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Eating Vegan at Cookouts

It's that time of year again! Fourth of July officially kicks off the season of sticky weather, beaches, coolers and firing up the grill.  I don't know about other vegans, but after 3 years, I still feel awkward at cookouts. I've accepted that I will probably never be 100% comfortable being vegan in social settings.

Picture from non-vegan cookout I went to last year

Picture from non-vegan cookout I went to last year

With that said, it does get a little easier to navigate. Here are a few tips to help you at the next cookout... 

*Eat before you go-This is a must if you're just starting out in a vegan lifestyle.  Your aunt's macaroni and cheese & grandmother's potato salad will be too tempting on an empty stomach.

*Eat after you leave-I'm the queen of hitting up Chipotle on the way home from any social event. You can also stash nuts, fruit, and seeds in your car to hold you over until you get home.

*Attack the fruit & vegetable tray-The potato salad, collard greens, pasta salad (usually has meat & cheese) and all the desserts at the cookout are likely not vegan. Fortunately, every cookout I've ever been to has a fruit and/or vegetable tray. I don't consider this a meal but it will likely hold you over until you leave...especially if you ate before getting there. Also, snacking on fruit and vegetables helps with the uncomfortable feeling of not eating while everyone is.

*Bring a side dish or two -I've done this a few times and it usually goes pretty well. It's also a great conversation starter.  Bring a vegetable dish or make a fruit platter. You can also bring vegan hotdogs or hamburgers and ask the host to toss them on the grill for you. Don't forget to bring a few to share because some may be curious about how they taste.  Check back in tomorrow for a post with some summer vegan side dish ideas.

*Don't be shy-If you bring a dish, use this as an opportunity to educate your family on why you made the shift to a vegan diet.  Don't preach! Just chat with those who want to know more (and people will) in the most loving way possible. Try not to get defensive when someone has a sly comment. It happens! *Sigh* Smile and enjoy your day.

*Try to see social events as an opportunity to connect...NOT eat-This is one that I'm working on right now.  For most of us, cookouts are just as much about the food than spending time with family and friends.  Try to see these occasions as being more about connecting with family and friends and less about the food.  I know this is easier said than done but with practice is should become a little better.

I had a vegan cookout with one of my friends last year. Check out the post and video here.

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Other Brown Vegan: Lisa Bonet


*Actress *Zoe's mama


Pic Source

In 2010, Bonet carried a tote calling herself an erewhonian.

An erewhonian is a person who is into organic, kosher, macrobiotic, raw foods, gluten free, vegan, dairy-free, low carbohydrate, chemical and pesticide-free products and is responsible for one’s own health. Source

Check out her scorpion pose-Damn!


One of my favorite scenes from the Cosby Show...

 Denise's Gordon Gartrell shirt. lol

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Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberries


I remember the first time I had cheesecake. I was about 9 years old and my dad picked one up from the bakery.

I took my first bite and said, "I don't get what's so good about this?"

He sighed, said I was too young to appreciate it, and didn't offer me another slice until I was a teenager. lol

My kids have a different view on cheesecake. They happily ate every cake I worked on for the last two weeks to get this recipe right. It's great to have little helpers who will give their honest opinion about the food when I play in the kitchen.

This cheesecake is creamy, simple, and delicious. It doesn't taste exactly like traditional cheesecake but it's pretty close. I love my cheesecake with fresh fruit...especially blueberries.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think.

What's your favorite cheesecake topping?

Vegan Cheesecake

by Brown Vegan

Prep Time: 10

Cook Time: 45

Ingredients (serves 5)

  • 2 tubs of vegan cream cheese (16 oz)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 9-inch pre-made graham cracker pie crust


Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Pour into pie crust and bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool on the counter for a few minutes. Place cake in the refrigerator for 2 hrs to firm or in the freezer for about 1 hour.

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Song playing while I baked....

Heavy D and the Boyz-Now That We Found Love

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Dinner in 15 Minutes? Yes! Fried Rice


A few months ago I came up with this familiar recipe (AKA Chinese fried rice) while trying to figure out what to do with the leftover rice in our refrigerator. 

I always use my rice cooker and jasmine rice to make this recipe.  I don't think the type of rice you use matters as much as making sure that you use cold rice.  I tried it once with warm rice and it came out very mushy.

This meal is perfect for a quick weekday dinner.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

Fried Rice

by Brown Vegan

Prep Time: 4

Cook Time: 8

Keywords: fry entree vegan

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 cups of cold rice
  • ½ cup peas (best if thawed)
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped (best if thawed)
  • 1/3 cup red or white onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce


Put vegetable oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Break up rice with your hands or fork and add to pan. Increase your heat to medium-high and cook for 4 minutes. Next, add in the peas and carrots. Continue cooking for 2 additional minutes and add soy sauce.

Serves 4


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What's your favorite 15 minutes of less meal? Let me know in the comments below.

Song playing while cooking....

Teena Marie-Out On A Limb

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