Vegan Easter Candy

Real Parenting, Vegan Candy, Vegan Recipes


The Dilemma: Finding Vegan Easter Candy!

The winter of 2018 was brutal. Even though snow is still on the ground and I’m wearing a winter coat, it’s officially spring and time for Easter. My vegan daughter needs an Easter basket, so my search to find vegan Easter candy begins.

I googled Vegan Easter Candy and found a lot of very nice and expensive on-line stores where I could order candy. But I didn’t want to pay for last-minute shipping and the prices were so high I’d have to mortgage my house to buy enough candy to fill three baskets.

I decided to hop over to Walmart to see what was available. Surprisingly, I found quite a large selection but there were no vegan chocolate Easter candies and what’s Easter without a chocolate bunny?

cartI was pleased to find individually wrapped candies to put inside Easter eggs for the egg hunt.  Unfortunately the only chocolate candy I found was Junior Mints. Finally, I discovered a vegan bunny at Stop&Shop. Most stores have the milk chocolate bunnies but they aren’t vegan. The only vegan one I could find was the dark chocolate.

To make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of grocery store vegan candy for your vegan


Lindt Dark Chocolate Gold Bunny

Vegan Easter Candy

  1. Lindt Dark Chocolate Gold Bunny
  2. Jolly Rancher’s Original Flavor Jelly Beans
  3. Airheads’ Assorted Easter Mini Bars Candy
  4. Sour Patch Bunnies
  5. Swedish Fish Assorted Eggs (and Swedish Fish)
  6. Original Skittles
  7. Twizzlers
  8. Springtime Fun Dip (check other Fun Dip candies)
  9. King Pop
  10. Warheads’ Sour Jelly Beans
  11. Surf Sweets Sour Worms
  12. Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
  13. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  14. Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  15. Junior Mints
  16. Carousel Bubble Gum Eggs
  17. Brach’s Tiny Jelly Beans (make sure beeswax isn’t used)
  18. Goldbergs Peanut Chews
  19. Blow Pops
  20. Charms lollipops
  21. Dum-Dums
  22. Smarties
  23. Fireballs
  24. Jujyfruits
  25. Hot Tamales
  26. Fireballs
  27. Mary Janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)
  28. Smarties
  29. Ring Pop lollipops
  30. Toothbrush and paste (Just a suggestion)

Happy Hunting!



SkinnyVeganGirl Fried Rice

How To DIY, Real Parenting, SkinnyVeganGirl, Vegan Recipes



Right off the bat, I have a disclaimer: there’s no rice or frying in my SkinnyVeganGirl Fried Rice.  But then again there are about 50 calories per cup versus over 400 calories in traditional fried rice.  You’d have to eat over 8 bowls of this fried rice to equal the amount of calories in 1 bowl of Benihana Vegetable Fried Rice.  The recipe I’m sharing is flexible so long as you have riced cauliflower, a carrot, a stalk of celery, green onions, garlic and ginger.  You can kick it up a notch by adding several sliced mushrooms and a 1/4 cup of frozen green peas. The calorie count will still remain ridiculously low.



  • Frozen Riced Cauliflower, 12 OZ
  • 3 Tablespoons miso ginger broth or Veggie broth (1 tablespoon reserved.)
  • 1/4 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/4 cup sliced celery
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or siracha
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Makes 4 servings


  1. In a non-stick fry pan, combine 2 tablespoons broth with carrots, celery, ginger and garlic.
  2. Cook over medium high heat until all liquid is gone.
  3. Add frozen cauliflower and continue to saute until heated through and all water is absorbed, about 3 minutes.

    4. Add spinach and toss over low heat until it’s wilted.IMG_7908

    5. Toss remaining ingredients over mixture and serve with a drizzle of sesame oil.IMG_7910


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved.

It would have been our 21st Anniversary

Real Parenting


At the hospital the staff let me stay alone with my husband for 20 minutes after he passed.  I hadn’t left his side for more than two hours in the last three weeks.  A wonderful angle of a neighbor stepped in to help care for my kids: 11 and 14. Our minister was there and my father and family came two days before he died. But when I was alone with him after he passed I had no idea what I should do.  I took his wedding ring off his finger and took mine off and placed them both on a gold chain hanging around my neck. I then just collapsed onto his body and cried telling him how much I and his children loved him.

Three years later at what would have been our 21st wedding anniversary it’s still there our rings around my neck.  I know I should have moved on and taken off this pathetic plea for attention. Yet somehow the rings had become a token of comfort, something tangible that I can grasp at various points during the day when I wanted him at my side.

Our daughter and son brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and wrote a touching card in honor of the day.

My daughter told me she picked out each flower for the bouquet, certainly her perfectionist father would have done the same. They are so much alike.  The flowers are beautiful just like my children.

I remember two weeks after my husband died I went to a widowers grievance support group at Greenwich Hospital.  A  widow in his 70’s said the pain of his wife’s death  four years ago hadn’t eased. In fact, he wanted to join her.  I didn’t return to the support group.

I have my husband’s personality, charm, temper and eyes in both my children for which I am blessed.  Sometimes it’s hard to ‘get over’ and ‘move on’ after your soul mate dies. Those who seem to grieve long after the acceptable time are still in pain and may not want to ‘move on’. There is no acceptable time limit for sorrow.





Are You Cool?

Real Parenting

uncool3I was cool, but no longer. My kids say I’m ‘like uncool.’ In other words, my cool is their uncool. If you can agree with any of the following, you are no longer cool. You’re uncool. Welcome to the club!

  1. You type texts on your with your index finger?
  2. You leave 2 spaces between sentences.
  3. You get out of the car, take your phone and the GPS App starts giving you directions in the store.
  4. You have a home phone.
  5. The main use of your land line phone is to call your cell phone so you can find it.
  6. On Facebook you post an obituary and tag the deceased.
  7. You believe in the practicality of fanny packs.
  8. You still turn around when you back up in the car although you have a backup camera.
  9. You watch the network evening news.
  10. You watch it on a television.
  11. You pay bills via snail mail.
  12. You write in cursive.
  13. When you listen to music and hear a song you like, it’s a remake of a song originally sung by a group at least 20 years ago.
  14. You don’t recognize the names of the majority of current bands.
  15. You think your daughter’s dresses are shirts.
  16. You tuck your shirts in pants.
  17. You own a velour workout suit.
  18. You believe the word Brazilian should only be used in reference to a person, not a beauty procedure.
  19. You have email account with AOL.
  20. You wear clogs and you aren’t a a doctor, a nurse or cook.
  21. You think a hook-up is something on the back of your car.
  22. You wear sneakers in neon colors.
  23. You think tattoos are only appropriate for pirates.
  24. You wear a watch.
  25. You subscribe to a hard copy magazine or newspaper.
  26. You can’t turn on your home lights with your smart phone.
  27. You use a rolodex or date book.
  28. You require your son to take his hat off when he sits down at the table or in church.
  29. You pay by check or cash.
  30. You “drink” water as opposed to “hydrate.”
  31. You think it is rude for someone to look at her phone when she’s talking to you.
  32. You wear nylons.
  33. You feel bra straps should be covered by your top.
  34. You rent DVD’s.
  35. You want store receipts printed out, not just emailed to you.
  36. Black, grey or dark navy are the only clothing colors appropriate for funerals.
  37. You use a real clock for an alarm.
  38. You mail, via horse and buggy, invitations.
  39. You bank in a bank.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Sibling Rivalry: I Love You Both!

Real Parenting

I have a daughter and son, both teenagers and one child asks, whom do I love most. “Both,” never satisfies as an answer but it should. I promise my child its not a cop-out. It’s the truth. Granted, I may LIKE one child more at different times, but never does my love wane for either one.  My frustration fluctuates, but that’s not love.

After I had my first child I thought I could never have another baby, for my love of my daughter was so powerful and strong it could never be replicated. If I were to have another child, it would be impossible for me to love him equally. That child would end up as the forgotten bag of groceries left in the shopping cart.

I never wanted my daughter to be an only child. I had 3 siblings growing up and it was wonderful. But as my biological clock ticked louder, I knew if I really wanted another child I needed to conceive ASAP. Like many decisions I’ve made, I went for my gut feeling and did it.

There wasn’t any less love for my daughter when my son was born.  Somehow my heart grew bigger and my love for my daughter grew as my love for my son blossomed. The more love I had for my children and husband the more love I had to give. Love is not limited, it’s infinite.

Sometimes, one child needs may require more attention and monitoring than the other but that should never be confused with the strength of my love. I love them both to infinity and beyond. I hope they will feel my love and love each other…someday.both1

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.



Body Image and Males

Real Parenting

IMG_6486I have had many a discussion with female friends whom bemoan the fact that women and girls don’t have the same societal standards for body image that boys and men have regarding, clothes, skin care, hair, weight and cellulite. Unfortunately for our sons, I think they also have impossible standards subjected on them that can cause social anxiety, depression, eating disorders and inter with learning.

Let’s pick it apart starting with clothes. Teenage boys may not care about how dirty their clothes get at the end of the day, but they certainly want to wear the right brands and put on clean clothes in the morning. I’m raising both a daughter and son and can say they both are very choosy when it comes to color, style, fit, brand and latest trend. In fact, boys have this whole thing about athletic shoes that the girls don’t have such as finding the latest Micheal Jordan’s. My daughter certainly never cared about socks as much as my son and even though her designer jeans and Lululemon leggings cost more than his Vineyard Vines pants, national sports team logo wear or goofy lacrosse pants, the label was important and both wanted what they wanted.

Skin care is paramount to both genders. Nobody wants huge, swollen zits. And although, boys usually don’t wear make-up, in a way that’s too bad, since it’s a crutch not available to them to feel beautiful with just application of a few products.

When it comes to hair I think it might be harder for the boys. Most girls wear their hair long with subtle variations with length and bangs, but boys need a hair style and are concerned with the perfect hat if they don’t like their cut.

Then there’s body image, a particularly painful subject for me.  Frequently I hear men/boys don’t have to be concerned with their weight and they don’t struggle with dieting, unfortunately this isn’t true. Maybe boys suffer in silence, as do many girls, but they suffer at increasingly alarming rates and help may be more difficult to access.

Thanks to the pressure that always existed combined with social media postings, it’s no longer safe to think we can just assume indifference to our boys’ emotional state concerning appearance and weight. Women are gaining equal rights slowly in many fields but some of the cultural norms we hold are nothing I want to share with my son.  IMG_6488Body dysmorphia should be eliminated not granted equal rights. Neither my son nor my daughter need to be defined by his or her thigh gap.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.






Does Falling in love exist after 50?

Real Parenting

Widowed? Divorced? Never Married? Bad Marriage?

Maybe you haven’t been ‘in love’ since your first love.  Maybe you’ve fallen out of love. Maybe there’s no desire to have sex. Or maybe you’ve just given up.

Is it possible to fall in love with someone after a certain age? I’m not talking about falling in lust or falling in love with the idea of being cared.

Is it possible to sexually desire someone? To feel overjoyed at a phone call? To look forward to being with someone?  To feel an attraction so strong that you actually daydream about being with him or her and can’t stop thinking about him?  I’m talking about the whole deal: to want to be with someone because it feels so right and exciting at the same time.

And what about all the baggage we’ve accumulated over the years? Let’s face it none of us look like we were in our teens or even forties.  And even if you’ve had tons of plastic surgery, great dermatological procedures, daily workouts and diligent dieting, the experiences you’ve gone through, can’t be eliminated with a little Botox..

Can love exist for people who’ve gone through heartbreak and lost? Or is love only  reserved for the young, the beautiful, the affluent?

I have little tolerance for bullshit. I want to edit through an individual and get to his core. Maybe it’s because my biological clock is ticking, not for a baby but for the possibility of enjoying the next thirty plus years of my life (hopefully) in love.

Maybe the answer to true love is a website away or maybe it’s a pipe dream and loneliness is better since at least it’s real and not a delusion.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.





Little Kitchen in the ‘Burbs

Real Parenting


I’m a city girl at heart, loving the life of the doorman and handyman a buzzer away.  In the city there was no grass to mow. No trash cans to pull down to the end of the driveway. Gardening was done in containers on the deck with the dirt and plants delivered by kind deliverymen who were even kinder with a large tip. And when it was too cold to garden, we didn’t have to worry about shoveling snow or warming up the car. Our chariots were stored in the condominium garage and appeared when summoned with the heater blasting and door open waiting our arrival.

One of the most difficult transitions into suburban living was limited food delivery to our remote abode. Unfortunately for everyone involved, I needed to expand my culinary talents beyond the preparation of Kraft Mac & Cheese dinner and Pop-tarts.

My husband decided he’d be at my side, assisting me in this cooking journey and presented me with the “White House Cook Book.” I guess if Jackie O ate dinners made from recipes in this book, it must be good, but wasn’t she smoking like a chimney and drinking gin and tonics for cocktail hour(S) every night before the meals were presented to her? Ode to Camelot. Chef Verdon didn’t include this tidbit in his recipes.IMG_6304 The only recipe I mastered in the book after several months of trial and error was, “Poularde Francillon,” which my six and three-year old soon referred to as “White House Chicken,” as in “Do we have to have White House Chicken again? I’m soooo sick of it!”  Yet I never grew tired of the cuisine, mainly because it called for a pint of champagne which left half bottle for me to enjoy as I prepared la cuisine. I also applauded the rich flavor from the 3 cups of heavy cream and 1/2 cup melted butter since Atkins was the diet du jour for me back then.

My supportive husband decided I might need more help in the kitchen, so he presented me with “Le Cordon Bleu At Home.” NowIMG_6309 I could learn classic French Cuisine from the masters. All I had to do was complete the course by learning over 70 “simple techniques.” I mastered scrambled eggs but after many meals of “oeufs brouilles,” we soon couldn’t stand the sight of eggs, I particularly disliked the ouefs since they didn’t call for any ingredients from the Champagne region.

Submitting to the young uns’ demands, my husband ordered food from the local Chinese take out. I’m not sure why it was called Chinese but after one bite knew why it was called take out since it was so vile we had to immediately “take out” the food to the trash!

Not one to deny our children good food, my husband’s solution was delivered to me by Amazon several days later. IMG_6445 (1)

However, many of the recipes were impossible to replicate since I couldn’t find ingredients like hairy melon, bird’s nests and shark’s fins at Stop & Shop.

Due to the dearth of ingredients, my husband quickly changed gear and decided to trade in the wok for a pasta rolling machine. This time Gourmet Magazine’s Ruth Reichl joined me in the kitchen.IMG_6452

Her stay was short-lived when my husband discovered her recipe for stuffed breast of veal called for matzoh instead of the traditional Italian stale bread. Obviously her food was ridiculous! I personally grieved Ruth’s departure since many of her recipes called for vino.

Not to fret, Little Italy was soon replicated in my 80’s style mustard yellow kitchen, (upgrading the kitchen was on our to-do list) when the “Bible of authentic Italian cooking” was delivered.  Soon, I discovered why it was called the “Bible.”IMG_6442 (1)

I needed God to intervene when it came to Rotlolo di Pasta, which is hand rolled pasta rolled around stuffing,  then wrapped in a clothe, secured by a string and poached. Only deep prayer and the intervention of God was the way I was going to successfully cook anything from this book.

The culinary world is always evolving and we soon forget the Bible. My husband decided I needed to modernize my entrees . Thanks to another Amazon ‘gift,’ I was to become the guru of wheat juice which incidentally has more carbohydrates than Chef Verdon’s White House recipes full butter and cream and sadly none of the wine.IMG_6448 (1)

Although the vegan period was short-lived, it served a purpose when I served fresh beet and garlic juice. Although no one could drink it, the juice reminded my husband of a time not so long ago when he enjoyed borscht in New York City. Honestly, I hate beets. They have always triggered my gag reflex. So I wasn’t too keen on developing a palatable borscht.  Yet once again my knight in shining armor came to the rescue with yet another gift. We no longer would miss the Russian Tea Room, thanks, honey. IMG_6446 (1)I guess the Russian cuisine ran it’s course after my husband grew tired of listening to my gagging at the dinner table.

By this point my significant other discovered the Food Network and decided I needed to kick it up a notch. Bam!  Just like that the UPS man delivered a cooking book by the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis. My husband suddenly developed an insatiable appetite for her style of Italian cuisine. He generously invited me to watch an episode with him so I could emulate her skills.  Boy she had no use for the cleaver with all the cleavage she exposed. Giada was meat eater. Maybe that’s what turned me vegan. The book was returned.

Related image

Some say,  “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”I guess this explains why I’m a widow.





Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.




Ode to Lacrosse Moms

Real Parenting

laxmomSo I’m packing for a weekend of watching lacrosse for my teenage son and find myself challenged to find, slimming, age appropriate fashionable, decade current  (ie not short, shorts from the eighties, “If you dare wear short, shorts Nair for short, shorts…”) clothing that might fit the bill. In addition to this treacherous challenge, I have to get the drinks, snacks, cooler and directions ready.  Fortunately, my son packs for himself.  Hint: if you want your children to learn to pack on their on pack old super hero t-shirts and too small underwear with cute puppies on them.  I guarantee, they’ll never let you pack for them again.

Back to me,  should I pack a pair of leopard print shorts from J. Crew that I bought on sale, end of season, at least seven years ago when I had a perky derriere, but now they just slide down my hips and show my crepy legs…not! There is a pair of turquoise shorts with red embroidered tulips from Talbots but I’m not sure.  The other day I was wearing them to Stop & Shop and an elderly man collecting donations for the needy told me he’d wear them to play golf.  UGH! Not the image I’m going for. Challenging!

And  this is even before I decide on a swim suit. Ok, all my Speedo suits from back in the day when I was a swimmer have zero support, forget about it! Bikinis? That ship left the port a long time ago. This leaves the safety suit for all us middle-aged women: a tankini with a  little skirt type bottom.  Look out son, Mom’s about to rule the hotel pool!

Now for what my daughter thinks is the watershed moment: the fanny pack. To pack or not to pack, that is the question.  Let’s be real. I’ll be on hot fields for six hours at a shot. I’ll need my iPhone, headphones, tournament field map, instructions,  money (for purchasing countless mini lacrosse sticks and over priced t-shirts) and of course the car keys. There’s no way I’m going to carry a handbag but all the items I need don’t fit into my short pockets; in fact, I’m lucky if a can tuck a slim bill in them much less keys.  The fanny pack is a must, along with a box of wine for back at the hotel. Forget “God Save the Queen.” It should be ‘God Save the Lacrosse Mom.”




Peonies and Love

Real Parenting, Uncategorized

I’m not sure why peonies are my favorite flower. Maybe it’s that I grew up with floral arrangements of roses, carnations and baby’s breath so when I first saw what I thought were roses on steroids, I was astonished. But more likely it’s because l knew my Chinese mother-in-law loved them.

I brought a bouquet of white lilies to my first mother’s day as a newly married daughter-in-law. She didn’t seem pleased when I gave them to her, yet she was still gracious. I don’t think the arrangement ever made it to a vase. Later that evening, my husband told me white lilies in the Chinese tradition were considered funeral flowers to be displayed by a casket. My husband gently suggested we bring peonies next time. He said they were her favorite flower.IMG_5913

Eighteen years later my husband died in the winter.   I wanted to bring them to his memorial service but it was February and I couldn’t find a florist that had them. That spring, I planted peonies throughout my yard. They only bloom for a short period of time. They are perhaps the most ephemeral flowers I know, but I  remember my mother-in-law saying that she looked forward to them blooming in her family’s courtyard in Shanghai every spring. And I remember my husband bringing them home every June and handing them to me with a huge smile on his face.

Maybe it’s ironic or just coincidental but my daughter’s favorite flowers are peonies. The other day she walked through the door with a beautiful smile carrying two huge bouquets of peonies. Today our house is full of peonies and the sweet remembrance of my mother-in-law and my husband and the ever-present love of my beautiful daughter in whom I see traces of my husband and her grandmother everyday. Yes, life and love are short and ephemeral like peonies, so when in bloom appreciate.IMG_5917

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.