Be Like a Boy Scout And Be Prepared!
I've been vegan for almost a year now, but this time last year I was still a vegetarian which left me lots of options for meals and, in particular, all the chocolate and baking that's floating around this time of year. I'm finding it to be quite a challenge, and I have to admit to taking a bite or two of my mother's baking and justifying it by telling myself it doesn't matter because she was baking it anyway!
So. I've figured out that the best thing to do is have lots of stuff on hand. I'm not above eating a handful of semi-sweet (and therefore usually vegan) chocolate chips when I'm in the middle of a sugar craving. I'm not all that interested in cooking or baking. I used to bake a lot, but the older I get the more effort it seems to take. So I've gone to my local grocery store and purchased a few pre-made things – vegan cupcakes for Christmas day, and some vegan cookies just because.
The other day my daughter asked for fudge. It's a really easy recipe from a Strawberry Shortcake cookbook we've had since she was little (shes' sixteen now). I kid you not, this is THE best cookbook I've ever owned. I use it regularly and have done so for years! Anyway, I made the fudge which calls for condensed milk and milk chocolate chips. When I was finished, I found myself scraping the sides of the pot like some kind of fudge starved addict trying to get a fix. Honestly, chocolate and sugar have a pretty tight hold on my life.
The following morning I went to the grocery store and bought a can of condensed coconut milk. Yes, that is a thing. That is a very, very good and tasty thing. So here is the easiest fudge recipe EVER:
one can condensed coconut milk
one and a half cups semi-sweet (vegan) chocolate chips
one and a half teaspoons of vanilla
Put the condensed coconut milk and chocolate chips in a pot and heat on low, stirring constantly, until melted. Add the vanilla and stir. Pour into parchment lined pan, and stick in the fridge for a couple of hours. Bam!!! It was freaking amazing. Try it. Stupid easy and sooooo good.
My point here is that, as with most things, I'm finding it best to be prepared. Take something with you if you're going to a party or to someone's house and you know there won't be anything to eat – take that fudge – they won't even know it's vegan! Have stuff at home that you can munch on too. If you're lazy like me there are lots of good options in most grocery stores these days. I've purchased a Gardein brand stuffed faux turkey roll thingie for Christmas dinner, and will be making some easy side dishes with it, roasted mushrooms, some sweet potato etc. I used to think I had to make everything from scratch. I'm over it. :)
Have a great holiday!