Addendum to Hilton Head Island

As I was making supper tonight, I realized that I had left 1 restaurant out that caters to vegan needs.  We ended up not going there for a couple of reasons.  1) Cost.  It’s not a cheap pizza joint.  2) An influential member of the family wasn’t feeling very well and didn’t want to “waste” a pizza night on an expensive place when he couldn’t eat much….and he also was loathe to take very hungry teenaged boys there.

It’s a place called Mellow Mushroom.  Put on your bell-bottom pants and your hippie hat, because you’ll fit right in.  😀  It looks like a lot of fun.  If you get to go, please tell me if you liked it!

A Vegan on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head is incredibly beautiful!  My family enjoyed staying at a friends’ place for a week.  I didn’t want to leave.  I have this picture as my computer background to torture console myself.

The main reason for this post is to help others who might do an internet search about vegan food at Hilton Head.  That’s what I did before we left ~ and I was very disappointed.  There wasn’t much listed that was a help.  I found out why when we got there and went food shopping.  (We had access to a full kitchen and made most of our food, thankfully.)  That’s because, evidently, most people who go there don’t buy healthy foods ~ because the stores stock little to none.  Which came first, the veggie chicken or the egg replacer, I don’t know.  Stores won’t stock what people won’t buy…but people can’t buy what stores won’t/don’t stock.

We went to Bi-Lo, Publix, Fresh Market, and Walmart.

At Bi-Lo I found organic canned beans, including some maple baked beans that were pretty good from a can!  Publix had some tofu and veggie meats near the produce aisle ~ and possibly some vegan sour cream, too, but I’m not positive.  All of them had one variety or more of non-dairy milk.  All of the mentioned stores had gluten-free items, including cereals.

The produce aisles of several grocery stores that we checked out were sparse….and contained but few organic items.  Fresh Market had the most organic stuff, but even they didn’t have much, which surprised me.  The prices for organic produce at all the stores was chokingly high, but that was the overall theme of most of the island’s pricing anyway.

There wasn’t a single store than carried my favorite curly red kale ~ agony!  How was I going to make my daily green smoothies?  Now, granted, it could be simply a case of it being too hot to grow kale in the south during the summer.  (A dear friend says that it disappears from Florida shelves due to that issue.  It becomes too bitter.)  I did find a little plastic box of baby green kale to buy…and, wow, was it bitter.  (I can hear Janice saying, “Told ya so!” now.)  ;D  I had to choke a few smoothies down simply for my health’s sake until the kale was gone.  I ended up with a plastic box of non-organic baby spinach for the rest of the week and was grateful.

I brought my blender so that I could make smoothies for everyone at the very least.  Humph.  Of the 3-4 grocery stores that we went to first, I found ~ in the whole store, nature’s market or not ~ only frozen organic strawberries and blueberries and one store had Dole frozen mango (which I snapped up.)  It wasn’t until we went to Walmart that I found the most produce (although not much organic other than boxed greens) at the best prices!  Fresh cherries were $1.50 a pound!  And get this….they had a full complement of frozen fruit ~ mango, pineapple, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries.  Why didn’t I start there?  They have vegan burgers, too.

There is a tiny little health food store tucked in a little plaza on Mathews Drive near Rt. 278.  Don’t expect too much, though, as they aren’t heavily stocked.  Perhaps if you called ahead of time to order something for when you arrived it would help.  They did have Veganaise, 1 package of Daiya cheese (on sale due to it’s expiration date rapidly approaching), and some Tofutti sour cream (the hydrogenated version – bleck.)  I think I saw some Rice Dream ice cream.  Most places didn’t carry our favorite ice cream substitutes, either.

There is one restaurant that I found online that caters to vegetarians and vegans with a separate menu if you just ask for it.  It was called Roastfish and Cornbread.  (Follow the link and then click on the vegetarian menu option.)  We drove passed it once and it looked pretty small and unassuming, but very interesting.  There are picnic tables outside to choose from, as well as indoor seating.  I really wanted to go, but we had small fry vegetarians in our family group who probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the unique-sounding menu.  So…maybe next time.  Its low-country and Gullah-inspired food looked very tasty.

We did end up with some Chinese take-out (I don’t recommend Dragon 1 in the Bi-Lo plaza near Sam’s Club) and veggie-lover’s pizza without cheese from Pizza Hut.  Another night when we didn’t plan on it, we had to go out (long story…) and opted for Olive Garden, because we knew we could get salad, breadsticks, minestrone soup, and/or eggplant parmesan (again, without the cheese.)

Overall, if you are adventurous, you could probably go to some of the seafood restaurants and live on salads and hush puppies ~ perhaps you could even ask to speak to a chef about a special vegan plate if you are brave.  Or you could fix your own meals with access to a kitchenette.  Plan on bringing a few items in a cooler from home so that you don’t have to try to find them locally (i.e., vegan cheese, sour cream, etc.)  It can be done, it just isn’t very easy.

If I had known, I would have prepared ahead more.  I was thankful that I did take soy curls, chicken-style seasoning, Bragg’s, our favorite gluten-free pasta, and a few other items along.  Next time ~ I will take more!  And I do hope there will be a next time.

Please see the addendum posted here.

Vacation Zucchini Casserole

What do you do with excess zucchini when friends go on vacation and welcome you to help yourself to their extras?  (Especially when you miss one that hides well and it gets pretty big?)  You invent a new casserole, of course!  Doesn’t everyone do that?  ;D

Vacation Zucchini Casserole

  • lots of zucchini, sliced thinly – no more than 1/4″ thick (mine was about 1 ft. long with a 3″ diameter)
  • frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 8-10 oz. package vegan cheese, shredded
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly and broken apart into separate rings or half rings
  • 2 jars (24 oz.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pkg. vegan chorizo (mine was from Trader Joe’s, but Walmart has one, too)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Chop chorizo with a fork into the spaghetti sauce.  Put 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a 4 qt. dish.  Add a layer of frozen potatoes so that the sauce is barely seen or not at all.  Add a layer of zucchini.  Cover with half of the cheese.  Add a layer of onion rings.  Add another 1/3 of the sauce.  Cover with another layer of zucchini, then cheese, then potatoes.  Finish with the last 1/3 of the sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn oven up to 450° and continue baking for another 45-60 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread to dip into the marvelous saucy, spicy juices, or serve over rice, quinoa, or pasta.

Apple Pecan Muffins

I got a message from a friend who is cooking for a group of young people involved in an Christian outreach program this summer.  She needed 2 dozen vegan muffins ~ could I help?  How could I say no?  Especially since this amazing woman is cooking for these kids even though she recently fell and broke her shoulder!

These are some of my favorite muffins and I wanted to share them with you.  But I confess I haven’t made them recently, because hubby and I would be tempted to eat them, wheat and all.  So, this was the perfect excuse to bake them for the recipe photo-op, but with temptation being removed!  🙂

I’ve been making this recipe for a very long time.  I made and froze these before my last baby was born so that once I needed them, hubby could bring them to me in the hospital to eat.  (Hospital food and veganism just don’t seem to dovetail very well.)  That baby is now 15!!  And I’ve been making them longer than that.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I used to.

Apple Pecan Muffins

  • 2 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s are good)
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (best if you can get ahold of Saigon or Ceylon, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder (do not add water)
  • 1 c. chopped apple (the finer you chop it the softer it will be)
  • 1/4 c. broken pecan pieces (or chop if you want finer pieces)
  • 1-1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • soy milk added to lemon juice to make 1 c. total**
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (or 1/2 c. applesauce & an extra 1/4 c. oil)
  • 1/4 c. extra light olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray muffin cups with oil.  Whisk lemon juice and soy milk together and set aside.

Mix flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and egg replacer powder in a mixing bowl.  Add pecans and chopped apple, tossing to coat apple with flour mixture.  In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk/lemon juice mixture (which should have curdled into vegan buttermilk) with the applesauce, oil, and maple syrup/honey.  With a rubber spatula, scrape wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until no dry spots remain. 

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  As you can see from the picture of the unbaked batter, these will be very full muffin cups!

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Place muffin pan on wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes.  (Trust me on this, okay?  It’s absolutely necessary, or your muffins will not let go of the pan and you’ll have muffin pieces that are slightly gooey because they haven’t finished setting up in the pan.)  Remove from pans with fingers ~ if they won’t let go with just a tiny tug, then let them cool a little longer (esp. in the summer if you don’t have the A/C on.)  Place on rack to finish cooling.

** I have only tried this with soy milk.  It probably works with other non-dairy milks, but I cannot vouch for how they behave.

Help for Outside Pets

So, apparently summer is a deterrent to my blog!  No new recipes.  A boring repeat of food on my family’s plates.  No ideas being generated.  Hmmm.  My apologies, followers and family!  Once I get a vacation, I’ll try to do better.

Meanwhile, our very large outdoor dog** has been struggling with the nasty summer biting, flying insects.  In a search about the internet, I found some interesting ideas.  He absolutely hates the typical aerosol sprays that we were putting on him and they didn’t work very well, or for very long.  What I ended up with is a modified version of a couple of different ideas.  The best thing??  It works!  The dog rarely has flies buzzing him and his ears aren’t all chewed up this year.  Yes!  And he has a healthier option to wear on his fur. A win-win situation.

I understand this will also work on horses, but since I don’t have any to try it on…you’ll have to let me know if it works.  🙂

Fly Spray

In a 16-oz or larger spray bottle (I picked one up at Target in the cleaning aisle), put in the following:

  • 1 inch of white vinegar
  • 1 inch of natural dishwashing soap (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • a few drops of tea tree oil
  • filtered water added to the 16-oz. mark

Shake well before each use.  Spray on animal whenever the flies are buzzing.  Repeat as necessary.

**Before anyone has a big hairy fit about my doggy living outside, let me assure you that he hates inside.  He, like his ancestors before him and his cousins the wolves and coyotes, loves the outdoors – rain, snow, etc.  He has a dog house, plenty of food and water, and enjoys his little life.  Besides…my daughter is allergic to him.