Ok, well here it is. my pantry. Don't be shocked by how little food there appears to be in here. It's just that I don't buy many prepared foods, few canned goods at all. I make my beans and rice from scratch and pair those with fresh produce. So I really just keep beans, lentils, rice, pasta and lots of vinegars and oils and nuts. I've had people ask me where I keep my food while they are standing in the pantry. So anyways this little room was a nightmare when we got the house. It is much better now. Lots of beadboard and white paint. The only thing that remains of the original is the pull chain for the light.
So the real point of this post is to tell you about the simple substitutions that I use in my everyday cooking. These ingredients are amazing and make vegan cooking so, so easy.
I use nutritional yeast as a substitute for cheese. By mixing it with nuts in the food processor it makes a delicious topping for pastas, pizza, chili and soups. You can sprinkle it directly onto popcorn and it has a yummy parmesan taste to it. Egg Replacer is great in baked goods. Earth Balance margarine, probably the best margarine ever made. It is so creamy and delicious w/o the heavy fatty taste of real butter. Veganaise, I love this mayonnaise. I use it everyday for sandwiches and salad dressings. I also included agave syrup which I use daily instead of regular sugar. It has a really low glycemic index rating. One other thing I do daily is instead of discarding the peelings and ends of my veggies, I collect them in a bag throughout the week. Then I'll just pop them into a soup pot with cold water and seasonings and cook them for about an hour. I let it cool then strain the broth into containers so that I don't have to buy prepared vegetable stock. It keeps the waste down and saves money.
I post my weekly menus more for inspiration than anything. I spent quite a few years as a professional chef so lots of my recipes are in my head or are a combination of 2 or more recipes. There are so many good cookbooks and websites out there. I will try to start writing things down as I make them, cooking times, temperatures, etc. But again, if you see something that sounds good, just pop over to vegetarian times and they will most likely have the recipe or something like it. I hope this was useful to you. Happy cooking!