vegansaurus!

Apr 24

This weekend: Artisanal LA Spring show with Courtesan Cupcakes!

image

Plans this weekend? Why not hit up this artisanal spring show in downtown Los Angeles? It looks like Etsy in action. I LOVE ETSY! I wish I could go, but I’m moving. You know how that is: lifting heavy boxes and waiting for the electric/internet/gas company to show up and set things up. Exciting! Exhausting! Maybe I’ll go on Sunday, we’ll see! My heart wants what it wants, and that just so happens to be sweets by Jessika Lauren’s Courtesan Cupcakes, and she’ll be there! I’m dying to try her stuff—it’s all so beautiful and 100% vegan. Plus, our LA vegan queen (via London now, I know), Quarrygirl, says those cupcakes are some of THE BEST

I love these events because I always find fun vegan goodies that aren’t necessarily geared towards vegans, ya know? Presale tix are $12 and available right here. Otherwise, it’s $15 at the door. Happy shopping!

NYC: Come party with Vegansaurus TONIGHT!

image

That’s right, friends! Vegan Drinks NYC is tonight! As usual, it’s at Fontana’s, from 7pm-10pm. And once again, I will be laying down the tunes! Here’s a preview of what’s to come: 

image

YEAH BOYEEE! See, I know what vegans like. 

Tonight we’re benefiting Friends of Animals! Yummy food by Yeah Dawg! So come by and hang!

Apr 23

I just made my first batch of vegan fudge, and I’m really into it! I used this recipe, and added a handful of semi-sweet vegan chips and some pomegranate liqueur. I guess I didn’t expect it to turn out, so I didn’t measure out my changes. I melted the liqueur (A shot? Half a shot? Who knows!) and chips down with all of the other ingredients. It’s super delicious and easy, so go on and give it a whirl. Next time I am going to try it with coconut milk, and maybe half a cup less of powdered sugar* because it was very sweet and just a little bit grainy. But otherwise very good! 
*I know sugar is a hot topic, so here are a couple resources on finding vegan sugar! 

I just made my first batch of vegan fudge, and I’m really into it! I used this recipe, and added a handful of semi-sweet vegan chips and some pomegranate liqueur. I guess I didn’t expect it to turn out, so I didn’t measure out my changes. I melted the liqueur (A shot? Half a shot? Who knows!) and chips down with all of the other ingredients. It’s super delicious and easy, so go on and give it a whirl. Next time I am going to try it with coconut milk, and maybe half a cup less of powdered sugar* because it was very sweet and just a little bit grainy. But otherwise very good! 

*I know sugar is a hot topic, so here are a couple resources on finding vegan sugar! 

We totally heart Cocomels: delicious coconut-milk vegan caramels!

image

Guys, I’m happily OBSESSED with Cocomels vegan coconut milk caramels. Like, completely OBSESSED. JJ’s Sweets sent me a bunch of free stuff to try and as usual, I shared these goodies with my coworkers. Everyone absolutely loved them and multiple coworkers said these are the best things I’ve ever made them try. 

image

I was never much into caramels but I thought I’d give these a try anyway and boy am I glad I did! They are nothing short of awesome. And totally addictive. 

As they are made with coconut milk, some of them have a bit of a coconut flavor. People were comparing the vanilla Cocomels to Samoas Girl Scout cookies. I’ve never had those but that’s what everyone said they tasted like.

The coffee and sea salt have less of a coconut flavor. The coffee is my most very favorite of all the flavors! It tastes like rich coffee, like when you get coffee ice cream—not a subtle cappuccino flavor. The sea salt was my second favorite as you know I love the salty and sweet combo. 

image

Now, don’t die! They also sent me a few of their chocolate-covered varieties!* I gave my mom the chocolate-covered vanilla ones and she pretty much died. These were all good but I actually prefer the straight up caramels. The chocolate seemed a little minty almost? Maybe I’m being cray but that’s what it tasted like to me. Loved the sea salt one of course! Here’s a picture of the chocolate-covered sea salt Cocomel, in all its glory:

image

Jeez, don’t drool on the computer! OK you can because it’s your computer and you can do whatever you want. Unless you are at the library (NERD), in which case do not drool on your computer and keep it down over there. 

Other exciting bits of info:

-I love the packaging design! (Reminds me of the sidewalks in Rio. Why yes, I am fancy. Thanks for noticing.)

-Cocomels are made in copper kettles, all old-school like!

-They are gluten free, organic, non-GMO and corn syrup-free!

-The boxes are made with wind power for freaks sake!

-The chocolate they use is fair trade!

I know, it’s all so exciting! You can buy Cocomels online at their siteFood Fight Grocery, and Abe’s Market. You can also get them at Whole Foods Market stores in the NorCal, SoCal, CO, NM, UT,  NY, CT, NJ, TX, LA, AR, OK, KS, NV;  Select Sprouts in AZ and CA, Vitamin Cottage, The Fresh Market, New Leaf, and numerous smaller chains, COOPs and independent grocers. I cannot recommend these enough! I want more!

*UPDATE!: Several people have found the chocolate-covered caramels are sold-out on the Cocomels site! JJ’s Sweets just put this note on our FB:

The Chocolate-Covered Cocomels are available in a two pack only in a few select locations right now, but you will be able to order the larger bags of them on the site in the next few days…. making a fresh batch now! 

Apr 22

Have you made Vegan Yack Attack’s Roasted Cauliflower Tomato Soup yet? It is FANTASTIC. Even though Jackie and I are friends IRL, and she’s aware my enthusiasm knows no bounds, I think she may have gotten weirded out by how obsessed I became with this recipe. OH WELL! I love it, my mom loves it, my dad and grandma love it. I made it about twice a week for a while, no joke! My mom wistfully mentioned it recently and I haven’t been able to shake my hankering for it. Hey, Jackie, hey! I’m like, officially the president of this soup’s fan club, right? 

Have you made Vegan Yack Attack’s Roasted Cauliflower Tomato Soup yet? It is FANTASTIC. Even though Jackie and I are friends IRL, and she’s aware my enthusiasm knows no bounds, I think she may have gotten weirded out by how obsessed I became with this recipe. OH WELL! I love it, my mom loves it, my dad and grandma love it. I made it about twice a week for a while, no joke! My mom wistfully mentioned it recently and I haven’t been able to shake my hankering for it. Hey, Jackie, hey! I’m like, officially the president of this soup’s fan club, right? 

Product review: Vegan Cuts Beauty Essentials Kit!

imageI love vegan cosmetics! In a past more recent than I’d like to admit, I got tripped up by the term cruelty-free on cosmetics, thinking it was an all-inclusive term meaning vegan. That, my friends, couldn’t be farther from the truth, as cruelty free cosmetics often have animal ingredients in them. If I, a long-time vegan, am having trouble with this in the store, how must new vegans feel? It’s overwhelming! With lists and lists of animal ingredients to memorize, these waters are not often easy to navigate—not only in food but in products for our faces, bods and hair as well! 

Thankfully, the Vegan Beauty Essentials Kit exists, curated by Vegan Cuts! This box is filled with such fun and luxurious products, I believe vegans of all experience levels, from rookies to lifers, the curious to the die-hards, will enjoy receiving it! I excitedly tried most of the products immediately, but am saving a few for weekends on the go! Most of the products, if not all of them, are the perfect size to get through TSA, and wouldn’t take up much room in an overnight bag. I enjoy having fancy products to travel with, it adds a bit of excitement and glamour to an on-the-go routine. I can’t just waltz into the drugstore for all my trial-size, traveling needs anymore.

image
Let’s be real: vegan products do not come cheap, definitely not as affordable as their cruelty-full counterparts. In this respect, I enjoy having an assortment of sample sizes to try, in order to make informed decisions about which full sizes to purchase in the future. After all, what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. The Beauty Essentials kit comes with 10 -15 surprise items, and while most are sample size, a couple of them are full size! 


Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!

I couldn’t recommend this kit more! And what a deal: it’s a $50 value for $27.95. Everything smells so fresh, and is catered to most skin and hair types! (Please, can someone come teach me how to use the eyeshadow, because I have never gotten the hang of that one?) [Ed. note: Megan Rascal’s adorable sister can!]

Full Disclosure: Vegan Cuts sent me the Beauty Essentials Kit to review, free of charge, but all of the opinions stated are my own. I will be purchasing many of these products after sampling them in the kit. I wouldn’t waste your time, nor mine, writing posts that do not reflect my personal experience! BECAUSE I AM THE WORST AND DROPPED THE BALL ON GETTING THIS REVIEW UP, VERSION 2.0 IS WHAT IS AVAILABLE NOW. Looks just as awesome!  

Apr 21

Veal calves: horrifically abused by-product of the milk industry

Mercy for Animals has released another undercover video, this time from a veal facility in Canada. These little babies are not just confined, they are sick and injured, and get no medical attention. Why would they? They are just “food,” right? And then on top of that, the workers in the factory pretty much torture them. I couldn’t watch the whole video, it’s too sad, but the parts I watched are disturbing.

I hear plenty of meat eaters proudly declare they don’t eat veal. Most people know it’s often a cruel industry. But do people know that veal is a by-product of dairy production? It’s very simple: Cows need to have babies in order to produce milk. Many of the babies born are male. These male calves are useless to the dairy industry. So they are shipped to veal farms.

Even “humane” dairy farms do this. That’s what I always tell people when they say such and such dairy farm is so nice to the cows: ask where the boy calves are. I dare you. 

When I was a vegetarian, I had no idea that the cheese I consumed drove the veal industry. When I found out though, that’s when I became vegan. Of course I learned all the other reasons to be vegan eventually, but the link between dairy and veal is what made me vegan pretty much over night. I just thought to myself, if veal is a by-product of the dairy industry, dairy isn’t very vegetarian at all! Basically, being vegetarian isn’t very vegetarian. 

You can learn more about this investigation and send an email from the Mercy For Animals page.

More fun with homemade vegan cheese: testing Miyoko Schinner’s cream cheese recipe!

image

I love being able to make fancy, artisanal vegan cheeses at home! I’ve been meaning to try this cream cheese recipe by Miyoko Schinner for about six months now. I finally did, and honestly, it couldn’t have been easier! I used unsweetened coconut yogurt to ferment it, and I let it sit out for the full 48 hours. That was kind of tough! I thought I was going to be super cool about leaving food out, letting the bacteria do it’s job, but it turns out I am an American through and through! 

imageI made toast with Larrupin mustard, pepper and avocado! Delicious. Has avocado on toast always been a thing, or am I just noticing it now? I like to say the British have beans on toast and American vegans have avocado and toast. It really is a great combination! 

I super enjoyed not only making this recipe, but eating it too! I am very into the long fridge life: two weeks! I can’t wait to make frosting or cheesecake with it. It is my dream to try to replicate the blueberry cheesecake from Timeless Coffee in Oakland! It is also crucial I get some more of Sophie’s Kitchen Smoked Lox, ASAP! 

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: the coolest dog in the world!

image

Often pork comes to mind when people think about federal politicians, but there’s a new legislative caucus in Congress, one that probably wouldn’t mind directing a little more pork toward the poultry industry: The Congressional Chicken Caucus. Colman McCarthy has a great column in the National Catholic Register this week about it.

On the other end of the spectrum, HSUS worked with local lawmakers in Boca Raton to urge citizens to help protect their health and the planet by eating less meat.

Speaking of lawmakers doing the right thing, have you seen the impressive list of them who are participating in US VegWeek? You can join them!

Special props to Upworthy for promoting HSUS’s new, entertaining gestation crate video (yes, it’s really entertaining!), helping to push the video well past a million views.

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: I used to think I’d had the coolest dog on the planet. I now know I was wrong.

P.P.S. Photo of the week: Thanks to the Winnipeg Humane Society for hosting me this week—they have a very poignant gestation crate display.

Apr 17

Alicia Silverstone releases new book all about being preggers the vegan way!

image

I don’t think I’ll ever choose to get pregnant, but I know lots of people do! And we get a lot of questions about vegan pregnancy around here but alas, I don’t know jack about it. Luckily, Alicia does! Silverstone has just released this handy book, The Kind Mama, that goes from getting preggers to breastfeeding, all while staying vegan: 

In The Kind Mama,Alicia Silverstone has created a comprehensive and practical guide empowering women to take charge of their fertility, pregnancy, and first 6 months with baby. Drawing on her own experience, as well as that of obstetricians, midwives, nutritionists, holistic health counselors, and others, Silverstone offers advice on getting one’s “baby house” in order through nutrient-rocking foods that heal and nourish, and, once pregnant, gentle ways to boost comfort, energy, and health during each trimester. She helps readers navigate everything from prenatal testing and birth plans to successful breastfeeding and creating a supportive “baby nest.” 

Well! Sounds like the new vegan pregnancy bible!

So, do we have any soon-to-be parents in the crowd? I’m really curious, what have been the biggest struggles with regards to being vegan? I’d love to hear about everyone’s experiences. I know when people aren’t even vegan, EVERYBODY has something to say about what they should be doing when they get pregnant and have a baby. I imagine it might get even more cray when you’re vegan on top of that. Am I right?

Find links to buy the book here