Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Vegan Eggstravaganza

Some of you have already been discussing this below, but I wanted to create a special post to talk about vegan Easter egg ideas.

Instead of real eggs we usually use plastic eggs filled with little candies, confetti, stickers, or dry cereal (kids can break their eggs into a bowl and eat the cereal for breakfast).

In the comments below Veganmum shared this great idea: "make little 'nests' by mixing melted chocolate with shredded wheat or shredded coconut (or both), and use the mixture to line paper muffin cups. Chill until set. Fill the 'nests' with a few vegan eggs or jelly beans, and hide these or just put them in your child's Easter basket." Thanks, Veganmum!

One year we made no-bake clay eggs using instructions from PeTA's Cruelty-Free Easter page, which also includes instructions for papier-mâché and chocolate eggs. The clay was easy to make and fun to paint. Because they never go bad like regular eggs, we spent the next couple weeks hiding them over and over again.

I also stumbled across directions for making these gorgeous Millefiori Eggs (pictured above) using wooden eggs and polymer clay (follow the link and scroll down for instructions).

Of course, you can also bake and decorate egg-shaped cookies, or paint paper or wooden eggs from a craft store. In another comment below Beth suggested finding pretty egg-shaped beach rocks for painting.

Eggs are universally used at Eastertime as a symbol of rebirth and springtime, but you could always get away from the whole egg-thing altogether and hide little toys around the house instead. This year we'll be hiding little sets of Pokemon cards tied with pastel ribbons (don't tell shmoo!).


Eat Peace Please said...

You are such a fun Mother!!! I love how you still hide stuff around the house weeks later, so much better than one day.

Anonymous said...

Thanx for all the great ideas!! Last year we made and decorated egg shaped cookies, but the picture of those beautiful eggs you made have inspired me!!! Thanks again for always having a great idea that makes the vegan life a little bit easier! You are an inspiration Jennifer!! =)

Anonymous said...

I would add Jelly Bellies to that candies list. They're delicious and gelatin free.

Jennifershmoo said...

It is great news that Jelly Bellies don't use gelatin. They do (along with most other jelly beans) contain beeswax, so they're not vegan.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the ideas! I was going to do the treat-filled plastic eggs this year, but now I have some great ideas for next year. (My little guy is only 2 1/2 years old, so eggs will be plenty for him.) I like the cereal idea--my guy loves Peanut Butter Panda Puffs--and I was going to make some vegan treats: coconut-filled and peanut butter-filled truffles.

As always... love reading your blog!

Asia said...

Don't celebrate easter personally though love the art of 'easter' eggs, make some for beltaine, so these vegan versions of all this are fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know anything about the sources of the flavors for Jelly Bellies?

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

I love your Vegan Easter ideas! Kids will be standing in line & taking a ticket to become Vegan with craft/snack ideas like these. Here's 1 more, make "Washi Eggs" - you get to decorate 2 wooden eggs with traditional Japanese patterned paper.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the flavors but I am pretty sure Jelly Bellies contain Beeswax.

Anonymous said...

I know the cappuccino beans have real coffee in them. I don't know about the others.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't have anything specific to do with veganism, but one of my favorite Easters was one year when my mom made a scavenger hunt throughout the house. When I woke up I found an empty easter basket with a little poem in it leading to where the first gift/candy/etc. was. There we found another poem...and basically spent the morning on it.

All those ideas are so great! One of the few things I've failed at veganizing is pound cake, so my attempts to make a vegan lamb cake (shaped like, not made of, for those of you unfamiliar with them! :) ) is always a comical disaster. Of course, most pre-vegan years we put the pans wrong side up and get a leaky mess, or store the finished, frosted cake in the oven (because it doesn't fit under a cake dome) and accidentally heat up the oven.. So it's sort of a tradition to wreck the lamb cake every year. ;)

This year I have a couple new recipes for poundcake in "Sinfully Vegan," so maybe I will find some new way to ruin it this year.

High Power Rocketry said...

Haha I love putting the cereal in there! :) That is just very cute.


Anonymous said...

This year I am going to make vegan "Cadbury" creme eggs! The recipe is on this page, along with other recipes for vegan Easter stuff:

Anonymous said...

Last year I took some turnips and dyed them with natural food dye (like turmeric, red cabbage, beets, etc.), scattered them throughout the yard and had my then-2-year-old find them and put them in a basket. After he'd found them all (with the exception of the turnip the dog decided to eat), we had a vegan chocolate bunny. Though it was fun, it was really messy and time-consuming. I think we're going to go with those beautiful Millefiori Eggs this year. Thanks for the idea!


Anonymous said...

i must say, while i do appreciate it when someone lets people know that a certain product isn't animal-free, i do find it kind of irritating when people say things like "oh, that's not vegan because the one little cherry on it is made with dye that has animal products in it." (see previous set of comments). first of all, you don't know what type of cherry is being used, so you really have no way of knowing what it was made with. second of all, maybe a better way of getting your point across without seeming holier-than-thou would be to say "make sure to use an ingredient that doesn't contain (x)".

i mean, it seems like jennifer goes to a lot of trouble to introduce creative vegan ideas, and by saying "that's not vegan" when you don't know for sure, it just seems like you're shooting her down.

not trying to be rude here, but vegan nazis really rub me the wrong way. just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

here here! I think we're all smart enough to "realize" on our own about these things. Of course, when you go to make the bunny you just leave off the offending we really need constant reminders? It kind of takes the joy out of it...

Flo @ Yielded Heart said...

Wow, I love this post! We won't be making any bunny, but this gave me an idea for a resurrection/easter project.

Flo @ Yielded Heart said...

I meant to leave this on your Mr. Fruit Bunny post! Sorry:(

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of giving Egglings—they are a great symbol of spring and rebirth, and the little ones get to learn about seedlings and growing plants. Vegan and educational (not to mention cute)!

Anonymous said...

For some reason I can't see the original post about the maraschino cherries not being vegan, but I for one disagree completely with the posters about not telling people what's not vegan.

I very much appreciate the information. It's not about being "smart" enough - there's an incredible amount of information it takes to avoid animal products, and I never knew the dye had animal products in it. And as far as I know, there are only about 2 brands of maraschino cherries in the world, so very likely the original poster is right.

It doesn't take the joy out of it at all to have these things pointed out, because we ARE all "smart" enough to make a substitution.

Since I can't see the original post I don't know the tone, but calling someone a vegan nazi is certainly not the most productive way to talk.

Anonymous said...

Jill, It was a comment to the Mr. Fruit Bunny post.

I think the problem was that the original poster made it seem that the entire idea was done for by using a maraschino cherry w/ animal products, when obviously as other posters pointed out, that other options were available.

Anonymous said...

Such wonderful ideas! Thanks Jennifersmhoo and everyone else!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the PETA Easter info. I checked out the candy link and was relieved that Mike & Ikes are O.K. That made my day!

By the way, I got my Laptop Lunchbox a couple of days ago and LOVE it. I was sure to tell them that I got the idea from you. :)

Molly said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey, it would be kind of cool to do a Passover-themed lunchbox, just for something different. Matzoh bread, grape juice, celery, or apples with cinnamon and agave nectar are all traditional, vegan Passover foods. Plus, you never know what you'll find in the kosher section of the grocery store. (I live in an area with a large Jewish population, so there is an entire kosher aisle!) Gelatin-free candies, for one.

Anonymous said...

So I bought some nutritional yeast today at my locally-owned grocery store because they have it in their bulk section and I remember it being mentioned in some of the food Jennifer makes. Can anybody recommend some ways to use it? Also, what exactly is it good for?

LadyRachelLynn said...

ooo I like the idea of a passover lunch!

Beautiful eggs. I wonder what other animals you could make Mr. Fruit Bunny into.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I just though of this though: Isn't Easter NEXT week?

Yes, it's next Sunday. I posted this info about Easter in advance so people could perhaps use it in planning their own Easter celebrations.

jo(e) said...

Another idea: You can buy navel oranges and decorate them quite nicely with magic markers. They are big enough so that kids can write their names on them. And you can hide them around the house, just like you would Easter Eggs.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I was wondering if I might post a totally un-Easter egg-related question on this blog. I would email it to you but I'd like to see if any of your intelligent, resourceful commenters might have a suggestion for me as well. I'll go ahead and post it, and if it's way too irrelevant and in an appropriate location, just ignore little old me. :)

So, I really want to cook dinner for my husband's parents since we just got married and they have yet to visit our home. However, they're extremely meat-and-potatoes. They will not eat anything that could even vaguely be considered "weird" or healthy and their diet typically consists of generic soul food and Hamburger Helper. They wouldn't even come to our rehearsal dinner because it was at an Indian restaurant.

I'm a vegetarian and a very health conscious one. Do you have any suggestions for a meal I could cook for them that they wouldn't spit into their napkins, but that I would also feel comfortable serving knowing that I wasn't directly contributing to someone's potential heart disease?

Anonymous said...

*In my first paragraph, I meant to say "if it's in an INappropriate location", not an appropriate one.

Anonymous said...

Macaroni and cheese or baked ziti is standard
fare that both vegetarians (not vegans, I know)and omnis can eat. The newest info is showing that high quality meat/cheese doesn't contribute to heart disease but the macaroni/ziti might. I know whole wheat pasta might be one of those things that makes them refuse to eat it, but sometimes the half whole wheat/ half white pastas can fool people. Don't suppose they would like eggplant parmagiana?

Ivy said...

Another vegan easter suggestion--I work at a craft store and I saw the other day they were stocking cake pans with Easter shapes. So you could make egg cupcakes to decorate with frosting to eat. :) Mmmm, yummy--much better than eating real easter eggs! :)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe they didn't come to your rehearsal dinner.

How about tofuturkey and not telling them. Tell them it's meatloaf or something.

I would also not worry about health in one meal. As someone else pointed out there is a lot of non-meat stuff out there. Plus since you're vegetarian and not vegan, you can go the milk, cheese, egges route.

Anonymous said...

I was just leafing through this month's Martha Stewart Living (I know, I know, but sometimes it has cute ideas). The cover features these cardboard eggs. She painted them light blue and they look beautiful (and fillable and reusable)! It might be a neat tradition to make one of these every year and keep them all in a centerpiece basket.

Re Passover recipes: you might check out Vegan with a Vengeance, which has several, or PETA's website. I too would love to see a Passover lunch here (even though I'm not Jewish and I'm pretty sure Shmoo isn't either!)

Re carnivore parents who stood up rehearsal dinner at Indian restaurant: they sound just precious. I have to say, although I'm vegan if someone close to me were to have something like a rehearsal dinner at a steakhouse, it really doesn't matter to me; even if I couldn't eat anything, I'd go. Maybe I'd decline food, but sometimes being there for someone is more important than eating! I don't mean to jump to conclusions about your in-laws, but they sound a little controlling. There are people in this world whose company is best enjoyed in small, infrequent doses!

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard of any research saying that "high quality" meat/cheese doesn't contribute to heart disease! cholesterol is cholesterol, so even if they may not have the same degree of negative affect, they definitely are still detrimental.

Anywho, for Eli -- I am so sorry! I had a special-ordered mostly vegan rehearsal dinner (it was a gift from a very good friend) and all of the omnis there raved about it. I think Indian food for a rehearsal dinner sounds AMAZING and I'm sorry for your in-laws that they missed out!!

As for what to feed them. . . . I would try a pasta dish with a marinara sauce and maybe homemade rolls with olive oil and garlic and a salad? I don't know if it would be too "healthy", but the blackeye pea and quinoa croquettes with mushroom sauce from Vegan w/ a Vengeance fooled two meat-eaters who told me they hate blackeye peas. Definitely stick to something where "questionable" ingredients are unrecognizable (like puree veggies into the marinara sauce, etc.) and they won't know what they're not eating.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes. =)

primaryconsumer said...

If anyone is looking for Passover recipes, they should check out The Cat Tea Corner recipe page. I think I've seen some recipes for Passover there. Hope this helps!

Molly said...

I think that Nate's Meatless Meatballs would also be a great omni-pleaser!

Anonymous said...

Hot Cross Buns & Meat-Eating In-Laws:

1) The inlaws... What about lasagna? I make a great vegan lasagna that is loved by all, but even a veggie lasagna with cheese would probably be satisfying. With some salad and garlic bread. Very few people seem to object to Italian food. Also, lasagna is nice, because you can do a lot of prep beforehand - pop it in the oven - and have time for visiting before dinner. (although it sounds like you might be happy to be "stuck" in the kitchen!). good luck to you.

2)Hot Cross Buns
Here is a recipe I veganized off the internet a while back, which I use every year and it's great:
3 c flour
1 t salt
1/2 t each: allspice, nutmeg, cinn.
1/4 c sugar
1 stick (equivalent)Earth Balance
1 "egg" (i've used flax seed "eggs" and Ener-G)
3/4 c currants or raisins
(golden raisins are my fave)
1/3 c candied citron fruit

yeast mixture:
1 T dry yeast
1 T sugar
2/3 c warm soy milk (not hot)
1/2 c. warm water
1 c flour

standard frosting:
(i never use measurments for this)
powdered sugar, soymilk, earth balance mixed together

Start by making the yeast mixture; mix all the ingredients and set it aside to proof (become foamy).

In another bowl, sift the flour, salt, spices, and sugar. Add raisins and citron fruit and mix well. Combine butter and "eggs" and add it to the yeast mix. Then combine the liquid and dry ingredients. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Add more flour to keep from sticking (if needed).

Divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into round buns. Place them far apart on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise at room temp for 45 min. Use a sharp knife to make an "X"-shaped cut on the top of each bun.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 min, until golden. Cool on a rack.

Mix up your frosting and make an "x" in the indentations on the buns.

Hope this works for you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you so much for the tips everyone! I had a big laugh at "they sound just precious". Haha. Yeah, it made us sad that they missed the rehearsal dinner, but what's done is done and it was their loss anyway. We had a great time without them and everyone loved the food. They are not easy to deal with but they are his parents, and besides, I love a challenge!

Italian and Mexican are great ideas. We had a Mexican buffet at the wedding and I don't think anyone even noticed it was vegetarian. I think if I got some extremely lean, free range ground beef maybe I wouldn't feel too bad about it. We could have another taco bar, or a choose-your-own-sauce paste buffet. I will look for some half white/half whole wheat pasta.

Amey, could you tell me your recipe for vegan lasagna? That sounds like a dream come true.

Emily, great idea about pureeing vegetables. People don't usually argue with a sauce.

Everyone, what do you think about trying to pass off a mockmeat as a meat with them? I'm tempted to do it. I've eaten some stuff before that was so realistic it scared me, but I can imagine how a more experienced meat eater could quickly tell the difference. Plus, what if one of them were allergic to soy or something and didn't know it? Is it really a good idea or should I just suck it up and sacrifice health for one night?

Anonymous said...

i'm guessing little shmoo goes back to school tomorrow. sorry little buddy! but we look forward to seeing your lunches again. i hope you guys had a fun break!! (the weekend before my spring break, i wrecked a road bike and tore my knee and hands up, so mine wasn't so great!)

look forward to seeing tomorrow's lunch!


Shannon. said...

Eli; sounds like Italian is just the dinner you need! on the subject of passing off fake meat...a wee bit of veggie ground round (made by Yves) in the lasagna would probably be much appreciated. Much as I love Tofurky and the other mock meats, they might not be quite as pleasing to the discerning omni. Some garlic bread would be great though, don't you think? It's about as "soul food" as you can get.

Anonymous said...

Re: cholesterol I'm not sure what the original poster meant, but there really is no credible evidence that eating cholesterol increases heart disease etc. There were doctors who objected when the whole "fat kills" hypothesis came out but they were ignored. It's now starting to reverse.You'll see more and more reaearch published showing how low fat is not the way to go.
What does do harm are trans fats, many vegetable oils, refined flour etc. This isn't too much of an issue for many vegetarians/vegans because we usually are particularly health conscious and eat plenty of natural, unprocessed foods. We do have to remember to get our essential fatty acids. The ones who should worry are the often young vegetarians/vegans I know who live on white bread, cookies, vegan cookies, etc.--often low fat, but filled with sugar and white flour. And the fats they used are often the worst kinds.
With little or no evidence that saturated fats would harm us the medical community pushed until trans fats were replacing saturated--now we're realizing the saturated fats were actually necessary and the trans fats were dangerous. Of course moderation in all things, but don't be afraid of a little saturated fat.

Anonymous said...

Hi Eli!
Yeah! I'm too lazy to re-type my lasagna recipe, so I scanned it in and put a link to it on my website:

Then you can print it out.

The recipe is from my annual Christmas Cookbook... where I compile 10-12 of my favorite new recipes from the year, put in goofy cartoons, and then give it to all my friends/family/ and yoga students. :)

Anonymous said...

Wailingblend, I think I might try some of that "whitewheat" bread that is whole grain but looks and tastes like white bread. I don't know how that's supposed to work, but if it's good, I'll use it to make some oily, buttery, soulful garlic bread. :)

Amey, thank you so much!!

Jennifer, you should look into starting a forum. ;)

Anonymous said...

Eli, I'd definitely go Mexican for the dinner. Enchiladas would be my suggestion ~ my husband's favorites include variations on the 4bean Enchiladas and the Potato Enchiladas from McDougall's. We've added cheese to both of them (sometimes regular, sometimes non-fat) and they were delicious. You can use whole wheat OR regular flour tortillas. For the potato enchiladas, we used mashed potatoes (Earth Balance, Silk soy) with corn and chopped green onions inside. Smother them with lots of enchilada sauce, and serve with beans (pinto, black, refried pinto OR refried black) and rice. You can make "mexican rice" like Jennifer has described before, with veggies and a tomato-based drink, or just go with brown (or white if they are likely to turn their nose up at the brown). With some fresh homemade salsa, and garnished with sprigs of cilantro, I think it would make a very pleasing plate.

Anonymous said...

about the fruit bunny:

i think that the majority of people would assume that a bunny made of fruit would be vegan. for someone to say "just in case any of you thought this was vegan, it's not" seems like a pretty condescending way to put it.

i would much rather see all these obese people nowadays eating a fruit bunny that might have a tiny smidgen of animal-derived ingredients in it, instead of a fat, sugar and cholesterol-laden cake.

that's where the "nazi" comment came from. i was referring more to the way some vegans come of as controlling and unwilling to compromise. and i know for a fact that it is an attitude which turns off many omnis or vegetarians who are looking to go vegan, but instead come away feeling like they can't "measure up" to the standards of certain other vegans.

there are varying levels of vegan. i just think it's a little critical to say that something made of fruit isn't vegan, when many probably would consider it, on the whole, vegan.

Molly said...
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Anonymous said...

i'm sorry if i offended anybody.

i guess i forgot how some people on here feel the need to take every thing so seriously.

and that's all i have to say on the matter, because i don't really care to split hairs of the context and usage of one single, typed word.

Molly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

do you see me swearing or calling anybody a word that would be bleeped out anywhere? no.

should i ask for a list of each and every word that you find offensive so that i can check my posts to make i've avoided all of them?

seriously, if you're that sensitive, you might want to turn off your tv and radio, and get rid of your internet connection.

oh, and just as an extra measure of prevention, you might not want to leave your house either. people can be scary in the real world, too.

have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, thank you for taking the extra effort to post during Schmoo's break. We appreciate it!

Molly said...
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Anonymous said...

Vegan vulcan--not much of an apology if you follow it with blaming her for being defensive, hostile, negative etc. A simple "I'm sorry" is more...well, simple and kind. And anonymous--you did the same thing!
It made me laugh because I get this from my husband--"I'm sorry you're so sensitive that what I said bothered you." He's a great guy, so I'll assume you're both kind people too!

Anonymous said...

The custom in my country involves only chocolate eggs (not real ones), all decorated with more chocolate, sugar or marzipan. They allways have some candies and toys inside.

Molly said...
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Anonymous said...

Would you nasty guys shut up and go elsewhere so we can get back to shmoo's and jennifer's blog. Yes, this means you, vegan and otherwise.

Molly said...

I've taken down my comments, because this blog is no place for nastiness! I'm sorry to have caused any strife or unpleasantness. Let's all get back to what we should be doing: admiring Jennifer's amazing food!

red said...

thank you

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