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Category: food (page 1 of 90)

Eating Vegan on a Royal Caribbean Cruise

royal caribbean ship selfie

Cruises are known for their elaborate spreads of food with people piling up plate after plate of food from the buffet. But how does that work out for a vegan? This is my experience of eating vegan on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Some things have changed since the first Royal Caribbean cruise I went on in 2008.  The main thing to note is that I didn’t see any of the vegan margarine that they had that first time. Availability might depend on where they pick up supplies, or maybe their vendors changed. Finding peanut butter on the buffet was hit or miss this time around. If they don’t have it out on the buffet, you can always ask. They usually have it in back.

We always had dinner in the dining room together at a table at our appointed time. There are also buffet options if you don’t want to do that. If you do eat in the dining room, the first night get acquainted with the head waiter. He is your best friend. Ask him all of your questions. He will make sure you get what you need.

There is a set menu for each evening. You can try to order off of that. Often you can cobble together vegan or easily made vegan items from it. We had 5 vegans in our party, so each night we would order for the next night. We’d look at the regular menu to see if we could eat anything on it. And then we’d have them make something we requested. We had an added challenge – one of us was also gluten free. Most nights we ended up having some kind of Indian food. And then they’d also bring a plate of tofu and vegetables for us to share. The last night they had soy chicken on the regular menu. The head waiter took a picture of the package and it said vegan right on it! While I do like Indian food, it was getting a little old so the soy chicken was awesome.

Every night, they will come around with a bread basket. Ask about the breads, but there is a sourdough that is vegan. If they don’t have the vegan margarine, ask them to bring some olive oil to the table for you to dip your bread in.

Desserts ended up being variations of rice pudding. One night we had carrot halwa. On a previous cruise, they made a chocolate soy pudding one night that was awesome. We got vanilla pudding one night this time.

This is the meal we had the last night. Salad, chilled mango soup,  soy chicken and carrot halwa, an Indian spiced dessert. The vegetables on the plate with the soy chicken were from the big plate of veggies they brought us every night.

vegan salad on royal caribbean

vegan chilled mango soup on royal caribbean cruise

vegan soy chicken on royal caribbean cruise

vegan indian spiced carrot dessert on royal caribbean cruise

Breakfast and lunch we would have at the buffet. When you sit down, a waiter will come by and you can ask him or her for soy milk for your coffee and/or cereal. Do that first before you hit the buffet because they may have to go seek some out. There’s always a ton of fresh fruit out. You’ll find fried and roasted potatoes. They have a miso soup station where you can get some tofu cubes. I just assumed the miso soup wasn’t vegan since it traditionally isn’t, but I didn’t ask. There will be some stir fried veggies and rice. There is almost always some Indian dish like chana masala.

Here’s one of my breakfasts from the buffet at the Windjammer. Yeah, I ate chana masala over potatoes for breakfast. I ain’t skerd. Also we scored an awesome window seat.

vegan breakfast on royal caribbean cruise

The lunch buffet was even easier. More vegetable options appeared. You could make a salad, the raspberry vinaigrette is vegan, or make a french fry sandwich. It’s really your choice. As you can see, I took the less fried route. Here are a couple of my lunch plates from the Windjammer buffet.

vegan lunch on royal caribbean cruise

vegan lunch on royal caribbean cruise

Anyway, the point is that a vegan won’t starve on a Royal Caribbean cruise and you can actually put together some healthy, tasty meals. Or you can be a junk food vegan and eat cheeseless pizza and Johnny Rockets (costs extra) streamliners every meal. We’ve also been to some of the specialty restaurants in the past and they took care of us there too. So don’t let vegan food worries keep you from going on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Oh, and you can even find good vegan food in some of the ports. See my previous post about St. Thomas to find out about options there.  On this trip, we stopped in Cozumel which is a 45 minute water taxi ride away from Playa Del Carmen. There is so much awesome vegan food in Playa Del Carmen that I have several posts about it from a previous trip.

Our favorite was Kaxapa Factory, so we all hopped on the water taxi and headed over for Venezuelan noms. Heed my warning, the water taxi ride is pretty bumpy. I highly recommend taking Dramamine in preparation for the trip. When we got off the taxi, our first stop was a pharmacy for some aptly named Vomisin. The ride back was much easier because of it.

I was feeling traditional and went for the black bean, plantain and avocado arepa. Fabulous as always.

vegan arepa at kaxapa factory playa del carmen

While there is a Starbucks on board, extra of course but at least they have soy milk, nothing beats Ah Cacao’s espresso frappé. Three shots of espresso, ice, sugar, blend.

ah cacao espresso frappe playa del carmen

We may have cut it a little close getting back to the water taxi. Thankfully we made the last boat and got back on the ship in time.

So that’s about all I’ve got to say about eating vegan on a Royal Caribbean cruise. I’ll just leave you with this sunset as we passed down the coast of Florida.

caribbean sunset

Pumpkin Walnut Muffins for World Vegan Day

Happy World Vegan Day!

To celebrate, I’m going to share another recipe from Dough, vegan Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. This was one of our most popular muffins at the bakery and while we made it year round, it’s particularly suited to this season.  And bonus, these muffins don’t require any weird ingredients. It’s all stuff you can get at any grocery store.

vegan pumpkin walnut muffins

Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose & half whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin (just pumpkin, not pie filling)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup chopped walnuts plus one walnut half for top of each muffin

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with 12 liners.

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a mixing bowl. In a another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, oil, and molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just mixed. Stir in chopped walnuts.

3. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 with batter or if you have one with #12 scoop. Put a walnut half on the top of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

vegan pumpkin walnut muffin closeup

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte

When I saw that Califia Farms had a vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte almond milk coffee blend I got pretty excited. Sure, there are plenty of recipes online for making one at home. But a jug of it already made is, well, already made. Then you don’t have to think about partial cans of pumpkin, etc.

Soon enough, it was spotted in Atlanta and Kevin picked me up a jug because he’s cool like that. So I broke into it pretty quickly. It’s pumpkiny, spicy and not too sweet unlike most of the other holiday drinks out there. But where’s the coffee? I can’t taste it at all. I had a glass before dinner a few times and never felt the caffeine either.

califia farms pumpkin spice latte

Not enough coffee, hmm? The next thing I tried to do was pour it into my coffee like a creamer. That wasn’t good. I’ve used their regular almond milks as creamer just fine, but this wasn’t fatty or creamy enough.

coffee in mug

 

So I finished off the rest just as a drink, usually before bed as an after dinner snack. Sadly, I didn’t like it enough to get any more. Oh well, next new vegan product, please!

P.S. Why yes, that is a Jeannette Zeis vegan mug that I’ve had forever. I think it was a second but around here it’s my first.

Quick, versatile tofu recipe

People seem to spend a lot of time fretting over how to flavor their tofu. Yes, there are a billion different marinade recipes out there and preparation methods. But sometimes simple is best. Especially when you’re lazy.

This is my goto seasoned tofu recipe. It’s generic enough that it can go in almost any cuisine. But flavorful enough that you’ll find yourself popping cubes in your mouth before the rest of the meal is done.

Quick Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

tamari, chili garlic paste, sesame oil

1 lb. firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons Tamari, Bragg’s or Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2-1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
oil for frying or baking pan prep

Directions

First cube your pressed tofu.

cubed tofu

Put it in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil for the pan. Stir it around until it is coated.

bowl of tofu

There are three different ways I finish it off, depending on my needs. You can fry it up in a pan until browned. You can bake it in the oven at 375F on a sheet sprayed with oil for about 20 minutes, flipping them at about 10 minutes in. Or, instead of cubing the tofu you can cut it in sticks or slabs and put it in a George Foreman grill, use a grill pan or even grill it outside. My first preference is to bake it. And my second choice is to pan fry, especially when my oven is broken like it was for a while.

browned tofu

We eat this tofu on salads, in burritos, and dropped into any other dish that feels like it wants some tofu in it. Since there’s no marinating required, it comes together quickly. The hardest part is remembering to press the tofu. We have a Tofu Xpress so I usually just keep a block of tofu in it in the fridge so it’s ready to go. It seems expensive for what it is, but sometimes it is worth it to pay for convenience.

Giveaway: free Tofutti products!

UPDATE: winners have been chosen & contacted. Thanks for playing!

For many of us, Tofutti was one of our first experiences with vegan cheese and ice cream products. Cream cheese, sour cream, cheese slices – their products helped many of us transition to being vegan.

Tofutti cream cheese was also an essential ingredient in many items at the bakery. Banana whoopie pies, the glaze on the cinnamon rolls, our pimento cheese, red velvet cake…so many things! When our distributor decided to stop carrying the 30 lb. food service block of Tofutti, we were frantic trying to figure out how to avoid buying the retail packs. I wrote Tofutti and they very kindly sent a bunch of coupons and other goodies to us to help us out.

vegan banana whoopie pies

Since they were so generous, I want to in turn share these with you. Just leave a comment below, make sure whatever method you use to comment includes an email address where I can contact you, and I’ll randomly pick three winners that will each receive two Tofutti product coupons. The coupons are for up to $3.99 off, which means most items will be free. Oh, and there’s NO EXPIRATION DATE. Deadline for entry is Friday, October 3rd at noon Eastern time. Sorry, U.S. residents only!

So enter below and start dreaming about some of these goodies:

tofutti vegan blintzes tofutti vegan cream cheese tofutti vegan ice cream drumsticks

Disclaimer: Yes, they gave me the free product coupons but they have no idea I’m doing this giveaway. I just enjoy their products and appreciate their company.

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