Friday, March 27, 2020


Best Blog Tips


There's no need to hoard food in an emergency situation. And there's also no need to purchase everything on this list! I live on an island in the country, so I keep more in my pantry than I probably would if I lived in a city. Buy only what you like, need and expect that you can use up. If there are things on the list that you don't like, substitute what you do like.  Keep a shopping list going while you isolate, adding to the list goods that you need to replace when you can make a foray to the stores. 

If you have some vegan staples in your freezer, refrigerator, pantry shelves, kitchen cupboards, or even in a closet, you'll be fine.
 While we still have the privilege of going to a grocery store these days, even with restrictions, it might be helpful to make a list of what you have on hand and another list of what you may need to add to your next shopping list.

I made a few lists myself. I must admit that my lists might be longer than yours because 1.) I cook from scratch most of the time; 2.) I live on an island and can't just run to the store whenever I need something (though our little local general store has a pretty good selection!); and 3.) we like variety, but live on a fairly strict budget.

A friend asked me to share my lists with you, so I went into the pantry and peered into  kitchen drawers with pen and notebook one morning, scribbling down names of beans, grains, flours, flours, condiments, etc., and then peered into the refrigerator and the (fortunately newly-defrosted!) freezer to list cold storage items. 

Obviously, you don't need to have everything that I suggest. We all have our own likes and dislikes, allergies, etc. We shouldn't have items that we aren't sure we will use, especially if space is an issue-- and we want to avoid waste, too. We should carefully store leftovers and use them in the next day or two. This is a good time to practice old-fashioned frugality!

I am well-aware of the fact that those of us who can have full pantries, cupboards, fridges and freezers are privileged-- even seniors like my husband and I, who live on a pretty low income. People in our position can still afford to donate some dried, canned, packaged and/or jarred foodstuffs to organizations who help feed those who are struggling.

So, here we go!

It's a good idea to store the following items in glass jars (which you can often find at thrift stores, or you can reuse cleaned and dried jars from storebought items), or in metal containers with lids, or rigid heavy-duty plastic boxes or containers with tight lids, so that pests don't get into them.

                                           BEANS & LENTILS!

Dried legumes (beans, lentils, dried peas, dal, etc.) are essential for vegans, providing  excellent protein, fiber and other nutrients, as well as tasty comfort food! It's handy to have some canned beans on hand, but I prefer to rely on dried legumes.  They are cheap, and they last a long time when stored properly. 

1 pound of dried beans makes up to 6 cups of beans! 1 cup of dried beans makes up to 3 cups of cooked beans. Dried beans are always available in grocery stores and bulk buying stores-- even in dollar stores.

Here are beans and other dried legumes that I always have on hand:

pinto beans
small red beans
kidney beans
Great Northern beans (or other small white beans)
Black beans

blackeyed peas
yellow split peas
green split peas
whole yellow dried peas
green or brown lentils
Gigante beans (large lima beans), if I can find some!
soybeans, to make my own soymilk

***In addition, you might like to have some Indian pulses and dal on hand. The following  article is a good place to start: And there are many, many excellent blogs and pages online to consult for making Indian pulse dishes-- just Google "vegan Indian food blogs". 

PS: You'll find many delicious bean and pulse dishes on my Recipe Links page. Scroll down to "
BEAN AND LENTIL (LEGUME) DISHES".  The picture below is of my Spicy Vegan Basque Chickpea & Sausage Stew.


nutritional yeast flakes
sprouted grain breads (See my recipe for making your own at home.)

textured soy protein (TVP)-- granules, chunks or slices that can be rehydrated in broth.

Here's my recipe for making 
burgers, burger crumbles or "meatballs" with TVP. And here's another vegan "meatball" recipe made with TVP that can be made in quantity and frozen. (They are purposely dry, so that you can cook them in a sauce or broth, where they "plump up" nicely.) 

Butler Soy Curls (Used instead of meat or chicken. I rehydrate Soy Curls in a hot vegan broth before using.) List of Soy Curls Recipes and Soy Curls Info

Mori-Nu Silken Tofu in asceptic (UHT) boxes (firm, medium-firm, and extra-firm)
(Unfortunately not available in Canada anymore!)

Here are some tofu, tempeh, and simple seitan recipes I developed for Alive magazine.

soymilk or other vegan milks in 1 quart or 1 Litre asceptic or UHT (ultra heat treated) boxes. 
"How long does unopened shelf-stable soy milk last at room temperature? Properly stored, unopened shelf-stable soy milk will generally stay at best quality for about 3 to 4 weeks after the date on the package when stored at room temperature."  
(NOTE: Soymilk contains far more protein than almost all other plant-based milks, except pea milk-- see

One more:
Vital Wheat Gluten: This is what you need to make seitan or "wheat meat". Do not make the mistake of buying something called "Gluten flour".  It sometimes is the same as vital wheat gluten, but sometimes it is gluten flour mixed with ordinary wheat flour.)

NOTE: Most vegans make use of tofu and seitan (made from high-protein vital wheat gluten), as well as beans and grains, but there are many more vegan sources of protein. Here's a good link: 

                                            WHOLE GRAINS

To go along with your vegan proteins, for breakfast, or to add to soups, some of the best staples are whole grains, which are generally inexpensive. Here is a list of the ones I keep in my pantry:

rolled oats (These are the most versatile, but you may prefer quick oats or Scotch oats for a hot cereal. All can be ground into flour in a dry blender.)
cornmeal;  corn grits; Italian polenta

bulgur wheat (medium is the most versatile)
pearl barley, which is quick-cooking, and/or pot barley, which takes longer 
(Barley is great in soups and can be ground into a flour in your blender.)

Various kinds of rice are a must in my house:

converted (parboiled) rice, (Here's an article about the health benefits of converted rice.)
Basmati rice (you may be able to find a converted variety, as well, which is very good.)
Brown rice-- short grain, long grain, Jasmine and Basmati

A few more specialty rice varieties for the gourmet in you:

If you like making risotto, you'll need some Arborio rice or 
Carnaroli rice
Jasmine rice-- a fragrant white long-grain Thai variety
Red rice (See for all the varieties of this healthful rice.)
Black rice--"There are various varieties and names for this medium-grain rice, including forbidden rice, Thai black rice, Nerone black rice and Venere black rice. All are high in fibre and have a mild, nutty taste. The grains are very high in antioxidants, containing as much or more than the levels found in blueberries..." From:
Japanese short-grain glutinous rice or sweet rice, or "Sushi rice" 

Thai or Chinese glutinous rice or "Thai sticky rice"

Other grain possibilities: 
(P.S: you can easily grind any of these 3 into flour in a dry blender.)


masa harina (special fine cornmeal for making tortillas) 

quinoa (I just keep the white variety most of the time, but red and black versions are available.) 
Note: Quinoa (technically a seed) is expensive, but is very nutritious and high in protein. 
I like to cook it 1/2 & 1/2 with medium bulgur wheat. (1 cup of each with 3 cups of vegan broth-- bring to a boil, turn down to Low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Leftovers can be frozen in portions for future meals.)

For extra nutrition and fiber, you might like to keep the following for adding to hot cereals, muffins, etc.:

oat bran
wheat bran
wheat germ

If you like to make your own flour and have a home flour mill or heavy-duty blender for grinding, stock up on:
whole hard wheat kernels

spelt kernels


Pasta made with Durham Semolina (whether it is whole grain or not) is not only vegan (no eggs!), but is high in protein. It is essential in our household!
1 cup of cooked durham semolina pasta contains 6 to 7 grams protein and 2 grams of fiber. So, if your main dish consists of 2 cups cooked durham semolina pasta mixed with vegetables and a light sauce, you have an inexpensive and protein-rich  full-meal-deal.

See for the most comprehensive photo gallery of Italian dried pasta shapes I've ever seen!  Pick your faves and always keep a few packages in your pantry for quick vegan meals. Here is the proper way to cook dry Italian pasta:

And, by the way: "The way the carbohydrates and protein in pasta are bound means that pasta has a lower glycemic index, or GI, meaning it is digested more slowly than other refined carbohydrates, according to researchers at the University of Sydney and the University of Toronto. Therefore, it might keep you full and release blood sugar (glucose) into your body more gradually, which could help with weight loss. Cold pasta is also a source of resistant starch, which may also help you lose weight." From

What about Asian noodles?  By all means, if you are a fan, keep some dried Asian noodles on hand for quick and tasty meals, especially when mixed with stir-fried vegetables and some vegan protein, such as grilled or fried tofu. But not all are winners in the nutrition department.  Read this article for the characteristics, uses, and nutrition facts for 6 types of Asian noodles:

                                                NUTS & SEEDS

Nuts and seeds are very nutritious-- full of protein, fiber and healthy fats.  But they can be expensive. Vegans should have a few varieties of nuts & seeds in the freezer and eat a couple of tablespoons a day, if possible. (Those 2 tablespoons can be mixed in with other foods, or used in recipes.)

If money is tight, your best bet is to look for bargains in bulk buy stores, big box stores, co-op stores, discount stores and even dollar stores, and then store your purchases in jars in your refrigerator or freezer. Here is a good article on the pluses and minuses, and the dollars and cents of nuts and seeds!

Here is one quote:
"Enjoy peanuts and sunflower seeds if you like them. I think people tend to look down on them because they’re commonly available and typically less expensive (under a dollar per 100g at nearly every store I checked). But peanuts have been linked to the same heart and longevity benefits as pricer nuts and sunflower seeds are a good source of antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium. They’re a veritable heart health bargain."

I always keep the following in my refrigerator or freezer-- most are reasonably affordable:

shelled raw sunflower seeds
shelled raw pumpkin seeds
sesame seeds
poppy seeds
flax seeds (brown and golden)-- 1 T. ground mixed with 3 T. water makes a great egg sub in baking.
Other options:
chia seeds

I wrote this blog post on replacing expensive nuts, and nuts that are not eco-friendly (or not animal-friendly):

So, how can you make rich-tasting, creamy vegan dishes even on a tight budget and while trying your best to avoid humanitarian and ecological pitfalls? Peanuts and seeds!  They are inexpensive, easy to find, grown in North America, and chock full of nutrition and good fats. 

My three staples, often used in combination, to replace nuts (especially cashews) in cooking are:
raw hulled white sesame seeds
shelled raw sunflower seeds
unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Nut and seed butters, such as peanut butter, and tahini, are also staples that can be stored for quite a long time and I always have them in my kitchen. (Yes, I know that peanuts are actually legumes, but they are used like nuts!) 

Besides peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter can be used in delicious spicy vegan West African stews and soups. (Just Google it and lots of recipes will come up. If necessary, you can substitute non-dairy milks for the dairy version, vegan broth for the other kind, and  seitan strips or Soy Curls™ instead of meat or chicken.)  (PS: I rehydrate Soy Curls in a hot vegan broth before using.)

Tahini (sesame seed paste) is, of course, used in hummus, but also in Middle Eastern sauces and in salad dressings. See this link for lots of ideas:  (The list is not for vegans only, but you can ignore the non-vegan recipes [or "veganize" them!] and there will still be plenty to tempt you.)

                                         FLOURS & STARCHES:

unbleached white flour
whole wheat flour
spelt flour (both whole grain and "white" or "light")
(You may also want to have some ordinary cake flour, pastry flour and bread flour.)
chickpea flour (high protein and GF)

yellow pea flour (high protein and GF)
potato flour (GF) (NOT to be confused with potato starch!)
coconut flour (use carefully-- it absorbs liquid quickly)

As I mentioned above, you can grind some of your own flours from other nutritious and inexpensive grains, such as oats, millet, buckwheat, and sorghum, as well as quinoa (more expensive) (all GF), and from seeds, in a good blender, which will save both money and freshness. 
For those of you who need to eat a gluten-free diet, or a low-glycemic diet (or both), you don't have to depend on starchy white GF flour mixes. I bake muffins, cakes and quick breads with a combination of 2/3rds oat flour and 1/3 chickpea flour, with good results.

Starches (GF) for thickening:
tapioca starch (Note: If you are diabetic, note that this is very high-glycemic)
wheat starch
arrowroot flour
potato starch (NOT to be confused with potato flour! Potato starch, BTW, contains resistant starch, which can help lower blood sugar, but potato starch does not. See: )


instant baking yeast
baking powder
baking soda
salt (table salt and kosher salt)
guar gum and/or xanthan gum
agar agar powder
powdered egg replacer (Orgran "No-Egg" or Ener-G Egg Replacer)
(Here's a recipe for crispy meringues made with powdered egg replacer.)

psyllium husk (Can be used in vegan cheeses, smoothies and to thicken salad dressings.)
***See this article for how to use high-fiber psyllium husk or psyllium husk powder in cooking and baking:

Olive oil
Chinese (dark) sesame oil (a little goes a long way-- has a smoky flavor)
your favorite vegetable oil for cooking 
coconut oil (use sparingly, as it is high in saturated fat, but is essential when you need a more solid fat)

Good brand of soy sauce or tamari
Chinese mushroom soy sauce
Vegan broth paste, powder, and/or cubes
Marmite (adds  "beefy" taste to stews, soups, etc.)
vegan gravy browner (for color)
dried mushrooms
liquid smoke
lemon and lime juice in bottles
Japanese rice vinegar
cider vinegar
balsamic vinegar (Kirkland brand from Costco is by far the best affordable brand!)

canned tomatoes (whole, diced, pureed)
canned tomato paste
canned beans of your choice
canned pumpkin
canned fruit of your choice (pineapple comes in handy for baking)
unsweetened applesauce
sauerkraut in jars


shredded coconut
panko breadcrumbs
dried dulse flakes
sheets of Japanese nori seaweed

sugars and/or other sweeteners of your choice
maple syrup
agave nectar (dark and light)
molasses (both "fancy" and blackstrap)
brown rice syrup

dark cocoa powder for baking
dairy-free chocolate chips

dark baking chocolate
dried fruits, such as dates, prunes, raisin, cranberries, apricots, apples, figs, etc.
vanilla extract
lemon and other extracts of your choice

Herbs & spices of your choice
chilies and chili flakes
garlic granules (better than the powdered version)
onion flakes (These can be ground in a small electric spice/coffee grinder to make onion powder-- it's much tastier than buying stale old commercial onion powder!)

teas and coffee

Not essential, but helpful for tasty vegan meals:
canned jackfruit
canned vegetables of your choice
canned and packaged soups of your choice

canned Chinese vegetarian "Peking Roast Duck" (Mun-Cha'i-Ya)
canned Chinese fried gluten pieces ("Braised Gluten Tidbits" or Cha'i-Pow-Yu)
(The 2 items just above, usually available as  
Companion brand, are widely available in Asian markets and in many large North American supermarkets. They are delicious!)

***I always have wine in the cupboard, even though drinking alcohol gives me a headache!  But, I grew up in a California winery and my mom was a genius at cooking with wine.  Just a little wine can boost some recipes from the "good" to the "great"!  




Fresh fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy diet, but, for storage purposes, you need to rely on produce that will not deteriorate in a short time.

***This is a great article help you store your produce more efficiently:
Fruits and veggies can rot quickly because of a pesky gas called ethylene. Here are the items you should never store together."
***Here is another excellent article about produce storage from Cook's Illustrated magazine:

***NOTE about celery: Celery is a must-have in the kitchen, adding flavor to broths, soups and stews (the leaves are particularly flavorful), and used raw for dipping or for filling with spreads. I have just discovered that the best way to store celery for a longer time is to simply wrap it tightly in aluminum foil! Evidently, when you store celery this way, it will stay crisp for over a month. 
See this article
From the article: "Aluminum foil isn’t the most eco-friendly way to store produce, but it might be worth it in the name of preventing food waste. Plus, the aluminum foil could be reused multiple times to store a few rounds of celery if you’re carefully wrapping and unwrapping it. Then, once it starts to shred too much for wrapping celery, you can either recycle it or put it to use elsewhere, like cleaning your grill for winter storage."

Refrigerated items to eat first:

green onions
tender greens such as spinach and chard

bean sprouts
snow peas

Later, eat these:
("Ripening of the avocado is slowed down greatly by refrigeration, so it is usually a good idea to let the avocado ripen fully at room temperature. Once it is ripe, it can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a week. This way, it is ready to use whenever you want it. See
Bell peppers
fresh mushrooms
Brussels sprouts
green beans
cabbage (green, red and Savoy)
celery (see Note about celery above)
apples (See  )
 for how to store apples and which varieties are suited to longer storage.)

Longer storage produce:
sundried tomatoes
cucumbers (unlike most veggies, they will actually rot faster in the fridge)

sweet potatoes (these can be orange or purple)
winter squash and pumpkin

turnips and rutabagas
Jerusalem artichokes
yams (the flesh of these is usually whitish)

apples (See  )
 for how to store apples and which varieties are suited to longer storage.)oranges

                                             FROZEN FOODS:

homemade & commercial vegan meat alternatives (vegan burgers, frankfurters, sausages, cutlets)
frozen corn
frozen green beans
frozen peas and/or peas and carrots
frozen edamame (green soybeans), both shelled and in the pods
frozen spinach and other greens
frozen berries and other favorite fruits

your favorite breads, buns, rolls, etc., storebought and/or homemade  (sprouted grain breads are excellent)
tortillas and flatbreads (wheat, sprouted grain, ancient grains, and/or corn)
cooked grains and beans

homemade soups and broths
frozen cubes of aquafaba (chickpea broth) for baking and cooking-- See:

frozen cubes of cooked, pureed yellow split peas for use in baking as a fat substitute-- See


homemade and commercial vegan meat alternatives
soymilk (which contains far more protein than almost all other plant-based milks, except pea milk-- see
other preferred plant-based milks

vegan cheeses and spreads
vegan butter substitute of your choice
(If you want to make your own vegan butter, try this easy and delicious recipe .

vegan mayonnaise (here's my favorite homemade recipe-- low in fat!)
vegan yogurt (Here's my homemade soy yogurt InstantPot recipe.)
Your favorite tofu and tofu products
Packaged Asian deep-fried tofu squares (Great for quick stir-fries and can be frozen, and they actually are very low in fat!)

marinated artichoke hearts

Miso-- see varieties here
NOTE: If you are looking for a vegan alternative to anchovies or anchovy paste in Italian recipes, or the fish sauce in many Asian recipes, light miso is an excellent substitute! You can add dulse or nori seaweed flakes for more flavor, too.

hot sauces (such as Sriracha, or see  this link for info on hot sauces world wide:
jams and jellies of your choice
pickles of your choice
barbecue sauces
A1 Steak Sauce (It's vegan! This flavorful sauce contains tomato purée, raisin paste, vinegar, sugar, salt, orange purée, and a blend of spices. Try it on grilled veggies.)salad dressings (storebought and/or homemade)
sweet Thai chili sauce

Gochujang (Korean sweet red chile paste)-- Google "vegan gochujang recipes" for ideas.

Chinese cooking sauces and condiments:(See more at )
Hoisin sauce
Chinese chili oil

Chinese vegetarian "oyster" sauce (made from mushrooms)
Chinese fermented black beans (Dou-chi)
Chinese black bean paste or sauce (Here's a homemade recipe:
Chinese broad bean paste (
Chinese brown bean paste

vegan Chinese "fish" sauce"-- See this recipe for a homemade version:
P.S.: I use a medium sherry in place of Chinese cooking wine.

That's all, Folks!

All the best during this trying time!

Sunday, March 15, 2020


Best Blog Tips

I'm so happy with this new recipe!  I wanted a cheese spread with a little more "bite" than my those I had devised in the past--  tasty as they may be! My priorities were that it be easy and inexpensive to make (with ingredients that are easy to find), reasonably low in calories and fat, versatile to use, more or less "meltable", and, most of all,  full of flavor. This new recipe ticked off all the boxes! And I was thrilled that it even gets brown spots and a sort of "crust" on top when grilled, broiled or briefly air-fried. I hope you'll give it a try.

Tangy "Cheese" Toast

Printable Copy
Makes 2 cups; 16 servings (2 tablespoons each serving)
© Bryanna Clark Grogan, 2020. All rights reserved.

This spread is delicious for filling celery sticks, or scooping up with other raw vegetables. It’s also delicious on crackers, and it make the best “cheese toasties”! (See note at end of recipe.)

If you can't use corn products
, omit the corn flour in the recipe
 (see highlighted note on this in ingredient list below) and use finely-ground millet flour instead, or 2 Tablespoons of potato starch (not potato flour).

NOTE: After 1 or 2 days in the refrigerator, the flavor will be even more delicious, and tangier, too.

8 ounces medium-firm tofu, drained (but not pressed)
1/4 cup hot soy milk, or other creamy plant-based milk (OR use 2 T. soy milk and 2 T. dry white wine; OR just add 1 T. white rum to the soy milk)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
[I haven't tried this yet, but you could try using olive oil instead of the coconut oil, OR, if you don't use oil, use 2 T. more soymilk instead. With no oil, I don't know if it will melt as well.  I will try it out soon and let you know.]
2 tablespoons tahini
4 teaspoons fine corn flour

[Clarification: "Corn flour" in North America is made up of 2 words
It refers to finely-milled yellow cornmeal. (It is usually available in South ASian grocery stores, BTW.) This is what you should be using.
ornflour" in the UK & much of the British Commonwealth, is written as 1 word and refers to what we call cornstarch in North America. See ]
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon white miso
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules OR 6 soft, lightly roasted garlic cloves, peeled

Measure all of the ingredients into your blender and blend on high speed until the mixture is very smooth. You may need to stop the blender and push the mixture down at some point, especially if you aren’t using a heavy-duty blender.

Scoop into a
2-cup capacity refrigerator storage container, smooth it out and cover. (A container with a lid that locks in place is best.)

NOTE: Making “cheese toasties”. My method is to toast the bread slices lightly, smear with about 2 T. of the spread (or more, if you want it really “gooey”) and air-fry in my Cuisinart Air-fry Oven for a few minutes, on the wire basket. Watch carefully and remove when there’s a nice little “crust” with a few brown spots. You can use an oven broiler or a toaster oven on "broil", too.