Monday, January 19, 2015

A Peek Inside My Vegan Fridge

One of my favorite types of posts to read other than what someone eats in a day, is what's inside their fridge and pantry.  Not only to see what they buy, eat, and love but also how they organize and store it. So after several of you requested to see mine, I'm excited to share it with you today!

This will be a two part post where I will first share what's inside my fridge, and in the next post we'll tour my pantry.

If you're new to my blog I'll let you know that I feed four people in my family: my 2 daughters (Avery 3, Mila 1), my husband, and myself. My girls and I are gluten-free vegans. My husband is vegetarian and can eat wheat. We try to avoid GMOs when possible (click here to read why), and I try to get organic as much as possible especially for my fruits and veggies. I use the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen to help guide my priorities when it comes to choosing which foods to buy organic and which to buy conventional.

Another thing to note is that several months ago I cut sugar from my diet in nearly all forms (sugar, evaporated cane juice, coconut sugar, date syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc.). The only sweeteners I use now are stevia, a new sweeter called Lakanto (you'll see more about this in my "pantry" post), and fruit. I've always been really sensitive to the effects of sugar in how I get instant headaches and really tired when I eat it, so I've been feeling much better since I've cut it out of my diet. With that said, you will still find a few products in my fridge and pantry that contain sugar, but they are mainly for Brandon and Avery (I do let her have sugar occasionally).

My go-to sweeteners these days.

I've also been reducing my soy intake lately. As a vegan it's easy to go soy-crazy, since so many meat, cheese, and dairy alternatives are made from soy. But for me, I've found that if I eat too much soy, too often and in a more processed form (like soy veggie burgers, soy yogurt, soy "chicken" strips, etc.) I end up with an upset stomach. So lately I've reduced my soy intake to 2-3 times a week, and only in a less processed form like tofu. For example, we'll have tofu for dinner one night, followed by leftovers the next day, and then I'll maybe have tofu for one other meal that week= my 3 servings a week. This is a reduction for me because I used to have it daily, and sometimes twice a day. I'm not anti-soy by any means, but I think that I feel better when I have it more in moderation and in a more whole form, not so processed.

Last, I mention several things about green juice in this post, which I try to have daily and if not, at least several times a week. If you're interested in learning more about my favorite green juice recipe and why I juice, click here to read: "My Daily Green Juice" post.

Okay, now that we've got all that out of the way, let's get to the tour!

No time for the video? Here's a picture tour...

Let's enter my vegan fridge...

Top shelf: 
          • leftover pineaple spears for green juice
          • leftover Trader Joe's Vegetable Broth
          • Trader Joe's Organic Rice Drink, this is our go-to non-dairy milk as we use it for baking, drinking, and in cereal. Even better, there's no carrageenan in it!
          • Trader Joe's Organic Orange Juice (only ingredient: organic orange juice) Now it's been years since I've had soda and Avery has never even tasted it, so the only "fun drink" we have other than green juice and rice milk is this organic orange juice...I know, we're living on the edge right?!) 

Bread and Fruit Shelf:
Here's the rest of my fruit, I usually get 3-4 bunches of bananas each week
for snacks and the rest go in the freezer for smoothies. Oh and I've
got a tomato there too!

Snack Shelf:
        • Almond Dream Strawberry Yogurt This is a favorite of the girls!
        • Trader Joe's Organic Applesauce I use this applesauce a lot in my vegan baking and it's a great "dinner extender" as I call it when Mila says, "All done!" after just 5 minutes of eating. 
        • Muir Glen Organic Mild Salsa This is my go-to salsa, as it does not contain any sugar and is mild in flavor. Sometimes I'll mix some fresh cilantro in to freshen it up.
        • Engine 2 Plant Strong Traditional Hummus. Hummus is one of our favorite afternoon snacks to have with some baby carrots or sprouted chips. 
        • So Delicious Dairy-Free CocoWhip I just recently discovered this at Whole Foods and Avery is more than impressed! It does contain sugar, but she loves it on top of some frozen fruit. 

Leftover Shelf:
        • (in the back) breastmilk I've pumped for Mila, learn more about how I go green with my pumping and baby bottle routine in this post.
        • Leftovers- gluten-free rice noodles on top and quinoa and black beans on the bottom
        • 2 containers of gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan pancakes (I always make a double batch on the weekend for us to eat throughout the week) 
        • Flax seed hair gel, click the title to learn how to make it and why I have to keep it in the fridge
        • Leftover cucumber for green juice
        • Earth Balance Soy-Free Natural Buttery Spread
        • Applesauce/Fruit Pouches for the girls, I use Santa Cruz Organic's Apple Strawberry Sauce and Ella's Kitchen Smoothie Fruits. I used to think these were not very green, but then I had 2 kids and realized how great they are for a healthy snack on the go!
A double batch of pancakes I made on the weekend to
have throughout the week...keep reading to find my new
favorite pancake topping (that's not maple syrup!).

Cheese/Tofu Drawer:
        • Daiya Cheese (Cheddar Style Block, Mozzarella Style Shreds, Smoked Gouda Style Block) This is the only brand of vegan cheese we will ever buy, it melts great, tastes great, and is soy-free! Avery is a big fan of this stuff.
        • Tofurky Deli Slices (contains wheat) Brandon loves making sandwiches with these.
        • Beyond Meat's Beyond Chicken Strips Although I've been trying to reduce my processed soy, both girls love these strips so they have them occasionally. 
        • Nasoya Extra Firm Organic Tofu I've tried a lot of tofus, and this is by far my favorite. Other brands can be dry or have an after taste, but not this one. Perfect tofu every time! 

Veggie Drawer: (almost all from Trader Joe's) I love to get almost all of my fruits and veggies from Trader Joe's because they have some of the lowest prices on organic produce)
        • 2 bags of cauliflower florets, one of our favorite veggies to roast in the oven with a little garlic and salt. We all eat it like it's candy! 
        • 1 bag of organic baby carrots 
        • 1 bag of organic carrots
        • 1 bag of organic broccoli florets
        • 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper
        • 4 organic cucumbers (for green juice)
        • 1 organic celery stalk
        • 1 bunch of cilantro

Greens Drawer (also all from Trader Joe's):
        • 1 bag of organic baby romaine lettuce (for salads that I don't eat...I actually can't tolerate the texture of lettuce, I only like it in smoothies or green juice, but Brandon and Avery love salads!)
        • 1 bag of organic Tuscan kale (for green juice)
        • 2-3 bags of organic baby spinach (for smoothies)

Moving on to the door of the fridge...

 Top shelf:

Sauces and Condiment Shelf: 

Here's a closer look at the Trinity Hill Farms condiments I love.
As you can imagine, it's impossible to find a ketchup or Barbecue
sauce without sugar, but then I found Trinity Hill Farms.
They use stevia to sweeten their sauces, and they are gluten-free and vegan.
At this time they are only available online.

And here's a close up of my other favorite sauces the Coconut Secret Aminos.
I use the Raw Coconut Aminos in place of Bragg's Liquid Aminos (a soy-based sauce
that I used to use in place of wheat-based soy sauce). We also make delicious stir-fry
with the Garlic Sauce and Teriyaki Sauce. I love that these sauces have no sugar
added and are sweetened instead by coconut sap. They have a super short ingredient
list too! Win win!

Smoothie/Chocolate Shelf:

      • Trader Joe's Organic Salted Valencia Peanut Butter: Since I've decreased my soy, I've turned to peanut butter on occasion to give me a little protein pick me up if I need it. One of my favorite snacks is just this peanut butter on a slice of gluten-free toast.
      • East Wind Organic Tahini: We use this for vegan cheese as well as homemade hummus.
      • East Wind Organic Cashew Butter: I love using this to make homemade vegan rice krispies.
      • Trader Joe's Super Fruit Spread: Avery's favorite "jelly" that has no added sugar.
      • Trader Joe's Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread: My favorite "jelly" and my new favorite pancake topping (with a little vegan butter) since I stopped using maple syrup. This takes the sugar content from 25g (for 2 Tbs. maple syrup) to 8g (1 Tbs. jelly), which I love. 

Bulk Shelf:
        • Almond flour I don't cook too often with this flour, but I do have a couple vegan desserts call for it. 
        • Brown flax seeds For making flax seed hair gel as you saw above.
        • Ground flax seeds A must for vegan baking, and replacing eggs (aka "Flax Egg")
        • Trader Joe's cashew meal/flour. Sometimes I will use this for making vegan cheeses that call for cashews to be finely ground. 

Now moving on to the freezer...

Top shelf:
      • Frozen bananas (aka our "Banana Bank" which we use for smoothies, click here to learn more about how I freeze fruit for smoothies). I don't cover them because they are used up within a couple of days and don't seem to go bad.
      • Popsicles with Metro 18/8 Stainless Steel 6 pc. Popsicle Molds. So it figures that it's the middle of winter and my girls are obsessed with popsicles! But I've got a post coming soon where I show how we make them (basically just make a smoothie, pour it into the stainless steel molds), and why I chose this cool eco-friendly mold!
Avery loves her smoothie popsicles...even on the go!

Frozen Fruit Shelf (all from Trader Joe's because they have the lowest prices for organic frozen fruit that I have found):
        • 4 Organic Frozen Strawberries
        • 2 Frozen Pineapple Tidbits
        • Frozen Organic Blueberries
        • Frozen Organic Raspberries (We primarily use all of this frozen fruit for smoothies, but my girls also just love to eat them for snacks. So instead of reaching for chips or snack bars, they are often content just to eat frozen fruit...not always, but sometimes!)

Nuts/Seeds/Bread Shelf (I store them in here to keep them fresh for longer):
        • Almonds
        • Walnuts
        • Cashews-I go through the cashews the most since they are often the base of my vegan, soy-free cheeses such as in this "Soy-Free Lasagna" recipe.
        • Sunflower Seeds
        • Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas. This is the tortillas the girls and I use, and the only one we've been able to find that's gluten-free and vegan. 
        • Food for Life Gluten-Free Brown Rice English Muffins. I love these English Muffins because they don't contain sugar, gluten, or eggs. I like to have them with vegan butter and organic, no-sugar added jelly. 

Brandon's Drawer: 
Many of you have asked me if my husband eats like me, and the answer is no...and that's okay! If there's one this I've learned in my green journey it is that the only person you can change is yourself. So as much as I would love it if my hubby was on board with all my crazy health antics, he does have a sweet tooth and a dairy tooth...and a caffeine tooth, so I let him choose how green/healthy he wants to be. With that said, he does have drawer in the freezer where he keeps some of his snacks, treats and  frozen dinners, such as:
        • Trader Joe's Mac 'n Cheese
        • Trader Joe's Bean & Rice Burritos
        • Trader Joe's Egg Nog Ice Cream (Ha! Probably not what you were thinking you would see in my vegan fridge, but it's what works for him so I've learned to let it go.) 

Now onto the door of the freezer...

Veggie Burger Shelf:
        • Sunshine Burger Barbecue
        • Hilary's Eat Well The World's Best Veggie Burger: This is my favorite veggie burger right now, and as I said earlier, I've been trying to reduce my soy intake so although I loved a tofu veggie burger from Trader Joe's in the past, this quinoa-based burger is my new go-to. It's very unique, and delicious especially with some Trinity Hill Farm's Barbecue Sauce!

Frozen Veggies (all Cascadian Farms):
        • Organic Green Beans
        • Organic Peas
        • Organic Corn (I use these mainly for soups and stews)

Avery's Shelf:
        • Trader Joe's Gone Bananas (Chocolate-Covered Bananas) these do contain sugar, but she loves them and when she's only eating two per serving I think it's a pretty decent sweet treat. Adults's impossible to eat just two little chocolate-covered bananas!
        • Ice Packs for if the girls get hurt. (  :
So there you have it, my vegan fridge and freezer. Did you see any food that you currently buy that we both have? How about a new product your interested in? Post it below! Got any questions? Post those too.

Be sure to check out "A Peek Inside My Vegan Pantry" which will be posted tomorrow...

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