Noodles & Company Is Vegan Friendly And Totally Yummy!

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Noodles & Company Review 005 CollageWe weren’t originally heading to Noodles & Company.

But as we walked down the street I saw the menu they had on the wall or window (can’t quite remember which now,) and I thought they looked delicious.

Noodle’s glorious delicious noodles!

Not to mention that half the stuff was at least vegetarian in nature and they had the easy possibility to substitute Tofu for any of the more meaty things there.

So, my Boyfriend (and carnivore) asked me if that sounded better then where we were heading, (A tex mex place!) and upon my excited nod we trotted inside.

It smelled good, the inside was so open and airy that it eased my anxiety, large windows that allowed you to look out onto the streets, as well as a nice little area to dine outside.

Something you should know.  Noodles & Company prides itself on attempting to satisfy the pickiest of eaters.  They welcome special orders.

Noodles & Company
Welcomes Special Orders!

In fact, all dishes and sandwiches are made to order so many of them could easily be made into vegan dishes by substituting organic tofu for the meat or leaving off the cheese and or cream.

Sadly none of their soups are strictly vegan.  The Thai Curry Soup looks to be vegan from the ingredients list but when you visit the company website they say there is milk of some sort in it.  You’ll have to make your own decision if this small noodles-and-company-indonesian-peanut-sautepotential amount of dairy is an issue for you.

But I have it on good authority that the soups are yummy!  My Boyfriend ordered a bowl of Chicken Noodle, with extra chicken, naturally.  I did warn you he was a carnivore.

They also had some rather impressive looking salads and sandwiches.  To be honest, they had such a great selection that I stood there for about five minutes trying to decide what to get.

Luckily Noodles & Company understands their customers “Need To Know” and provide a little list of ingredients under each dish.

They even add little symbols letting us know whether something was spicy or vegetarian.  A little pepper that looks like a jalapeno for spicy.  The more peppers the hotter the dish.  And a nice little ‘V’ for vegetarian friendly.

There Are 15 Vegetarian Dishes On The Menu… I Counted!

noodles-and-company-japanese-pan-noodlesUnfortunately they didn’t have a sign for vegan friendly, but it was rather easy to determine if something met up to your eating practices via looking at the little panels of the ingredients.

With a little digging on their website after I got home I found that there are 9 menu items that Noodles & Company offer up as strictly vegan.  They include…

 

 

  • Indonesian Peanut Sauté
  • Japanese Pan Noodles
  • Chinese Chop Salad with no wontons
  • Penne Rosa without cream and cheese
  • Pasta Fresco without cheese
  • whole Grain Tuscan Linguine without cream and cheese
  • Spaghetti with Marinara without cheese
  • Cucumber Tomato Salad
  • Tossed Green Side Salad with balsamic vinaigrette

You could pick a small size or a regular size of whatever your main dish was, be it noodles or soup.  Now I’m going to say, the small that my Boyfriend and I got, was not actually very small at all! It was big enough that I ended up taking some home with me.

And I did notice that they did not appear to have a children’s menu, or sizes, so if you were going there with a family I’d probably be prepared to take some home if your youngster doesn’t eat a lot.

Now this is so great it’s worth repeating.  You can add or substitute organic tofu in place of meat in any dish!noodles-and-company-pad-thai  

That’s what I did with the stroganoff.  I subbed out the steak for tofu and it was AMAZING!

And whilst I realize this dish isn’t strictly vegan, my anxiety was acting up and I didn’t want something that was totally unfamiliar! So I did made it vegetarian and went on.

I think it’s important to remember to take care of yourself while being as responsible as possible, and if you can’t make all the choices you’d like, just remember to try and do better in the future.  No sense in beating yourself up.

We went and picked out our own table, they had chairs, tall spinney stools and booths, I’m not sure if they had highchairs for the little ones, I didn’t ask I’ll be honest.

But the food was brought out to us, fresh made and hot, the drink selection was amazing, you took a cup and they had a drink machine that was a touchscreen and you could pick from a VERY large variety of drinks. And next to it was the usual straw’s and napkins, but they also had chopsticks and lovely little wax lined cardboard takeout containers.

So overall I’d say this place was very good, it was vegetarian friendly, vegan friendly, and carnivore friendly. It had a little something for everyone and the food was well made. I’ll be going back and I’d certainly drag a friend with me and have them try it.

vegan-4-starvegetarian-5-starcarnivore-5-star

Review by, RagingDaffodil

 

 

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“Lost Banana” Pancakes, AKA… Easy Vegan Banana Pancakes

posted in: Yum Yums | 1

 

Easy Vegan Banana Pancake CollageWhat do you do when your banana’s are a little too ripe? Make vegan banana pancakes, of course!  Heck, any kid knows that.

In fact, when my daughter was little she used to “hide” bananas so they’d get over ripe.  Then she’d whip them out of their hidey hole and pretend to be sad while trying not to giggle and proclaim…

“Oh No… Mom!  Now you’ll have to make banana pancakes.”

Naturally mom was “fooled” every time and would be TOTALLY DISTRESSED at the thought of wasting food, and a good banana at that.   So we’d whip out our mixing bowls and get to cooking.

Good memories 🙂  I’m smiling so much my cheeks hurt just thinking about it.Vegan Banana Pancake Recipe Using Ripe Bananas

Of course, back in those days we weren’t vegan yet, so the recipe was a little different.  A little less healthy and a little less good for the planet but still totally yummy.

So the other day we noticed that we had a banana or two that looked like it had been hidden by a 4 year old.  After a good giggle and a trip down memory lane the kid and I decided to see how hard it would be to “veganize” (is that even a word?) a batch of Briana’s “Lost Banana” pancakes.

Turns out it was WAY EASY using the vegan substitutions we’ve worked out.  (You can see all of them over here.)  A little almond milk instead of the cow kind.  A flax meal egg instead of the chicken kind.   Easy Peasy!

While we were at it we switched in whole wheat flour instead of regular white flour and POOF!  Vegan “Lost Banana” Pancakes or rather Easy Vegan Banana Pancakes!

My daughter declared them every bit as good as the ones we used to make.   And it was a huge relief that we could enjoy something that made us both so happy without compromising our principles.

Being healthy, helping animals and the environment sure can be tasty.   But you don’t have to take our word for it.  Here’s the recipe.  Why don’t you give it a go and tell us what you think.

Easy Vegan Banana Pancakes, aka. “Lost Banana” Pancakes

Here’s What You Need…

  • 1 Cup Vegan Buttermilk
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Vegan Flax Meal Egg
  • 2 tsp Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1 Ripe Mashed Banana

(If you don’t know how to make vegan buttermilk or flax seed egg substitute click on those links to learn how.)

Here’s How To Make Easy Vegan Banana Pancakes…

The SHORT version for you experienced cooks.Vegan Banana Pancakes 02

  • Mix all dry ingredients
  • Mix all wet ingredients
  • Pour wet into dry and stir gently.  Don’t over stir!
  • Spoon into HOT skillet and flip when bubbles appear.
  • Pancakes should be golden brown when done.
  • Serve with topping of your choice.  We like real maple syrup or fruit purees.

And here’s a more detailed explanation for folks new to the kitchen.

Get out two mixing bowls.  Whisk the wet ingredients together in one (the smaller one if they are not the same size) and whisk the dry ingredients together in the other.

Make a hole or well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour the contents of your wet bowl into that space.  Stir to combine.  But don’t over stir or you’ll have tough pancakes.

Heat a skillet (cast iron is best) just above medium heat and add enough oil to grease it.  You can use a pastry brush for this or just pour a little in and spread it around with your spatula.

Once your skillet is hot spoon or pour 1/4 cup or so of batter into hot skillet and cook until bubbles form and edges look “dry”.  This will take 1-2 minutes.  Then flip and cook the second side 30-45 seconds more.  Both sides should be golden brown when done.

Banana pancakes tend to be a little “heavy” or in other words “wetter” than regular pancakes so don’t worry if they don’t seem as fluffy as you are used to.  Just be sure they are cooked.

NOTE… If nothing is runny inside they are cooked.  You may laugh at me telling you that but if you’ve ever had an “under cooked” pancake you’ll know what I mean. 

When my granny was up there in years she couldn’t see so well any more.  And the last time she made us pancakes they were “under cooked”.  We all smiled and ate them but after that it became “MY JOB” to make pancakes when we visited.

Ok, so now that you’ve got one pancake cooked.  Repeat with the rest of your batter and serve.

You can keep your pancakes warm while you cook the rest by stacking them onto a plate placed in an oven set to around 200 degrees if you like.

These vegan banana pancakes freeze well (what pancakes don’t?) and are a snap to reheat in the toaster or microwave.

This recipe makes about 6-8 pancakes.

Well, now you know how to make “Lost Banana Pancakes”.  When you make them let us know if you have them straight up or if you change them up a bit so they’ve become your own vegan banana pancakes.  Fair warning… if you do that they’ll need a cool name!

No matter how you try them be sure to come back here and let us know how much you enjoyed them.  Because when we all share what we know it becomes easier and easier to “Kiss Meat Goodbye, One Recipe At A Time!”

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Deal With A Food Bully Vegan Style!

posted in: Vegan 101 | 0

Food BullyA food bully can really rain on your parade if you let them.  Going vegan is one of the best things you can do for your health, the planet and your conscience.  But that doesn’t mean such a change is always easy.

One major obstacle many of us face is Food Bullying!

They crop up their ugly heads at work, on picnics and family gatherings such as holiday feasts.  The thing that is most disturbing about them and that gives them such power is that they are often family and friends.

These folks will sabotage you if they can for an assortment of reasons.

 

  • They  are well meaning but misinformed and think your diet unhealthy for you
  • They have control issues
  • They don’t want to evaluate their own unhealthy diet

You know them when you see them.  The pushy aunt, in-law or mother who just can’t stand that you’re not eating the same things they are.

They say such things as…

  • “I made your favorite dish, just for you.  What do you mean you aren’t eating any?  You don’t want to hurt my feelings do you?”
  • “It’s just one bite.  What could it hurt?”
  • Some even go so far as to push food at your face!

Stop The Food Bully Before She Begins

The time to deal with the food bully is BEFORE they get the chance to start bullying you.  Connect with them BEFORE  the event or get-together  be sure to explain that you’re happy to attend but because of your new healthy and cruelty free diet you won’t be eating many of the traditional foods being served.

Be sure to tell them it’s nothing to stress over because you’ll bring a dish that you can eat and everyone is welcome to share it with you if they like.

Dr. Fuhrman, of “Eat To Live” fame,  recently spoke on this topic and here is his comment…

TheVeganBanana Food Bully image 2

“One has to tell relatives and friends now, not later at the dinner table, that he/she is on a special, healthy diet prescribed by Dr. Fuhrman to lose weight and prevent cancer so don’t be offended that conventional foods will not be eaten at the holiday get-togethers.

Giving into food bullies is just another dysfunctional excuse to continue in food addiction. The inability to speak one’s feelings for fear of a reprimand is also toxic and may be cancer causing.

By not addressing it, and by not taking a stand with pushy relatives and friends, giving into food bullies is ill-will and selfish; because one is not giving loved ones a chance to learn what they should be considering for their lives also; whether they do it or not.”

Draw your line in the sand and mean it.   Be polite but firm and you’ll be surprised at how these people back down and leave you be.

Bullies of all stripes try to control the actions of others because of underlying envy, resentment or doubt.  Under the bluster they tend to be weak and actually welcome strong direction.

So politely, but firmly,  stand your ground and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the food bully’s attempt to dominate you vanishes.

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Vegan Shoes, Leather Jackets & More Coming Your Way!

posted in: Fashion | 0

Meow's the Time Heel in Black Dots from ModclothSo, starting now we are going to have a fashion section here on the Vegan Banana! Prepare to pamper yourselves ladies (and gentlemen!), this section is going to be full of faux leather and stylish synthetics.

Whether you’re starting out and don’t know what’s safe to wear, or you’re an experienced vegan lifestylist searching for that special something to make all your friends and family (carnivorous or not) jealous, this is the right section for you.

Simple ideas, marvelous results to make all the meatard’s in your life question for a moment whether or not that’s what they think it is.

Their expressions will be priceless when they realize that jacket isn’t real leather, or those shoes. …Oh, no, that coat ISN’T real wool. …Yeah, those are regular jeans, we aren’t that weird.

We’re going to pull together things from all your favorite stores, Nordstrom’s, Modcloth, Nastygal. …Walmart. Yes, Walmart. Places like this have a lot of options if you know what to look for, some of them are even starting to have specific vegan lines.

So, you just never know what you might find there! There are more options everywhere than you might realize. Most shops don’t understand yet that if they say something is Vegan, or go to a little more effort to provide more products free any kind of animal stuff that it’ll sell quite well.

As a community the Vegan’s are growing, we are EXPANDING and the more we expand the more we demand! And demand drives business. The more we demand the more we’ll get, because that’s where the MONEY IS. So here we’re going to be showing you what options people currently have so that we can DEMAND with our most powerful asset.

Our paychecks!

So, let’s use out monetary vote. …AND BUY SOME SHOES!

Return to our “Vegan Fashion” homepage!

Easy Vegan Lentil Taco “Meat” Is Not For The Dog… No Matter How Much He Begs

posted in: Yum Yums | 0

Vegan-Lentil-Taco-Meat03The quick answer to where the Easy Vegan Lentil Taco “Meat” recipe came from is “I was hungry” and the fridge was pretty empty.

The full story is that we currently have an OVER ABUNDANCE of lentils in the house and there’s only so much lentil soup any family can consume.

Now before you go thinking I just have shopping “fits” where I buy way too much of one item for the heck of it, let me explain…

Our 55 pound dog Bodacious has severe dog food allergies. So bad that there is literally NO dog food on the market that doesn’t have at least one thing he’s sensitive to in it.

Therefore, I cook his food. We thought lentils was something he could eat.

We were wrong!

Hence the 10 pounds of lentils staring at me on the shelf begging me to come up with a tasty recipe for them. Luckily last night inspiration (or perhaps it was desperation) struck! We had tortillas, salsa, lettuce… I wanted burritos!

Some of those lentils were about to become a staple of our pre-vegan home… TACO MEAT!

Because I mean, who doesn’t love tacos, right?  And taco meat is so versatile that’s just not funny.  You can make a ton of things with it, kids love it, it’s a grab and go kinda food and to top it all off…  it freezes well.

Yup, this was a winning idea and I came up with that all at the spur of the moment.  Aren’t you proud of me?

What You Need For Easy Vegan Taco Meat

So I gathered up…

  • 1 pound lentils (about 2 cups)
  • 5 cups broth or water
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1-2 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP chili powder

Then I stuck all the ingredients into a large skillet and brought it to a boil. Reduced the heat (to low), stuck a lid on it and simmered it all for about 20 minutes.

At that point the lentils were ALMOST cooked enough but there was still too much liquid in the pan. So I took the lid off, turned up the heat to medium-high and cooked them for another 5-6 minutes stirring/smashing the lentils all the while.

You want your lentil “meat” to be crumbly enough to sprinkle on nachos easily but also slightly smushed so they stick together a little. (Yes, smushed is a word. At least for today!) Just don’t let them get mushy or you’ll have “refried beans” which is still tasty but defeats the purpose of making lentil taco “meat”.

This recipe makes a LOT of “taco meat” but don’t worry it freezes well and can be used to make a large variety of dishes. This is why I consider it a “staple” to keep on hand for quick and easy vegan meals.

Lentils For Vegan Taco Meat
Here Are The Lentils I Used For This Vegan “Meat”. Nothing Fancy As You Can See.

Vegan Lentil Taco Meat can used to make…

  • Hard shell tacos
  • Soft tacos
  • Burritos
  • Wet burritos
  • Nachos
  • Enchilada Casserole
  • Enchilada’s (if you want to roll them up)
  • Taco salad
  • Mexican baked potatoes
  • Quesadillas
  • Chili Mac

Well, you get the idea…

Let your imagination run wild and be sure to share what YOU make with Vegan Taco “Meat” in the comments below.

Easy Vegan Lentil Taco “Meat” At A Glance…

  • 1 pound lentils (about 2 cups)
  • 5 cups broth or water
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1-2 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP chili powder

Add all ingredients to a large skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove lid. Test lentils for tenderness. When nearly done turn up heat to boil off remaining liquid. Stir/smash lentils while doing this.

Don’t forget to tell us how you “doctor up” this lentil taco meat recipe!

If you like this recipe please do us a favor and share it with your friends. Thanks, we’ll owe ya one!

What Do Vegan’s Eat? Your Guide To Going Vegan

posted in: Vegan 101 | 3

what-do-vegans-eatYou may be wondering “What Do Vegans Eat?” I know I sure was when my daughter and I seriously started considering a vegan lifestyle.

In theory it’s easy. All you have to do is eliminate the meat and dairy.

No big whoop! Right?

But in practice, I learned the hard way it’s not quite so simple.

I found myself spinning my wheels while trying to figure out how to put meals on the table. Now I do pride myself on being rather open minded and creative, but when it’s been drilled into you for years on end that a proper meal consists of…

Meat
Potatoes
Vegetable (maybe)
Well, suffice it to say, it was challenging. In fact, that challenge is the reason this site was born. So you don’t have to have the same angst that my daughter and I did. Read More

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