Nebraska summers can be unbearable, and at the same time they can be wonderful. When I celebrated the summer solstice the temperature was perfect, the food was delicious and the company marvelous.
Traditional Midsommar is a big deal in Sweden, which is where I learned how to celebrate this holiday. Last summer in Sweden I spent the day surrounded by family and friends, we picked flowers from fields, made flower crowns, sang songs, enjoyed good food and beverages and stayed awake until the sun came up.
It was magical.
Sadly this year I could not make it to Sweden for the summer, so I decided to host a small gathering. As always, the best part was the food. My guests went all out with what they brought. We had vegan cheesecake, homemade rye bread, scrumptious peach cake with a homemade caramel sauce, and homemade elderberry syrup to make drinks with. I required each guest to bring a bouquet of flowers so each could have their very own flower crown. I almost felt like I was in Sweden.
Can’t forget to add Delta the poodle, who helped me relax the morning after the party.
It’s summertime, which means it’s family vacation season; road trips, theme park outings, and family gatherings. With the rise of veganism in the United States, (1.6 million people in the United States currently identify as vegan) more and more folks find themselves wandering the grocery store isles aimlessly trying to figure out what the heck to have in the house for that vegan family member. Hopefully this post can help with that!
I am currently house/pet sitting and it amazes me that I am at the end of my first week here and haven’t yet had to go grocery shopping for ‘vegan food’. I am reminded of the misconception of the ‘mystical vegan food’ that many people think vegans eat. The fact is that most people eat lots of vegan friendly foods, they just happen to also consume things that are not vegan friendly.
Most folks will have lots of vegan friendly items in their pantry, they may just need some supplemental items to create well rounded meals for their vegan friends and family. My favorite is when the host offers to take me grocery shopping, this way they don’t have to stress and I can get what I want. If you have a whole foods or health food store, there are bound to be endless options.
I live in Nebraska where football parties are a monthly, if not weekly event in the fall. These parties will usually have fruit, veggies, and chips that I can snack on. However, occasionally I will stop by whole foods on the way to fill up on the salad bar. That can be a little pricey, so I don’t suggest doing that every day, but when you want to treat yourself, it can be perfect.
There are lots of fake meat options at the local grocery stores here in Lincoln, which can be great from time to time. However, just like with most processed food, I don’t usually feel the greatest after I eat most fake meat substitutes. If the family is going to be grilling out, I love to join in on the grilling with a frozen black bean burger or vegan dog.
If you are going to have a vegan stay with you for a visit, this list can be a great starting point for what to stock your pantry with. The best part about this list is that most of these items you can find at your local grocery store, even in a small town.
· Brown rice
· Fresh fruit (this can be as simple as bananas and apples)
· Fresh vegetables (whatever is in season or on sale, organic if possible)
· Canned beans (or dry if you have the time to soak and cook them)
· Peanut butter or almond butter
· Pasta (most types that you find in the grocery store are vegan-friendly)
· Chips and salsa
This list is very basic, and can keep a vegan happy for a week or more depending on the person. Of course, every individual has their own preference. So if you are in doubt, just ask. I know that when people ask me what they can stock their pantry with before a visit I am always happy to provide suggestions.
We have hit that part of spring where we are all crossing our fingers that the nice weather will stick. Here is Nebraska the temperature is reaching 80 degrees some days and there is nothing better on a warm day than a healthy and refreshing smoothie.
I love looking at how the color of the drink changes everyday, even if the recipe stays relatively the same. Here are some throwback pictures of my smoothie creations from last years spring and summer.
My go to base for a smoothie is 2 frozen bananas, cashew milk, frozen berries or pineapple, ginger and spinach or kale if I want to make it a green drink. 🙂
Last weekend we attended an event at the Venue, and I excpected I would have a nice salad for dinner. (I always prepare myself for a salad, so I’m not dissappointed.) I was so excited when I saw this on my plate!
Still, after 3 years of being vegan, I don’t enjoy grilling the server on the menu ingredients. However, the Venue knows their stuff and the server could tell me right off which items were vegan.
So add The Venue to your list of places in Lincoln to find delicious vegan food.
I’m still waiting for the day that I can walk in to my very own juice bar here in Lincoln and demand a fresh green juice. Until then High Vibe is the place to go. Not just for juice, they have killer bowls, granola and different flavors of juice. Don’t forget to check it out when in town.
Just kidding, there are tons! Although I don’t know any of them personally, I know they are out there. Just look how many Nebraska vegan hashtags there are!
I also know and have met lots of people who were vegan or vegetarian for a while, but “just couldn’t do it.”
I would like to help prevent people giving up on a plant based diet. Yes it can be hard at first, but with a little practice and research it can become the best decision you ever made.
Here are my first 4 tips to get you started:
Watch the Peta videos. I know they are awful, but you need to see them. This was one of the hardest parts for me, but also the most helpful. Any time you start to waver, think of what you saw the animals going through and how awful their lives are whether they are dairy cows, egg laying chickens, or raised for their meat.
Social media. Find the instagram accounts, the Facebook pages, and the tweeters. Looking to people who have done this for a while can help. I felt so alone at first, but immediately I started feeling the love from the vegan community. So many people are so supportive. To absolute strangers!
Unless you are one of those, loves-to-argue types don’t go lecturing everyone you see. Growing up in the beef-fed state, I learned this the hard way. It’s exhausting. When people feel attacked they attack back.
Be. Prepared. For. Jokes. “But bacon.” If you get upset at every stupid joke about veganism you either won’t make it as a vegan, or you will have high blood pressure. Learning to shake it off was the most important thing I learned in the first 6 months.
One extra tip, not for veganism but for life: spend more time with dogs. Or cats. Or both.