Who am I?
Well, that's the million-dollar question, isn't it?
I'm so many things bundled into one woman.
Most importantly, I'm a mother. I have two boys and a daughter that keep me very busy.
However, obviously not busy enough since I'm also a financial planner. I'm very passionate about helping individuals and families find success in their financial lives. As a vegan, I know how important it can be to put your values front and center when making investment choices and planning your future. Interested in having a conversation? Feel free to reach out to me at VanCroFinancial.com
As if all of that wasn't enough, I'm the creator of Vegan Family Recipes. Which in October 2023 will have been around for 10 years! I've had lots of ups and downs with this website. First and foremost, I love creating recipes and food photographer. Cooking and photography are my best forms of stress relief.
Now what I'm not so great about, is social media. I will very honestly admit that I'm awful at keeping up with social media. It really just annoys me so I will go through phases where I ignore it to prevent myself from going insane. I've had numerous people tell me they can relate that social media is not healthy for them. So I won't apologize for not being consistent. :)
On top of all of that, I'm also an author! I have plans in the future to come out with another book but time will have to permit for that first. To find out more about my cookbook, check it out here!
How did I become Vegan?
My husband, Max, actually inspired my journey to becoming vegan. I was vegetarian from the time I was 15 and never considered being vegan. I always imagined it to be very difficult and limiting.
After my Husband read Thrive, he was convinced that being vegan would be life-changing. Knowing my husband, who let's put this nicely, isn't a great cook, I knew I was going to have to support this journey.
We decided that we would do a trial month. Before starting, I prepared by borrowing some vegan cookbooks from a friend and stocking up on numerous vitamins and minerals. I was convinced that the vegan diet would destroy my notoriously low iron levels, make me feel groggy, and would not provide my 2-month-old, exclusively breastfed baby with the nutrients he needed.
All I can say is that I was very wrong, and writing this I'm almost ashamed of how little faith and knowledge I had of veganism at the time.
After the first week, I had more energy than before and I saw no reason to go back to including dairy in my diet. I didn't even feel the need for the "cheat day" Max and I had decided on before starting.
After a few weeks, at my son's check-up, my pediatrician laughed and asked what I was feeding our son. He had gained over 3lbs in 4 weeks and was one "chunky monkey".
I never looked back since and that was 9 years ago.
How do I approach veganism with my family?
After our trial month, Max found it a bit more challenging and he continues to eat "non-vegan" foods several times a week.
We both don't feel that we should restrict our children's food choices but instead choose to educate them on their food. One of my favorite vegan children's books is That's why we don't eat animals.
This book is a lovey-dovey book on animals growing up happy on a farm but explains why don't choose to eat animals, use them for entertainment or clothing, etc.
My children occasionally do choose to have pepperoni on their pizza or will order a grilled cheese but they are fully aware that those products came from an animal.
As they get older, I make sure to keep them engaged in the kitchen. Letting them cook, bake, cut, slice, and peel all the different vegetables and fruits this earth offers. This in turn will hopefully turn them into more mindful eaters and give them the skill set to prepare delicious-tasting vegan meals.
I realize each and every family needs to make their own decisions on how to raise their children. This is only what has worked for us, and it isn't right or wrong. I'd love to hear in the comments below what your approach is!
If you want to get in touch with me, please use the contact form!
I try to keep up as much as I can with social media. I'm most active on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Awesome! I think a lot of us moms can identify with what you are writing about yourself. It has already made me happy so please continue!
And 'just a mom', why do we feel like that? But a lot of us do. It should be the opposite.
Thanks Stina for your wonderful comment. You definitely just made my day :)
Oh and the "just a mom" phrase is something I really should stop using. No longer "just a mom" but "mom extraordinaire". Now that's more like it :)
your blog is absolutly wonderful:)
Im from germany ;) do you can speak also german?
I love your recipes and your thinking-really inspirering;) <3
Ja, Natürlich! Ich bin schon von klein auf ständig zwischen den USA und Deutschland gezogen. Freut mich dass jemand aus DE mein Blog gut findet :D
I am loving your blog! We have a lot in common, my husband and child aren't strictly vegan either. Your recipes look amazing, I need to try some asap!
Thanks for sharing your recipes. I just pinned a bunch today and look forward to making them. I think it's wonderful that you can stay at hone with your children. Many moms wpuld love to but can't afford living on one income. Being a mom is the greatest career since yoi have such a positive influence on your kids. Thanks for sharing your story.
Thanks Liz. Always glad when people pin my recipes. I know I'm blessed to be able to stay home with my kids but sometimes I pray for Mary Poppins to magically appear and make them behave :)
Manali @ CookWithManali says
Beautiful blog! You are not "just a stay at home mom" but a superwoman! It's the most challenging job in the world...keep going ! :)
Thanks Manali :) You're so sweet!
You should never be ashamed to be a "stay at home mom". Bless you for staying at home and raising your gorgeous children! It is a HUGE job to raise kids and your kids will thank you for it. :) I think a lot of problems in our society come from letting other people raise our kids. If we consumed less material stuff and spent time with our family…we'd all be better off. :))
I commend you for being a stay at home mom and creating this beautiful blog and all of these awesome recipes. You're keeping your family healthy. Good for you.
I'm also a huge supporter of breast feeding in public. We see breasts everywhere for crying out loud :) Why not see them being used for what they were intended for!
I admire you! Keep it up. Going to be trying your recipes. They look fantastic!!
Your comment just made me laugh. I agree 100% The reason women have breasts is for feeding their children and there is no reason a woman should ever be ashamed or have to hide from others just so she can feed her hungry baby. Heck, the reason why men are so captivated by them is basic biology that goes back to the beginning of mankind. They yearn for a woman who can bear many children and feed these. It not a necessity anymore and most men don't think like that these days but it's sad to see people think only of breasts as something extremely sexual and not for what their actual purpose is. I could keep ranting but I'll spare you :)
Hope you enjoy the recipes :) Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Always means so much to me.
Love your website!! I will definitely try your recipes or get someone to try them for me. :)
Thanks Mary! I'm so glad you like it. Always put on a smile on my face to hear that :)
Just clicked over and I'm a new fan! Your candor and honesty about finding your identity as a mom and independent woman is really refreshing (oh, and your food looks amazing).
Heidrun Karin Peters says
Hallo Vanessa, ich wollte hier auch eben Guten Tag sagen und dir zu den TOP 5 Pinners gratulieren!
Dein Blog ist wunderbar, und ich finde es sehr liebevoll, wie du dich und deine Familie hier beschreibst.
Meine Söhne sind nun schon 32 und 35, aber beide wurden voll gestillt als Babies (über 1 Jahr).
And in English: Vanessa just made it into the Top 5 Pinners of October: congratulations!
The Vegan Community Board http://www.pinterest.com/heidrunkarin/vegan-community/
Oh you are anything but just a mom! You are doing what you feel is best for you and your family and that is wonderful! It's been nearly a year since I went back to work full time and I would love to say again that I am a stay at home mom! It is something to be proud of! Enjoy all the moments you have with your sweet boys.(I'm certain you do!)
Anyways, I stumbled upon your blog through pinterest and I am going to try the fabulous looking chocolate mint mousse! It could not look more delectable!
Thank you Amy, your words are so kind. Let me know when you make the mousse. It's delicious :)
BEAUTIFUL blog, Vanessa! Thank you for sharing your *HAPPY* with the world.
And I concur with all your other supporters here. I think being a mom is the MOST important and challenging job in the entire world and you should be proud! I hope I can be "promoted" to mom someday soon too! XO
I am a 54 yo old grandmother, married for almost 37 yrs. I was a vegetarian in high school, because we grew up on a farm, and I couldnt handle butchering time. After school I gradually started eating about a serving of meat a week. Small amounts. Hubby has always been a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Recently I seen Fat Sick and nearly Dead 1 and 2, and Forks Over Knives. Thats when I decided to go vegan. Hubby is also on board if I can find foods he will eat. I recently made a vegan chili and steak hoagie that he liked real well. I have pinned several of your recipes. I have a feeling its going to be hard to please a guy used to good ol country cooking
Thanks so much Tammy, I know how difficult it can be to get your non veggie eating family members to like your cooking. I think it's best in that case to try out lots of different recipes to find the ones that your hubby and you really like. If you only serve him salads and he was used to meat and potatoes then you'll definitely find him hating it :) I found that recipes that are heavy in protein get the best feedback from meat eaters/lovers. Anything with lots of beans, tempeh, and lentils work well. Most also like mushrooms because it has a meaty texture. I wish you lots of success! I know it can seem hard at first. Please let me know if you make a recipe and like it :)
ana maria rodriguez melendez says
gracias vannesa por compartir tus hermosas ideas y conocimientos y tu hermosa familia,eres una bendicion
Ness you hot mama! This is so cool. Becca told me about this awhile ago but I never got the chance to check out your blog myself. I'm excited to try some of these recipes!!!
Thanks Bekah! Love and miss you :)
Lene Ibeth Frost says
Hi Vanessa - greetings from Denmark:-)
Love your recipes... I'm not vegan or vegetarian but I do love to add these healthy dishes to my dinner table.
I want to acknowledge you for letting your boys get meat if they ask for it... I truly believe children ask for it when they/their body needs it....however, that does not go for loads of candy...lol
So happy I found your blog and for inspiring me with your lovely recipes...
All the best :-)
I've had the pleasure of visiting Denmark a dew years back. Beautiful country :) Thanks so much for your kind words. It's what makes me want to keep blogging. Hope you enjoy the recipes :)
Hi from South Africa! First time finding your blog - beautiful pictures - still got to check out the food but looks yum! New to the vegan thingie too - but trying. I just want to share - you are amazing for staying at home with your kids - I LOVE mine but OH the rest at work on Monday is good for my soul!! Here in sunny South Africa its not strange/unusual for "breasts out and breastfeed in public" so I don't understand the western worlds shame at it! Look so forward to going now to go check out your recipes - keep up the good blog and MOMMY work!!
Vanessa Croessmann says
Hi Kim, I'm so glad you like my blog. When we lived in Australia, they had the same mentality about breast feeding as in South Africa. So, it was really shocking going to the US to find people using massive covers to hide breastfeeding. I don't think anyone should be ashamed or have to hide in the corner to feed their child. Truly bizarre to me :)
greetings from Suriname, The Netherlands, Ireland & Switzerland (talk about confusing identity :-)
Thank you so much Vanessa for the lovely recipes. I'm glad I found this blog (via one green planet).
I just need to like (Medjool) Dates. I find them too sweet, which is weird because generally I like sweet ( chocolate), but then again, I also find Honey too sweet...
Anyways, I want to include more Vegan recipes in my diet, for the greater good - of all.
I was wondering, since my husband and I start a family in less then a year from now, can you recommend some good books / recipes for pregnancy and beyond?
if not no worries,
All the Best with your Blog :-)
Vanessa Croessmann says
Hi Monica, I'm so glad you came across my blog :) I was only vegetarian during my pregnancies so I can't really recommend any vegan pregnancy books, that I've used firsthand. I think the most important thing during pregnancy and while nursing is to focus on your iron and calcium intake. With meat and dairy that's simple enough but with a vegan or vegetarian diet it takes a little bit of planning and smart choices. Some of the best vegan iron sources are soybeans (think tofu, tempeh, etc.), spirulina, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and white beans. Get dairy free calcium from leafy greens (kale, collard greens, turnip greens) and calcium-fortified plant milks. DHA is also really important for baby's brain development. It's usually always in fish oil though. Walnuts have DHA though too so bake with walnuts, sprinkle some on your cereal in the morning and you'll be good to go :)
I hope I was able to help you out a little. It's no book but a start :)
Wish you all the best with your soon to be growing family! I'm always here if you have any other questions :-)
Hi Vanessa, You're so sweet to reply back.
And thank you for the tips :-)
Renee DuPont says
Thank you for being YOU!!!
Your site has been a wonderful sprite in my day!
All the best and again, many thanks for putting your love on-line!
Judy Christ says
My husband and I now live in FL originally from the suburbs of Illinois. We had lunch with your dad here yesterday..
We exchanged the usual ( proud) parent talk.. About Our Kids and Our Grandkids and he gave me your website..:-).
Even living in warm South Fl.. I love to make soups and shared with our daughter Jamie McDonald-
A young mom and RN in Illinois who loves to cook and try new fast and easy recipes.
I will also share your website with others especially our son in Michigan... Scott Christ..
Also,check out HIS WEBSITE.. He is the proud owner of his Own growing company called “purefood “and sells his Two Plant -Based Protein Powder- smoothie products both Vanilla and cacao.. I gave your dad a package for your mom to try... Hope she will like it and maybe order.. ( Who doesn’t like a good healthy smoothie right)?
Scott like you-shares other things he cooks using his product..Hope you check it out read about him and his products and SHARE, and maybe even order a package..
Being his Mom and Biggest Fan,I LOVE his smoothie powder and I am on
his autho ship list:-).
Scott does ALL his own Healthy family cooking Daily at his home, and believes in a Clean diet... for himself and wife and 2 sweet boys.
Like you,He is fortunate to work hard from his home in Michigan.
I am not vegetarian or vegan but look forward to following and trying out some of your soups and other in book...
Congratulations on your hard work.
(Judy) and Stan Christ
Gail a Briant says
I was searching the web for a vegan recipe using parsley that I have grown. I found your pesto recipe. And I pleasantly took the time to read your introduction. I am glad that I have found you!
Gail from Jensen Beach Florida
Vanessa Croessmann says
Thanks Gail! Hope you liked the pesto recipe :)