My biggest pet peeve is when someone asks in a vegan group, "What are the best vegan recipes for picky kids?" It's a pet peeve because picky takes all different forms. The same goes for "What's the best vegan cookbook?" It really depends on the kinds of foods you like, how much time/skill you want to put into your cooking, and what you want to make.
However, you can't go wrong with an Isa book.
Okay, there are no absolutes and the same cookbook isn't going to be great for everyone, but I absolutely LOVE Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipes and all her books are gold. These are great for all skill levels as the flavors range from familiar to bold, and the language isn't as adult-themed as Thug Kitchen, but it's funny and snarky in a way that's inviting without alienating younger or more sensitive audiences. Isa is relatable and instructional without talking down to an experienced cook or talking over the head of a beginner.
Veganomicon is a great basic book. The cornbread recipe alone is perfection. I haven't explored a lot through the rest of the book though, because there aren't pictures for each recipe, which for me is a big negative. If you are team photos in your cookbook, this isn't it.
Favorite Recipe: Skillet Cornbread
Pros: LOTS of recipes and great for a new vegan.
Cons: Not a photo book.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is how I learned to bake. Before going vegan, I wasn't really a baker, but this book, along with Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and Vegan Pie in the Sky (my least favorite of the three, but probably just because I'm not a huge pie person) all helped me learn to bake with simple instructions that really walk you through the process and lots of color photos. I've gotten lots of compliments from non-vegans using these recipes.
Favorite Recipes: ALL the cupcakes! The Velveteen cupcake is really outstanding, though, if I had to pick a favorite. From the cookie book, the Sell Your Soul Pumpkin cookies are probably my favorite, but there are so many other great ones. For pie, the Pumpkin Pie recipe is a hit every time and really is perfection.
Appetite for Reduction is a diet-ish book, but not really. The recipes are all flavorful and rich, just a bit lower in fat/sugar. The other great thing about this book is that it's all quick and easy meals. Fast fast fast. This is a mom's dream of a book.
Favorite Recipe: Chickpea Piccata is a delicious reimagining of familiar flavor with a new protein.
Vegan Brunch answers the age old question, what do vegans eat for breakfast other than smoothies? This is such a common question among new vegans, we need this information out in the world.
Favorite Recipe: I can't pick just one- ALL THE WAFFLE RECIPES. My husband is the waffle man, and he was having a hard time making them work vegan until we got this book. Every waffle recipe in here is a winner.
Isa Does It! is why I'm currently obsessed with rutabagas. The flavor combinations and fun she has with food are just so creative. I would never had mixed rosemary, rutabagas, sherry, and star anise in a soup- BUT IT WORKS. I'm currently cooking through this book with a friend who's not vegan and having a blast. A few recipes have fallen a bit flat, but it's nice to have simplicity sometimes too.
Favorite Recipe: Fluffy Pillow Pancakes (they really are mile high and live up to the name) or Creamy Rutabaga Soup (I'm obsessed).
Pros: Lots of different types of recipes
Cons: A few are a bit plain, but nothing tastes bad.
Vegan with a Vengeance has the best french toast recipe of all time and the raspberry and chocolate blondies are not only perfection as written, I've adapted that recipe with other flavors and it's always delicious. Somehow I got a digital copy of this book that was an app on my phone several phones ago and I've lost it in time, so I think a hard copy of this one is going under the Christmas tree for me!
Favorite Recipes: the French Toast wins as all time favorite.
Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. Okay, I own this book, but I don't think I've tried any of the recipes yet. I'm sorry. I am certain there are absolute gems in this one too, though, knowing my track record with Isa's books, so if you have tried some of these recipes, please comment with your reviews!
Back in my high school vegetarian days, I date a guy who introduced me to Morningstar burgers. They were pretty great, and then I discovered Morningstar hot dogs and corn dogs and Morningstar sustained me for much of college. I have eaten way too many Morningstar corn dogs... WAY TOO MANY. But at least I wasn't binge drinking... just binge corn dogging...
Anyway, it was tragic when I became vegan and realized most of Morningstar's products have eggs and/or milk. BUMMER CITY, Population: Me. I had stopped even looking at Morningstar products for the last decade, but then I saw the words Vegan Burgers on their new product: Meat Lovers Vegan Burger.
I got a pack to try out, not expecting anything special. I WAS WRONG. Morningstar has come around and in my opinion, this is the meatiest burger I've had in a decade. Granted, it's been so long since I've had meat, I fully admit I could be wrong. For me, it fills that flavor/texture/satisfaction craving I remember from when I ate burgers. I love it.
This isn't a paid endorsement (though, feel free to send me free vegan products, Morningstar), I'm just happy to see this company creating more vegan products!
I was just asking my mom, who still lives in the Sierra Foothills where I grew up, when I could plan a trip around cherry season. As happens in small towns, the doctor who delivered me also owns a you-pick cherry orchard where my mom and I used to go pick bags of cherries each year. It's pretty *Norman Rockwell where I grew up.
*Actually, Thomas Kincaid lives in my hometown, and so I guess it's pretty Thomas Kincaid. There's lots of light to paint...
Anyway, as soon as I asked my mom, there were cherries in the store the next day. So I guess NOW is cherry season (at the time of writing, obviously, not if you are reading this in December). I have wanted a cherry pitter for a while, but always put it off, because mostly I just eat the cherries and spit out the pits. Last year, I finally got one, though, and I'm so glad I did! This week I've been eating cherries in my oatmeal, cherries in my salad, and even cherry cupcakes (recipe below).
The cherry pitter I got works fine, but it was a grocery store impulse buy, so I thought for the special occasion of cherry season, I would share some of the cuter/more elegant cherry pitters I found online so that you can buy them (click on picture for link) and I can live vicariously through you. If you get one, tell me in the comments!
Cherry Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
In case you didn't know, a can of soda (or sparkling water) can be used in place of the liquid and oil you would add to a box cake mix, so that's the basis for this recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 and put 18 cupcake liners in cupcake pans. Mix all ingredients together and place in cupcake liners. Bake 22-28 minutes until springy to the touch. Let cool a little before eating or the liner will stick to the cupcake.
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
Order your copy here today!
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I love cooking and playing in the kitchen with my toys, so let me share that joy with you and your family to bring the FUN back into the kitchen!