happy world vegan month

i'm so excited b/c november is world vegan month.  
in february of next year i'll have been a vegan for 5 full years.  
that is more exciting to me than my real birthday.

i'm hoping to do my best this month to encourage anyone and everyone to give it a try.
it will change your life, not just health-wise but compassion-wise.  before i became first a vegetarian and then a vegan i gave little thought to how my actions could possibly be making others suffer. 
knowing that no animals had to suffer in order for me to eat has had a profound effect on my life.

to further my vegan committment
i've decided that i will no longer purchase any new leather products at all.  ever.
i have enough shoes and bags to last a lifetime but if i do need something i will buy a vegan version
or a 2nd hand leather version. 

it just so happens that world vegan month coincides perfectly with a request from a dear reader who would like to see just what i eat on a regular basis.
  so that is what i'm going to do.
i'm going to try and photograph most of my meals for the entire month.
seeing my meals laid out should be interesting.

not really, it's probably going to be super boring but i think it's important to see that it isn't hard at all.

if you come here for other reasons besides being vegan, don't worry, i promise to still bore the living daylights out of you with my take on fashion and decorating.

oh, back to the posting on my everyday meals, i really don't know how this is going to go, for instance i don't need to show you the same bowl of oatmeal every morning, so i won't.
i'm just going to try and give you a steady flow of photos and recipes that give you an idea of how basic my meals are.
you are going to see that we eat just like you only with no meat, eggs or dairy.  

so this is what we had last night for dinner...

pasta with broccoli in alfredo sauce

while your pasta is cooking,
 in a small saucepan
melt 2 T of earth balance with
2 T of flour and whisk together until a warm nutty aroma emerges
then add a cup of soymilk, stirring constantly and bring to a slow boil and remove from heat.
stir in 1/2 c of shredded vegan cheese (i use daiya mozzarella)
add a little salt and pepper as needed

just before the pasta is done throw in some chopped broccoli to the boiling water.

drain and serve with cheese sauce.

that's it!

see you later - as in tomorrow

and have an excellent day.



  1. I'm having pasta with alfredo sauce in ten minutes time, it's one of my all time favourite dishes.

  2. Hi Janet - this won't be boring at all. I think it will give lots of ideas to many of us who are thinking of even just cutting back on the meat.

  3. Yum! Thank you for sharing! And this is great for vegans who need new dinner ideas. And doing the leather free is a challenge for a fashionista...but totally worth it! Thank you for what you are doing<3

  4. Looking forward to these posts! I've been vegan only since June of this year. It was amazingly easy for me, honestly, I was just so surprised. It turns out that everything I really love to eat is vegan and it has been so very freeing to just say no to the eggs and meat and milk.

  5. Great idea to post what you eat since there are misconceptions that vegans are deprived. I just posted a (not very nice) photo of the garam masala cake with orange vanilla frosting and toasted coconut that I made for my boyfriend's birthday (Nov. 1, so he was destined to be vegan) on my blog -- hardly deprivation! I look forward to seeing your meals.
    Good for you for moving away from leather. I haven't purchased new leather in 6 years. I am always on the look out for vegan shoes on the market and have resurected by old leather ones by painting them.

  6. I kind of look forward to it too. Although that looks like an appetizer.

  7. Freaky, I'm having exactly the same tonight! Fab that you're saying no to leather, I've only bought it second-hand leather for a while now. Dying to see more of your food posts, I need inspiration. x

  8. Janet - I am excited to hear about your recipes. My husband and I watched "Forks over Knives" in September and have been on a path of cutting out meat and dairy ever since. Looking forward to more inspiration for our menus. Love your blog.

  9. Looks delicious and fast for a weeknight meal in minutes.
    I have oats for breakfast every morning too and had pomegranite seeds on mine this morning. Do you add fruit to yours Janet?

  10. I'm looking forward to this series. I am always looking for meatless & healthy options.

  11. I'm proud to say that both my hubby and I have been vegans for 3 whole weeks~ha! It's much easier than we thought and we both feel great and full of energy. It surprises me to no end that our family and close friends don't understand and have no clue why a vegan diet is far better for us than the alternative but we explain it as best we can.

  12. Happy World Vegan Month Janet, Vegans and Pre-Vegans!

    It's terrific to start World Vegan Month at the Gardener's Cottage with a simple, easy receipt and beautiful photographs.

    Some people become become vegan immediately upon learning that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change.

    Others change their diet right away when they learn of the immense suffering of farm animals for food we don't need.

    And some people are more comfortable changing in stages and in an organized fashion. For those who like to take things in steps, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has a 21 Day Vegan Kickstart. Coleen Patrick-Goudreau has a 30 Day Vegan Challenge.

    Hurricane Sandy is a horrible reminder of what man made climate change is doing to our world. Everyone can help lessen the impact of climate change by reducing and eventually ceasing consumption of animals. World Vegan Month is a good time to start.

    1. Coleen Patrick-Goudreau's 30 Day Vegan Challenge

      The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's 21 Day Vegan Kickstart

  13. That looks delicious, Janet. My daughter in law served a lovely pasta this weekend which was similar to yours. Just wide noodle pasta with a bit of oil, parmesan and broccoli florets. It, too, was delicious.

  14. I didn't know about vegan month & this looks v tasty. I'm a vegetarian and have been all my life (I've never liked meat or fish) but sorry, I don't think I could live without cheese.

  15. This is just a great idea--simple, healthy food, kindly prepared and beautifully plated. I am sort of embarrassed to admit that, though I was a vegetarian for 25 years, when I remarried 7 years ago (to a HUNTER, God help me!) I caved somewhat and now include what I like to think of as 'ethically raised' or wild animal products in my diet. HOWEVER, in return, we have many meals each week that are vegetarian, so I like to think I am gradually steering him a little in that direction. In my heart, though, I know I will eventually return to my meatless ways. Hope to get some more good ideas from your month of reporting from your kitchen.

    p.s. nothing you write or photograph is ever boring!

    1. The public is being mislead by labels such as "Cage Free," "Free Range," "Humane Certified," "Grass Fed," "Organic," "Local," etc.

      For more information, see

      Humane Myth: Deconstructing the Myth of Humane Animal Agriculture

      Humane Myth: Frequently Asked Questions

      The Faces of "Free Range" Farming

      Happy Cows: Behind the Myth

      Cage Free Eggs: Behind the Myth

  16. I'm so looking foward to this. I keep trying, but I do find it hard with all these meat eating boys around.

  17. i'm vegetarian, so we sometimes eat vegan, too.
    your pasta looks simple & chic ~ a lot like your wardrobe : )

    can't wait to see what else is on your plate this month...

    i have one request:
    could you do a post about your thanksgiving in advance for those of us who are not cooking the traditional feast?
    we love the "sides" but i might just do a cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres this year.

    thank you ♥

    1. oh catie i will for sure be posting my meal before thanksgiving and it will def be non-traditional. actually i'm very excited about it!

  18. I'm going to enjoy this. Over the last 6 years I've found myself eating less and less meat. No idea why. I often wonder if I'm getting enough iron, so I look forward to your upcoming posts. The video is very thought-provoking, thanks for including it!

  19. From the day I stumbled across your blog, I was immediately drawn to your opinions on simplicity, peacefulness, happiness. Breath of fresh air. But the comments regarding eating Vegan never did much for me - this was the one area that I didn't get. It was new and odd. Plus I have a family to feed! This was my feeling about 2 months ago or so. Now? with a confluence of other events in my life, not only am I not eating meat or dairy, I have also taken up yoga and stopping my once daily 2 glasses of wine. And I have convinced many others to do the same. For me, it's about wellness and feeling great, but I also feel so much better about the animals that no longer need to suffer. I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and it changed me overnight. You mentioned the documentary that changed your life as well - which to be honest, I don't think I could even stomach watching as it would upset me too much. Anyway, I just want to say thank you for being a beacon in my life! My husband and kids are also totally on-board with our plant-strong diet and new way of living our lives.

  20. My hat's off to you, Janet, this is very inspirational.

  21. Janet--it's almost 2 years since we went vegan and I agree with you about being eager to honor the date of going vegan- I'm thrilled to celebrate that date--Dec 1st now instead of my birthday.

    Here is the Thanksgiving menu I am considering IF I have we host it this year at our house
    like we have the past 3 years. This year it will be totally vegan!

    Thanksgiving Day Dinner:

    Appetizers: crudites with roasted red pepper hummus

    Soup - carrot-ginger apple

    Holiday Stuffing (McDougall Newsletter)

    Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes (McDougall Newsletter)

    Garlic Mashed Potatoes (McDougall Newsletter)

    Golden Gravy (McDougall Newsletter)

    lentil-walnut loaf [ The Ultimate Vegan ]

    barley/quinoa/rice salad - with celery/tomatoes/onions/corn/green beans [ my recipe]

    Colorful Broccoli Salad (Dr. Esselstyn - Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease )

    Cranberry Sauce (Happy Herbivore or my own recipe )

    Cornbread pudding casserole (The Vegan Version wesite )

    Dessert: Crustless Pumpkin Pie (Happy Herbivore)

    this menu features:
    appetizer & soup
    nut loaf as main dish
    2 kinds of potatoes & stuffing
    2 salads -with veggies
    a gravy
    biscuits or bread [ not shown]
    and fat-free crustless vegan pumpkin pie for dessert

    1. dang shell! wait til you see what i'm making, lets just say you are putting me to shame!

    2. Oh Janet - you are funny--this is just a list for contemplation - I may not fix ALL of it. Those are the things under consideration. I may whittle it down a bit.
      What are you making? Do tell-!

  22. Janet, you are awesome. I am soooo excited about this series. Years ago, I didn't eat eggs, seafood or any type of meat but still ate cheese/yogurt (for protein). I had to stop when I developed a milk allergy and didn't know how to adapt. I can't wait to learn some simple meatless meals so that I can hopefully try again. Thanks so much!

    1. Checking in:
      The verdict: it was a hit! Hooray! My DD was so excited about the creamy sauce (hubby and I liked it too). Thanks again!

  23. Janet, in a very small way, your idea of cooking the broccoli in the water with the pasta is brilliant! One less pan to wash. I am delighted that you are posting your vegan meals as a source of ideas for us. I love to bake and it pains me to buy eggs for that. I think of the chickens in the film Earthlings that was so graphic regarding treatment of all animals. How do you and your readers we keep in the social loop of carnivore friends who love to have dinner parties? Is there a subtle way of avoiding the meat/fish/dairy without going into an explanation that makes the guests/hostess feel uncomfortable? Once the hostess knows, she may go into a tizzy about the menu for the next dinner party. I really want to know how other vegans handle this, socially.

    1. You can buy a flour product called "Egg replacer" at your health food store. What we did regarding the social aspects was always offer to bring something or 2 things to a dinner party. Also we always explained in advance to the hostess that we were not eating animal products any longer but did not want to bother the hosts in any way. We wanted to be honest and upfront but not come across as "superior". Everyone understood. We did not try to preach and for us it was health issues that led us to becoming vegans. I did not start out as an ethical vegan but I am one now.
      Everyone has the right to make their own choices, but I think if more people knew the truth about the animals, they would make the choice for moral veganism. There is no need to inflict cruelty on other living beings or take what does not belong to us, and now that I know the reality of the lives these animals live, I could never go down that path again.

    2. The Vegan Society has a Guide to Vegan Living

      Everything you need to know about vegan living – for new vegans, non-vegans and not-yet vegans!

      The Guide to Vegan Living aims to:

      explain and simplify the essentials of vegan living

      offer practical tips for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle

      provide strategies for overcoming any difficulties new or potential vegans may experience

      advise friends and family of vegans on how to feed them!

      As this guide is UK-based, please note that some of the information is country-specific to the UK.


      what is vegan living?
      food and cooking » »
      food shopping » »
      non-food items
      eating healthily » »
      eating out » »
      Dealing with Other People » »
      adopting a vegan lifestyle » »
      vegan social
      looking after vegan guests

      Have a go:

  24. Happy Vegan Month to you too. My husband and I became vegan/vegetarian just over a month ago. I was already doing vegetarian but was eating cheese and eggs. My husband had no interest in doing either until we watched "Forks Over Knives". At the end of that documentary all my husband said was "ok, i am convinced" and we both became vegans. We are doing it primarily for health reasons...but my heart is tied up in the way animals are treated too. We make the best choices we can when out to eat or at friends houses not wanting to make an issue when veggie items aren't available to our way of eating. And like you, I will not buy new leather products anymore. Thank goodness I love vintage! Looking forward to getting some new recipes from you this month!

  25. Congratulations on 5 years of being vegan. That is something to be proud of!
    xo, A

  26. Hello Janet

    Congratulations on Five Years. That is impressive.

    I just found your blog and immediately signed up to follow you. I look forward to know your blog and to your visits and comments


  27. Awesome. I get eggs from my neighbors and they're ethically-raised and full of nutrition. I won't give those up to call myself vegan. I applaud your activism in bringing awareness to the horrors of factory

    1. a half an egg a day or more increases your odds of many cancers...
      chicken and eggs are the top sources of arachidonic acid in the diet, an omega 6 fatty acid involved in our body’s inflammatory response.


      Eggs nearly as bad for your heart as cigarettes
      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08 ... 78400.html

  28. Looking forward to your month of meals. I am down to meat once a week - and enjoy almond milk these days. Obviously have a way to go; you are an inspiration.

  29. Dear Janet,
    I want to make this Alfredo sauce, I live in Italy and have no idea what Earth Balance is..how can I replace it? Our markets here and my fridge are full of Sicilian broccoli and I want to use them because after a month they will be no longer available....

    Funny that although "Fettuccine Alfredo" is a typical Italian dish in the USA here in Italy it is totally unknown...

    1. oh gosh! earthbalance is the brand name of a vegan butter substitute here in the states.
      by any chance can you get a hold of a margarine that contains no milk or whey?

    2. ....I'll use olive oil and soy milk to give it texture then...when don't have subsitutes for vegans here, we're ancient...btw reading your recipies I noticed you don't use much olive oil, is there a reason or it is just a case? The good thing here is that you can buy a liter of organic olive oil for just 6 euros and that's the only thing I use, thanks Janet!!!!

  30. I am on my way to becoming a vegan... I am a vegetarian for many years, and even before that only ate meat once or twice a month. I grew up this way, as my dad - strange for his generation - does not like meat so my mother rarely cooked it.

    For some months now, influenced by your blog and another great (German) blog, I am on my way to veganerism. I changed to soy yoghurt and love it. I don't do eggs any more. My big, big problem is cheese. I love cheese for scalloping and haven't found a good alternative yet. A problem is also eating out. In the big cities there are some vegan restaurants, but not in our small city. But well, I just challenge the chef to be creative :-)

    And I second lovesjetlag: I also have no idea what Earth Balance is and would love to make the sauce - sound so easy.

    Big, big applause to you for being vegan, kind and gentle to the world and animals!

    1. mila i just told lovesjetlag that earth balance is a vegan butter substitute. if you are here in the states it is sold through most health food stores, whole foods and trader joes. if you don't have access to any of them you can use smart balace *lite* margarine which is also vegan.

    2. Thanks, Janet. We do have soy margarine here, I just thought maybe the EarthBalance has a special taste or something. If it is just plain "butter" there is no problem to substitute it. I have a bio supermarket just around the corner.

  31. who knew there was a world vegan month. The dish looks delish and perhaps one day (with your inspiration and motivation) I can make the change. Although I would miss cheese so much!

  32. You think you will miss certain foods--like cheese--but your tastes will change. HOWEVER, your taste buds have to have time to adjust. They get "dialed back" if you stop stimulating them with fatty, oily, greasy salty things.


    cheese was the hardest for me to stop wanting to eat.

    I also was a potato chip and parmesan cheese addict! I thought i could never stop missing those but I have! they even smell bad to me now.
    i was at a music/wine/cheese gathering recently and the sight of the cheese platters almost tuned my stomach.
    the most important thing to remember is your tastes will change.
    I didn't believe that when I first started eating the no oil/vegan way. I had read all kinds of testimonials saying you'll notice in like 14 days your tastes will change.
    When that didn't happen for me, I was still determined to keep on and thought oh well, food just wouldn't equate to that much pleasure for me anymore. I was happy to discover that I was wrong. Although my tastes didn't change right away- it took me more like 2 months- they eventually have and I can enjoy "real" food now instead of processed, refined, sugary, oily and salt filled foods.

    Dr. Esselstyn says it takes 90 days to down-regulate the fat receptors in the brain--and that won't happen if you keep having "just a little bite" of cheese or whatever it is.
    You'll keep stimulating your brain's fat receptors to crave more fat. The hardest part of going vegan is over in 2 months time. Your body will thank you so will the animals and the planet.

    1. 14 weeks to break a habit if you are older , 3 weeks if you are young is what I have heard quoted a few times

    2. Always love to read your comments, Shell!!!!
      Love the recipes, Janet!! Excellent idea!!!
      -Suzanne in Illinois

  33. Hi Janet!

    you write "not really, it's probably going to be super boring but i think it's important to see that it isn't hard at all."
    I wish I'd live in the US because over here in Austria it IS hard. You have a huge range of subsitutes at hand, such as tofurkey turkey, daiya mozzarella cheese etc. Without substitutes it actually is quite hard to get the taste/texture.
    Egg-substitutes - the hardest thing for me, since I love to bake!!

  34. I noticed I stink less after a long day at work, now that I quit milk and cheese! hehe. :-)


kindness is never out of style.

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