repas facilement comme elles se préparent en un clin d’oeil et sont très facile à réaliser;  il vous faut 35 minutes en tout : 15 minutes de repos, environ 15 minutes pour la préparation et cinq minutes de cuission.  C’est du vrai “fast food”!

Lors de ma première visite à Londres j’ai pu enfin déguster de la vraie cuisine indienne.  Encore lycéenne, j’étais logée par une famille d’accueil fort sympathique qui ne se contentait pas de m’emmener au vulgaire resto du coin.  Pour mon repas initiatique c’était confection de repas en famille avec des petits plats maison mijotés avec amour.  Pauli, cuisinière accomplie, m’a montré comment confectionner  les paratas, et c’était la première fois que je faisais à manger – ou en tout cas aider – dans la cuisine.  Ce fut une soirée inoubliable, et je pense à eux à chaque fois que je fais  des paratas.

Ne soyez pas intimidés par les explications – vous verrez, c’est facile!  Suivez le guide…

nos paratas qu’on aime tant!

Pour 8 paratas

300 g de farine complète

1/2 c. à café grains de lin (facultatif)

1/2 c. à café lin de tournesol (facultatif)

2 pincées de sel fin

200 ml lait soja

8 c. à café de beurre végétal (St. Hubert Bio)

1) Dans un grand saladier, mélangez la farine avec le sel à l’aide d’une cuillère en bois.

2) Ajoutez petit à petit le lait, jusqu’à l’obtention d’une pâte souple et homogène.  Malaxer juste un peu : si votre pâte est trop humide, ajoutez un peu de farine, si à l’inverse elle est trop sèche ajoutez juste un peu de lait, une cuillère à café ou plus si nécessaire.

3) Laissez la pâte reposer 15 minutes.

4) Partagez la pâte en 8 boules.

5) Etalez les boules au rouleau pour former 6 galettes d’environ 15 cm de diamètre.

6) Déposez sur chaque galette 1 c. à café de beurre et étalez.

7) Roulez les galettes sur elles-mêmes afin d’obtenir 8 cigares.

8) Maintenant nous allons faire des escargots!

9) Etalez chaque escargot pour former une nouvelle galette.

10) Maintenant cuisez vos galettes dans une petite poêle anti-adhésive préalablement graissée avec un peu de beurre.

11) Ces galettes sont meilleures servies chaudes, directement de la poêle, donc servez-les sans attendre!

*ben ouais, il fait nuit à l’heure du dîner…désolée pour les photos jaunes!

Meal Plan Monday: Theme-Night Family Fun & More tester treats…

Despite the amazing weather and sunshine, I’m feeling the January “blahs”.  I’m not sure if you experience these, but for me it happens shortly after the holiday decorations come down and the afterglow of December’s festivities is as dark as these winter mornings and evenings.  I am, if you will, like a flower…I need long days of sunshine and gentle warm breezes to nourish me.


What do you do when you get the winter blahs?  This week The Fish Family will be having two “theme-nights” to break up the monotony of January.  Yes, we are throwing caution to the wind and serving up some festivesauce with an Irish Night and an Indian Night.  You’re jealous, aren’t you?

As many of you know, it really is the little things that matter, and though it might seem silly to tell Guppy, “Tonight, we’re travelling to India…” and spend our dinner talking about the animals, stories and people we could relate to the country of India, for the curious 5 year-old she is, it’s rather exciting.  I recycled a few old lesson plans I’d used for children and found some “Animals of India” colouring pages for her to work on while I prepare dinner tonight, and we could even extend the experience by watching “The Jungle Book” later in the week…it only takes a few minutes of planning to create an event out of what would otherwise be a boring Monday night dinner.

Theme-Night meals for teens or adults are not necessarily more labour-intensive, on the contrary!  Watching a film connected with your meal, or just the simple addition of pre-dinner cocktails, the apéro, if you will, can add sass and spark to a regular meal – even if your cocktails are non-alcoholic!

Smaller children will love making a game of something so ordinary, and it can help open up conversations with older kids, too.

Here’s our week :

Monday : Indian Night! Kale with raisins & Chana Dal* served with Paratas, and Kheer* for dessert.

Tuesday : Spirals with “Feta” & Spinach. – this one is from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen & Joni Marie Newman.  Many of you I’m sure all the recipes I teased you with while I was testing for this one (even though the silly publishers forgot to credit my name, grr!).  Now you can go get your own copy – you’ll be so happy you did!

Wednesday : Irish Night! Colcannon* with Irish Soda Bread and Seedcake* for dessert and Irish Coffee for the grown-ups!

Thursday : left-overs

Friday : Pizza Night!  This is our favourite night of the week, and we never grow tired of it.

The starred (*) dishes mentioned above are test recipes for The Urban Vegan’s book-in-progress, and here are a few pictures of what I was testing last week :

hot crossed buns

sweet mint tea

Shirley Temple (for Guppy!)

I’m actually testing much more than you’re seeing here, but with the absolute lack of daylight (Winter Blahs!) there has been a significant decline in food photos around here…long live March 21st!

Do you blog your weekly meal plans?  Let me know, I’d love to link to your plan to share the planning mojo with everyone.  And don’t forget, if you’re looking for meal plan inspiration you can visit the MPM archives.

Lemon Grissini Cookies, the recipe…

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Before I give you the coveted Lemon Grissini Cookie Recipe, I’d like to mention that friend, blogger and all-around super-hero mum Libby* of The Allergic Kid is giving away a copy of Food Allergies and Me.  I know many of my readers are in regular contact with children who have severe to life-threatening food allergies, and this book by Juniper Skinner is for them.  Food Allergies and Me describes safe ways for kids to react to and live with their allergies, so go visit The Allergic Kid and throw your name in the “comment box hat” for your chance to win a copy.

déjà vu?

Despite accidentally posting rather than saving my first draft (holy typos Batman!) the first installment of Les Vendredis Francophones was a huge success!  So funny how the most popular posts are often those with the least comments, don’t you think?   I know it’s taken me a while to get this translation up, but believe me, these are more than worth the wait.

These cookies are by far one of our favourites – they are Monsieur F’s absolute favourite.  Perhaps it’s thanks to their simplicity?  Just lovely lemon and a hint of sweet.  The Italian word grissini describes what is commonly known in North America as the humble bread stick (or so says Wiki).  It’s true here in France, and gressin describes a little cigar or, well, bread stick-type shape. This recipe has been translated from Italian to French (now to English), has been veganised and revised, but has held up just fine!

Quick, easy and perfect, you’ll be making these time and again…

Lemon Grissini Cookies

For about 20 grissinis

350 g AP flour

11 g baking powder

140 g sugar

110 g dairy-free butter

2 teaspoons Ener-G (enough to replace 2 eggs)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

the zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1) Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplats.

2) Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Mix the other ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth, then add this mixture to the flour, and continue mixing until the batter becomes smooth (it’ll stay together if you pinch it, even if it’s still a little crumbly).

3) Lightly flour your hands, then form small cigar-shaped cookies, about 12 cm long  (if it’s a little warm in your kitchen and your dough is sticky, just put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes).  Bake them for about 10 to 13 minutes or until they are firm to the touch, turning the baking sheet half-way through baking time.  Let them cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before gently transferring to a cooling rack.

4) Once they have cooled you can decorate with the optional lemon icing.

Lemon Icing

100 g powdered sugar

lemon juice

Using a fork, ix the sifted powdered sugar with the lemon juice, adding one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached a “drizzle-friendly” consistency.  Drizzle the grissini with icing and allow the icing to set.  If you dare.

*Why does Libby get super-hero status in my book?  Her sweet son has life-threatening food allergies.  Just let those words sink in, kids : life-threatening.  All parents fear the dangers that lurk around the paths their children take daily to school, to play, daycare and sleep-overs, but with grace, courage and humor Libby shares her trials and triumphs with other “allergy moms” (and dads), almost making it look easy. I say, chapeau.

Meal Plan Mondays : Tester Yummies

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, because even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it was still the weekend, right?  We had a lovely time, and we even got snow on Christmas Eve morning!  Guppy woke to a few centimetres of snow, just like in holiday stories, and she was elated.  The snow of course didn’t last, but it couldn’t have come on a better day.

The recipe testing continues for The Urban Vegan’s upcoming cookbook, and I must say that everything I’ve tested so far has received 4 stars.

chickpeas with tomatoes, eggplant and kale

tuscan bean dip

classic chocolate chippers

polenta-kale cutlets  with pan-seared tofu with basil balsamic glaze

Here’s this weeks vittles, the foods with a* are tester recipes.

Monday : Minimal Pastina Soup with Spinach* (lunch), Insanely Thick and Comforting Squash Soup* (dinner), served with baking powder biscuits.

Tuesday : Pumpkin-Maple Muffins* (breakfast), Spicy Lentils* served with mixed rice (dinner).

Wednesday : Tajine salé de seitan à la courge (savory seitan and squash tajine). I’ll be posting this recipe later in the week, too!

Thursday : Quiche – I think spinach, but I’m not sure.  We’ve been craving quiche, so I’m all about keeping the troops happy.

Friday : Pizza night, I hope.  If I get my wish, we’ll be hanging out here for New Year’s Eve…time will tell!

Are you making anything special this week?  Lighter meals seem to be de rigeur with all this celebrating, don’t you think?

Carrot, Sweet Potato & Coconut Casserole (with Almost Fat-Free option)

This casserole was one of my post-long run inventions a few years ago when I found myself with no plan and random vegetables in my pantry.  Lucky me it turned out to be a hit with both Guppy and Monsieur F,  and, it’s great recovery food to boot.   Protein from the garbanzos, carbs from the starchy veggies and al small bit of fat from the low-fat coconut milk makes this a wonderful post-run meal.  Sometimes I serve as is, others accompanied with some quinoa or rice.

There is about an hour of cooking time, but the initial preparation is minimal and there is so much you can do during that hour (besides shower and stretch).  Catch up on some blogs, email your mother or even do the dishes!  You’ll need to give it a stir once or twice, so don’t take a nap, or if you do, be sure to assign someone to stirring duty.

Try as I might, I couldn’t get an aesthetic photo of this today.  Yesterday’s photo is much, much better.  Just believe me.  It’s delish.

Carrot, Sweet Potato & Coconut Casserole

530 grams/18.5 ounces cooked garbanzo beans (rinsed if from a can)

1 red onion, diced

2 to 4 cloves garlic, diced

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 medium parsnip, chopped

1 medium yukon gold-type potato, chopped

1 medium sweet potato, chopped

a large handful of frozen peas, rinsed

400 ml/1 1/2 cups light coconut milk*

200 ml/3/4 cups soy milk*

curry paste to taste

1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)

salt & pepper

Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

First a note one the coconut milk : if you want to make this casserole virtually fat-free, go with a non-fat or low-fat coconut milk if you have that in your area.  Another possibility is to use only low-fat soy milk.  The results are still delicious, though we would technically have to change the name. If you do opt to skip the coconut milk entirely, just a few bouillon granules or half a bouillon cube to give your casserole a little zip.

Combine all the ingredients except the peas in a deep casserole dish.  Cover and bake at 190°c/375°f for about 30 minutes, then take it out and give it a stir.  Bake for another 15 minutes, then add the peas and stir again.  Bake for another 10 minutes or so, then serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley.

Now that your belly is full of yummy food, go visit sweet Kelly and check out her amazing give-away! I’m crossing my fingers and toes for this one, but really, I can’t keep the hoping to myself – go leave a comment!  You might win!

Vegan MoFo Day XXVII : Soja Sun Steaks de Soja or What to eat in France?


In my continuing series “What to eat in France?” I bring you today one of my favourite convenience foods…

Soja Sun is a brand name to remember if you’ll be heading to France any time soon – they make everything from veggie burgers to soy yoghurt.  We are all fans of everything they make, though they do make some non-vegan things so keep an eye out for the ingredients.

These are just good, honest and true tofu and veggie goodness.  Guppy likes them with mashed potatoes and peas, and I admit if I’m crunched for time  these come in very handy for a quick and nutritious lunch.  They are gluten-free and totally vegan, and so is the sauce that comes with them.  With only 140 calories each, they are very low in fat and have no trans fats, either.  There are lots of different flavours, too.

The best thing about the Soja Sun brand is that it’s very mainstream and you can find their products everywhere.  This is a big advantage, especially to tourists who need food on the fly, but don’t always know what to buy or where to find it.

Bon appétit!


Vegan MoFo Day XX : Caramel Pecan Cookies

I can’t even tell you how delicious-amazing these cookies are.  It’s not because it’s a secret, just because how can I verbally express such things?  These cookies are the most buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies I’ve ever made.  You’ll need caramel syrup, (like the kind baristas use for your coffee) to get them just right.  You could probably use brown rice syrup, corn syrup (if you dare) or golden syrup, but they won’t be quite the same – though still muy delicious.

Guppy prefered them without the pecans, so the for my second batch I made them plain – so I guess these cookies are just caramel cookies.  Either way you make them, you’ll end up making them again and again.

Caramel Pecan Cookies

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup soy milk

1/2 cup oil

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 tbsp cornstarch

3 tbsp caramel syrup (or rice or golden)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

About 24 lightly-roasted pecans

Heat your oven to 185°c/365°f and prepare 2 baking sheets with either parchment paper or silplat.

Using a metal whisk or a fork, combine vigourusly all but the last three ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until smooth (it’ll look like a thick caramel).  Now sift in the last three ingredients and stir until you’ve got a smooth, easy to work with dough.  If it’s still very sticky, just add a little flour until you can work with it easily.

Now roll the dough into golfball sized balls (or larger if you want big cookies) and pat them a bit when you set them on the baking sheet to make a disk.   Set a pecan on each cookie to make them look beautiful.  These spread quite a bit, so set them a few inches apart, then bake for about 14 minutes or so.  You want to remove them from the oven just before they are fully cooked if you prefer soft, chewy cookies (we do!).  Let them cool a few minutes on the baking sheet to be sure the bottoms are browned, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.

Don’t forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win some chocolate!

Vegan MoFo Day XVI : Berry Scuffins & Bright Berry Glaze

Or would you prefer Berry Moans?  I didn’t think so.  Scuffins.  It’s fun to say, it’s even more fun to eat!

These scones weren’t doughy as I find some scones to be.  Rather, they have the delicate, cake-like texture of muffins, but with the ease and not-needing-to-wash-the-muffin-tin practicality of scones.  I’m all about ease, and washing the smallest amount of dishes possible.  You know, it’s better for the environment to use less water and soap, er, ahm, it has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t like doing the dishes.

I can say in all honesty these were the best scones I’ve ever made, or eaten.  Guppy called them “mini-berry cakes”, and that’s kind of what they tasted like.  You be the judge!

I know this isn’t the best photo, but I wanted to snag a picture before the scones disappeared.  Stealthy photo action.

Berry Scuffins

400g or 3 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

30g or 2 tbsp baking powder

1 pinch of salt

60g or 1/4 cup granulated sugar

60g or 1/2 cup powdered sugar

300ml or 1 1/2 cups soy milk

30ml or 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

75ml or 5 tbsp vegetable oil

about 250g or 1 heaping cup of berries (I used mixed berries)

Pre-heat your oven to 200°c or 400°f and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silplat.

First, combine the apple cider vinegar with the soy milk and let curdle.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugars, salt.  Add the oil to the milk mixture, then make a well in the flour mixture and combine using a wooden spoon.  Next fold in the berries.  If they were a little extra juicy, just add a bit of flour – don’t worry if there are some dusty-floury bits, it’s ok!

Divide the mixture into about 14 normal sized or 8 jumbo sized scones.  Bake for about 14 minutes or until slightly browned on the bottom and firm to the touch.

These are just perfect as is, but if you’d like to eat them dressed in their Sunday finery then just give them a drizzle of some of this!

Bright Berry Glaze

60g or 1/2 cup powdered sugar

15ml or 1 tbsp berry juice (I just snuck some of the juice from the bowl of the thawed berries.  This is for colour, so if that doesn’t bother you just use lemon or orange juice.)

Using a fork, briskly mix the juice into the sugar until a smooth glaze develops.  Add more sugar if necessary.


Enjoy your scones.  Or scuffins.  Whatever.

Thank you so much for all the great comments and pointers you’ve shared with my Auntie J who at 70 has gone vegan.  If you’ve got something to share, please do!

Vegan MoFo Day XV : It’s never too late to go vegan! Happy 70th Birthday Auntie J!

Some of us have been vegan forever (Andrea, I’m looking at you!), but for some folks, living vegan is a very new and exciting thing.  How old were you when you went vegan (or vegan for good)?  I bet nearly all of you answered with a number between 15 and 35.  Well, how about going vegan at 69?

Auntie J, age 70.

My Auntie J is a rock star.  Why?  How about winning your age group in a  5K a mere 4 1/2 months after undergoing double by-pass surgery? How about deciding to go vegan the same year you’re turning 70?  Not to mention the fact that in addition to being a runner, a dedicated grand-mother and mother, she is also active with volunteering in her community.

Growing up,  I didn’t get to see my Auntie J very often.  In fact, I can count on my hand the number of times we’ve hung out together.  So imagine my surprise when, thanks to the Internet, we started connecting and I discovered just how much we had in common!   I also saw that she was someone I could really look up to and identify with.  No matter what adversity came her way, no matter how discouraging or frustrating the situation, J would bounce back and show life who was calling the shots.  I realised that I wanted to be like her when I grew up (whenever that will be).  I was also pretty thankful I had her genes, as well.

I think you can imagine how ecstatic I was when she told me she went vegan.  Thrilled.  Overjoyed.  You get the picture.  I wanted to share a little of that joy, of her joy, with you to celebrate both her birthday and Vegan MoFo.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy our little interview.  She asks a few questions of you veteran vegans, so please, let us know what you think in the comments.

How long have you been vegan?

I started, timidly, February 18 2010, and went plant-based about a month later.

Why did you decide to become vegan?
I had bypass surgery in January 2009. I assumed that put all my heart problems behind me. Then in February 2010, several things happened that made me realize I still had heart concerns. Within one week:

1. In a heart health class at the YMCA, the instructor said that if you have coronary artery disease it is probably in all your arteries, not just your heart. It can even be in the arteries to the eyes and cause blindness. Now dropping dead of a heart attack is scary, but not nearly as scary as going blind!

2. I attended a Heart Month Luncheon and the speaker was a heart doctor. His subject was Periperal Artery Disease (PAD). He reinforced the idea that any or all the arteries in your body can become blocked, totally or partially, and gave several chilling examples of the complications that can result from PAD.

3. It was reported in the news that President Clinton’s bypasses had become blocked and he had to have stents inserted to reopen them.

4. A man at church asked the congregation to pray for his uncle who at age 51 had just had a heart attack and although he survived, had gone blind. (Remember number 1 above.)

All these things happened during one week last February!

The following week I met a lady at the track, and while we were jogging together she told me about the plant-based diet: no meat, fish, eggs, dairy, fat or oil, avocados, nuts, or coconut. I told her, “You’re no fun!”. It seemed as though God was trying to tell me something, and this plant-based diet was the message. (I now call her my angel.)

What was your diet like before switching to a plant-based diet?
I switched to soy milk several years ago to lower my cholesterol. Breakfast was oatmeal or dry cereal one day and a mix of yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit the next. Otherwise, I pretty much ate the typical American diet. I like to cook so rarely ate out, and did eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables because I always like them. (I’d rather shop at the Farmer’s Market than the Mall.) However, salty and greasy have always been my favorite flavors, so I indulged in lots of both, usually the greasy was olive or canola oil, or sometimes butter, and lots of cheeses.

What is your favourite vegan snack?
Wow, that changes with my mood and the weather. On a hot day I love a green smoothie. My daughter-in-law taught me that one. I toss orange juice, a banana, kale or spinach, and fresh or frozen berries, even cherries in the blender. Better than a milkshake.
When it’s cold out I like to have a cup of hot tomato or vegetable juice and some pita with humus. I get a bag of whole wheat toasted pita chips from a stand at my farmer’s market. He also sells lots of yummy looking things I no longer eat — feta, humus with tahini, olives, etc. But that’s ok. I make my own humus and omit the tahini. Sometimes I cheat and buy ready-made humus, but the ground sesame seeds are not recommended when trying to reverse heart disease. (Too much fat.)

I also snack on fresh fruit and lots of any fresh vegetables such as sliced carrots, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers, celery, bok choy. I’m fortunate, I’ve never met a vegetable I didn’t like.

What is your biggest challenge since going vegan?

Eating out with friends, or worse, at their homes. It’s awkward enough asking a waiter questions about ingredients, I just can’t do that with friends. And I try not to be over sensitive, but sometimes it seems like the host is trying to trick me into eating what they think is good for me, or won’t hurt. The instance I’m thinking of is when my friend, the host, was serving fresh, hot bread. She spread heaps of butter on each piece and handed it to each of us. I know she didn’t think about my not using butter, and I should have asked her to leave mine plain. It was just such a shock to see her hand me this huge hunk of bread dripping with butter. Coward that I am, I took it, silently scraped off the butter, and put it on the edge of my plate and ate the bread. But it was a lesson learned. I need to be more assertive. Any suggestions on how to avoid this problem, other than becoming a hermit, would be welcome. Maybe it’s harder to make such a drastic change at my age.

What advice would you give to vegetarians who are concerned about switching to veganism?

The following books have been a big help to me: The China Study by Dr. Campbell; Controlling and Reversing Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn; and Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn. There are so many ingrained diet myths in our culture. These books contain the scientific facts than prove how badly we have been misled by the food industry and have convinced me that fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are what our bodies need.

Any final thoughts about your new, plant-based way of eating?

I find it so difficult not to talk about the diet to any and everyone. I’m such a bore, and I know it threatens people to suggest they aren’t eating properly. I have to work on that. I don’t want to be an old scold. How do you and your bloggers handle the subject of diet when they are with non-vegetarians?

Thank you so much Auntie J for your time, and for sharing your experiences with us!  I’m sure many of us can identify with her story, and especially the difficulties we can face when eating with our non-vegan friends and family.

What about you?  Do you have any favourite books you like to share about veganism and nutrition?  Also, how do you handle those awkward situations when sharing food with omnis?