I have now been vegan for a year. In that time, I have had so many people tell me they are interested in trying some dishes with no animal products in them.

One of the most frequent comments I receive is how folks are having a tough time finding recipes. One a week in the Portland Press Herald is a great start, but what about the other six days during the week?

My wife and I basically started from scratch last year when it came to meals. We looked up recipes on websites and bought a few cookbooks to start. One resource you can tap into is the public library.

We just went a couple of weeks ago to the main branch of the Portland Public Library and found a virtual buffet of vegan cookbooks.

If you are just starting out on a plant-based diet, spend some time thumbing through the books and find one with some easy recipes.

We just picked up “The Vegan Family Cookbook.” This is a perfect cookbook for folks just starting out with a vegan diet. The best thing about this book is the recipes are easy with not a lot of ingredients.

In the 313 pages, it has vegan beverages, breads, snacks, soups, salads, side dishes, breakfast ideas, main dishes and my favorite desserts. I thought with Valentine’s Day coming up, we would find a dessert to surprise your sweetheart with.

Turn to Page 217, and you will find Chocolate Cookies. We added chocolate chips to this recipe and made them Sunday night. By the way, before you bake the cookies, make sure and chow down on some of the batter. The nice thing, there are no eggs, so the batter is safe to eat and delicious.

Do yourself a favor, check out this book at the library or the dozens of other vegan cookbooks available. Remember, “life is short, eat dessert first.” Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

1¾ cups flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon egg replacer powder (You can buy this at the store or go online and make it yourself.)

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup soy milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

3/5 cup vegan butter (we use Earth Balance)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, egg replacer, salt and baking soda.

In a separate bowl or food processor, cream together the sugar, vegan butter, soy milk and vanilla.

Stir the sugar mixture and flour mixture together.

Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Do not flatten.

Bake for 11 minutes or until done. Remember: Cookies will continue to bake when they are taken out of the oven.

Transfer to a cooling rack when slightly cooled.

Eat several cookies and then hide them if you want any later.

Jeff Peterson anchors the 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. news on WGME-TV and is a vegan.