Sunday, January 8, 2012

taking a break...

Maybe it's silly to post this, but I've decided to put a hold on this blog, for now. After much soul-searching, I've decided that I can do more good in the world if I focus my attention on one thing, and while this blog has been a good thing, I don't think it's the most important thing I can do with my life. And, with only one trip a year to Walt Disney World, the information I have to share is limited.

Maybe someday, I'll give this another go. Until then, thanks for reading, and Happy Veggie Disney Dining!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

mmmmmexican. :-)

For the Labor Day weekend, my darling hubby volunteered to make us a wonderful Mexican meal. (He's a much better cook than I am. I have trouble boiling water.) As sort of an after-thought, he had me do a little searching on the Internet, to find out what they put in the tasty burritos we occasionally get from Chipotle Mexican Grill. If we'd thought of it sooner, they would have been a closer match, but all we had were re-fried beans, and we get black beans at Chipotle. But no matter - the burritos he fixed us were amazing! So I thought I'd share. (Well, share the picture, anyway. Sorry - the burritos are long gone.)

That amazing burrito above is made with a nice big flour tortilla, beans, rice, corn salsa, tomato salsa, lettuce, and vegan cheese. The rice is basmati, seasoned with a little lime juice and some finely chopped cilantro. The tomato salsa was made from home-grown tomatoes, red onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, lime juice and salt. The corn salsa is the same, but with corn instead of tomatoes. (Rice and salsas are more-or-less based on Chipotle's recipes, found online.)

There are two reasons I wanted to share these with you. First, I actually found a vegan cheese I like. It's made by Daiya (I used their mozzarella-style). Now, I have to admit that I haven't had "real" cheese in over 11 years, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've had vegan cheese. I tried it when I first went vegan, and decided I was just as happy to go without. Well, either vegan cheese has improved since then, or my taste buds have become less picky, but I really like this stuff! I found it at a local Kroger's, but if you Google Daiya, you can find their website, and search for locations that sell it near you. (Sorry - having trouble with the link tonight to their website, for some reason.) It melts pretty well - not perfectly, and it takes longer to melt than real cheese, but it does eventually get all gooey-chewy. (It makes awesome nachos!)

The second reason I wanted to share is this: I know I'm not the only vegan to find themselves married to an omnivore. My hubby is very supportive, but does not feel the need to follow the same path as me - and that's fine. Some vegans would have trouble being married to a non-vegan, and that's okay for them. But I get enough e-mails to know there are other vegans struggling with a partner who doesn't share their veggie lifestyle. I recently had someone share with me that they would like to go vegan, but their significant other made it impossible. "You can't just make two different dinners every night, and I feel guilty if I don't eat the way he eats". Well, there are ways to work around this. One is to make a single meal, with a few simple modifications. My hubby and I do this all the time. Some examples:

Burritos: mine had vegan cheese, his had dairy cheese. He could have easily added meat if wanted to, and/or I could have added veggie crumbles.

Pizza: one of my hubby's specialties. He likes to make it from scratch - dough, sauce and all. I splits the dough in half and makes two separate pizzas - same sauce, but his has meat and cheese, and mine has a ton of veggies.

Burgers on the grill: our BBQ grill has a dedicated "meat" side and dedicated "veggie" side. We've been enjoying it all summer. It's just as easy to grill a Boca burger along with whatever meat hubby chooses to grill. We often take some sliced peppers and onion and grill them on a piece of foil - we both enjoy that as a topping.

Spaghetti: hubby is actually perfectly happy with a meatless sauce now, but it wouldn't be hard to add a little meat, or some meatballs, just to his serving.

Chili: same as above - the "base" can be vegan, with meat added to half of it later.

There are lots of ways to make one meal with two slightly different finished products. There's no reason for anyone to have to compromise. I will say that after all these years, my hubby eats a LOT more veggies than before he met me. But it was never a forced thing. He eats what he wants, I eat what I want, and we live happily together. May all of you find the same peace in your relationships.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"just ellen"

No, I haven't given up on my blog. I will be back. This is just my busy time of the year, and of course it's hard to update between Disney trips (which are, for the moment, just once a year in the winter). When I retire in Florida (still quite a few years away), I'll update this thing like mad!

For today, I just had to stop in and share a link to Ellen DeGeneres' page: Who's Vegan How can you not love Ellen? And she does have a couple of Disney connections ("Stupid Judy and her stupid energy"... and let's not "forget" a rather forgetful blue fish that speaks "whale"). Anyway, the page I linked to has an interesting list of famous vegans. I knew about quite a few of them, but there were a few surprises there. I just thought you all might find that interesting.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

disney vegans on facebook

Okay, I'm the last person to suggest anyone sign up for Facebook. I kind of got sucked into it, but I hardly ever post anything, and, in fact, forget to check it for days on end. But it seems to be "the place to hang out" for a lot of people these days. So, if you're one of those people, did you know that there is a Facebook page now specifically for vegetarian and vegan Walt Disney World fans? I guess it's not that surprising, since there's a page for everything else. In fact, I'm surprised it took this long. But if FB is your thing, you might want to check it out and offer your support to the awesome vegans who made it happen: Veg Disney on Facebook.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

más alimento del vegano, por favor

Hola amigos! Yes, it's true... (sigh)... Mexico is the last country on my vegan junk-food journey around World Showcase.

Actually, truth be told, it was really my first country. It was here that I got the idea for this series of blog posts. While I always make it a point to wander around the little shops and stalls inside the pyramid, this time I actually made the effort to pick up many of the food offerings and read the ingredients... and I was amazed at how many of them were vegan! I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised. I love Mexican food in general, and much of it is vegan (or veganizable). Rice, beans, tortillas, salsa... I'm getting hungry already!

Because the idea was only just starting to form in my mind, I didn't take as many pix or notes as I should have. I'm afraid I'm still learning how to be a diligent vegan journalist. Some of the items I didn't photograph won't be a surprise; things like chips and salsa and tequila. Well, as long as the tequila doesn't have a worm in it.

(Okay, I just had to Wikipedia this. Why in the world would anyone put a worm in a bottle of booze? Turns out it really was just a marketing gimmick. Thank goodness it's not a very common practice.)

In addition to a huge selection of exotic salsas, I also found a surprisingly large selection of vegan candy. I'm not going to pretend to know how to pronounce all of these, but I'm happy to report that they all had the ingredients listed on the back in English, for those of us who's Spanish doesn't extend much past "hasta la vista".

This first one is some sort of fruit candy that, silly me, I forgot to note the ingredients on.

The next one, if my notes are correct, just contained sugar, peanuts and artificial flavor, which seems odd because I'm pretty sure that the name derives from marzipan, which is generally made from almonds.

The next one was another peanut candy - I think the ingredients were almost the same as the one above, though obviously a much different type of candy. (The name, cacahuate, actually means "peanuts", in Spanish.)

Last but not least, I found a colorful coconut treat. Ingredients were natural coconut, sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors (red #40, yellow #5, blue #1).

(As an aside, I was concerned about the red #40, but according to the Vegetarian Resource Group, it does not contain cochineal, and is considered vegan. But as with everything I list on this blog, please do your own research, and feel free to arrive at your own conclusions. There are many "questionable" ingredients that each vegan must decide for themselves to accept or avoid.)

As I mentioned at the beginning, there were actually a lot more treats that I did not think to photograph or record. And since products change all the time you'll certainly want to investigate for yourself, and read packages. However, I really feel that this pavilion would be a good place to look for sugary vegan treats.

And of course, how can you *not* want to explore this amazing pavilion? I see people walk right on by the pyramid without stopping, and I can't help but thing they are missing out. I just love the contrast here. The inside is always kept dark, to remind you of the night sky... but the decor and souvenirs are so colorful! In addition to the usual turquoise and silver jewelry I would expect to find, they also have these wonderful little brightly colored, carved wooden animals.

And I must confess that there is something about all the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) merchandise that just fascinates me.

Well, I'm afraid this wraps up my latest blog series. I will share a little teaser for a later blog series, though: this experience inspired me to try something daring on my next trip. Despite the fact that I recommend - and will continue to recommend - that vegans bring some of their own favorite treats with them when they go to Walt Disney World, I have decided to throw caution to the wind, and try a trip without that safety net, in the name of research. Instead, I will save my pennies and actually buy and try some of these little goodies I discovered last time.
I'm going to make it a point to be a more adventurous vegan eater, and of course, share my findings with all of you.

But sadly, that next trip is still many months away. In the meantime, I will try and keep an eye out for anything I think might be of interest to vegan Disney fans. Thanks for following along!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

worth a look

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know... where's Mexico? No worries - I *did* find some vegan treats in Mexico, and I promise I will blog about them soon. I think I'm just procrastinating, because it's the LAST country. Whatever am I going to write about until my next Disney trip? (Sadly, the next trip is still many months away. Sigh. But I have an idea of what I'll do for blog posts after that one. Then again, I'm always looking for ideas. Is there anything "Disney-vegan" related that you'd like to see me post about?)

Today, I'm just stopping in to share a link to the official Disney blog. There was an article posted last week that's worth a look: Best Vegetarian Eats in Walt Disney World Theme Parks. It's not 100% accurate (beware of meat in the Cobb Salad at Brown Derby), and keep in mind that many of these suggestions are lacto-ovo vegetarian (though many are "veganizable"), but I still get excited at vegetarian Disney posts. I strongly recommend reading the comments, too - not just the official post. Some of the readers have contributed even more suggestions, many of them vegan. It's nice to see Disney addressing this issue, and it's nice to see how many comments this article generated. We're not alone!

Happy Vegan Disney Dining!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"you are not the first to pass this way... nor shall you be the last."

There's just something warm and cozy about the Norway pavilion at Epcot... though now that I think about it, neither trolls nor Vikings seem very warm and cozy. Maybe it's all those heavy sweaters in the gift shop. (No, sadly, most of those sweaters are not vegan, but I keep looking, anyway. Some of the coats are - though they are very pricey.)

The old Stave Church at the front of the pavilion is one of those little hidden gems you find at World Disney World. It's amazing how many people walk right by it without ever realizing that you can actually go inside (and learn more about those Vikings).

And Norway is one of only two pavilions in the World Showcase with a ride - Maelstrom. If you give it a try (and you should), be sure to look for the hidden Mickeys in the giant mural you'll see on your right, as you board the boats. (One is very subtle, but the other isn't too hard to find, if you're observant... one of the Vikings in the boat is sporting some unusual headgear.)

But onto the gift shop. There isn't a huge amount of food here, but there are a few snack items, some of which are vegan.

First, you can usually find a large display of Swedish Fish here (gummy candy). (Ingredients: Sugar, Invert Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Citric Acid, White Mineral Oil, Artificial Flavors, Red 40 and Carnauba Wax.)

I also found some Sour Starfish. (Ingredients: Sugar, Invert Sugar, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Citric Acid and Tartaric Acid, Artificial Flavors and Colors [Beta-Carotene, Beta-Apo-8'-Carotenal].)

There were some Salty Licorice Fish. Hmmm... I'm noticing a theme here. Fish must be big in Norway, LOL. (Ingredients: Corn Syrup [Glucose Syrup], Sugar, Modified Starch, Salmiak [Ammonium Chloride], Water, Licorice, Flavoring and Colors, [Anise Oil, Menthol, Caramel], Salt, Glazing Agent [Vegetable Oil, Carnauba Wax.)

And last but not least, cookies. Not all of the cookies shown above are vegan - you will need to check the labels - but many of the thin wafers at the top of the photo were - more or less - vegan (with one of those vague "may contain trace amounts of" messages).

That was all I found to eat here, but I always have fun browsing this store, and checking out the wide variety of trolls. I hope you do, too!