vegansaurus!

07/23/2014

Crossroads is now serving brunch!   »

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Is there anything better than vegan chicken & waffles? (Photo courtesy Crossroads)

Tal Ronnen strikes again, and this time he means BRUNCHNESS. Starting this weekend, you can go to Crossroads in Los Angeles on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and indulge in both savory and sweet dishes (guaranteed not to disappoint). Some menu items include Chicken & Waffles (drool on photo above), French Toast (gluten-free options available), Crossroads Benedict, two types of frittatas, and much more. Also, for you boozy brunchers, there will be a “tableside bloody mary cart.” (Can you roll me out of there on said cart when I’m done chowing down?) 

Click here for the full menu, and to make your reservation!

07/15/2014

Los Angeles vegans, come to Sharon Palmer’s Plant-Powered for Life book launch at Real Food Daily!  »

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Delicious vegan food (a free tasting menu!), lively discussion between Plant-Powered for Life author Sharon Palmer and Real Food Daily owner Ann Gentry, and a raffle—anything else on a Wednesday night would be snoozeville in comparison. All this goodness happens Wednesday, July 16 (that’s tomorrow), from 6 to 8 p.m. at Real Food Daily in Pasadena.

RSVP to the Facebook event page or to info@sharonpalmer.com and invite all your friends! See you there!

06/04/2014

Strongest Hearts: vegan athletes do exist and they are amazing!  »

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I don’t know about you, but as someone who likes to pretend to be an athlete (AKA slow and gasping for air, but keeps on trudging), I’m insanely inspired by super-active vegans! Sooo, I want to see more of them in awesome videos!! Plus, how tired are you of the myth that vegans can’t be physically powerful if they want to be? Let’s show the world that it is just that: a myth! Enter Strongest Hearts, a web series that focuses on vegan athletes. Strongest Hearts films these awesome athletes doing some pretty darn impressive stuff with their bodies… powered by the power of Greyskull! Okay, kidding, powered by plants (duh)!! 

Hosted by Registered Dietitian (and bike-obsessed) Matt Ruscigno, R.D. and shot by Whale Wars (amongst many other things) filmmaker (and hockey fanatic), Sasha PerryStrongest Hearts has a few awesome episodes under their belt but they want to make more—because there are so many more stories to tell! Just watch the damn video they made, people, it’s so much better than any words I could stick together. Then donate what you can so us vegans can be super-inspired/inspiring, and maybe get some omni-athletes to see they could be vegan and still do what they love. DO IT TO IT! 

06/02/2014

LA: Come to The Lusty Vegan pop-up this Thursday in Venice!   »

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Remember when we told you that Chef Ayinde Howell was trying to open a food truck here in our great city? Well, now’s your chance to eat some of his scrumptious food!! AND, his co-author of The Lusty Vegan cookbook and relationship manifesto (out October 14th), Zoe Eisenberg, will be there as well! Let me assure you that the food at this event will knock your wool-free socks off. I was one of the recipe testers for this cookbook and was incredibly impressed with everything I tested. I have also been to an event catered by Chef Ayinde and the man is a culinary sorcerer! Plus, look at the menu: 

Balsamic & Truffle Mac & Yease
Citrus & Salt Pickled Fennel Salad
Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cake with Garlic Dill Aioli
Fillet De Soy with Blood Orange and Napa Cabbage Slaw
Fresh Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Ice Cream

I.can’t.even. 

Buy your tickets! Then, RSVP (very limited seating) on Facebook. And enjoy stuffing your face with delicious foods!! 

05/22/2014

Veggie Prom West (aka LA knows how to party!) PLUS $10 off for Vegansaurs!   »

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YOU SHOULD ALL COME TO LA FOR THE VEGGIE PROM WEST!!! 

Following in the footsteps of the successful NYC Veggie Prom, it’s time for the west coast to get in on the fun! The 2014 beneficiaries are The Gentle Barn, and the Animal Advocacy Museum. There will be music, dancing, complimentary vegan food and drinks, prom photos, prom court (vote here!), flash mobs portraying iconic prom scenes (Hand Jive from Grease, anyone?!), and raffle prizes donated by vegan companies (like Phoney Baloney’s and The Tree Kisser apparel). So, basically, there’s NO excuse not to come! 

The event is 21+ and will be held at the Animal Advocacy Museum in Woodland Hills, California on June 28th from 7pm-12am

USE THE CODE “VEGANSAURUS” TO GET $10 OFF YOUR TICKET! (Good for one week from today.) Tickets are $55 ($65 at the door, if they’re not sold out). This ticket price includes complementary hors d’voeuvres and unlimited spiked (or unspiked) punch, samples of Hint Water, two raffle tickets, and more shall be revealed! 

Whether you hated your prom, skipped (or missed) it, or had the time of your life, you can have a whole new prom experience of vegan awesomeness! 

Here’s a little throwback to mine (from way back in 1999):  

I think I went to the actual dance for all of 15 minutes. The remainder of the night (and well into the next morning) consisted of dinner at my favorite vegan-friendly restaurant (I still love you, Harmony Cafe!!!), cheap beer (thank you prom date’s mom!), a hotel room with a hot tub, a “chaperone” (my, then, 19-year-old cousin who passed out early while the rest of us got wasted in said hot tub), and a major make out session (#noregrets). Needless to say, it was a fun night (miraculous, considering my original prom date bailed on me the week before because he reunited with his girlfriend). Upon reflection, it sounds kind of like a tamer version of The Hangover. 

Regardless, bring a date, come with a group of friends, or fly solo to this kick ass event!!!! (GO BUY TICKETS NOW!

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Even in flat shoes, I was towering over my date. (For the record, he was my buddy, and wasn’t the guy I had the make out session with.)

05/12/2014

How to Be Vegan is THE handbook for vegan living! Plus: sneak peek recipe!  »

Elizabeth Castoria, former editorial director of VegNews, has the book to give anyone who’s ever asked you, “How can I be vegan?” (Or just give it to everyone as the most blatant hint ever!) Seriously, How to Be Vegan covers EVERYTHING!! Details on vegan foods to buy? Yep. Delicious recipes? Duh. Travel tips? You betcha. Holiday gift-giving guide? Of course. Dating advice? Check. You want flow charts? Got ‘em. My favorite chapter, however, is on MANNERS. This should be required reading for every vegan (um, and human), regardless of how long they’ve been on this path.

BONUS! Because we love you guys, here’s an awesome-looking recipe from her book(posted with permission!): 

Spinach-Tomato Frittata 
Serves 4

If you thought eggy dishes like frittatas were off the menu without eggs, think again. Tofu is a great substitute for eggs. Use this recipe as a base and customize according to the seasons or your favorite veggies.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 14-ounce package firm tofu, drained and pressed (see Note)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see Note, page 000)
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1∕3 cup oil-packed or reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a deep 9- to 10-inch pie plate or a shallow baking dish and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 

3. Add the spinach and basil and cook until the spinach is tender and any liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer the spinach mixture to a food processor. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and process until smooth. 

5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pie plate. Mix in the sun-dried tomatoes and spread the mixture evenly, smoothing the top. Bake for about 45 minutes, until firm and golden brown. Serve hot.

Note: To press tofu, drain it well, wrap the tofu block in a clean kitchen towel, then place it in a rimmed baking pan and top with another baking pan or a cutting board, along with some canned goods to add weight. Set aside for about 30 minutes, then unwrap the tofu. It will be firmer and ready to use in recipes.

You can buy the book at a number of places, including Herbivore!

Verb brings you vegan dry shampoo and more!   »

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Dry Shampoo in action! The videos on Verb’s “Demonstrate" page are awesome! 

I’m been lucky enough to have hairstylist friends (bang trims, galore!), which means I also have access to some awesome hair products. One of my BFFs, Jessica, has been working for this awesome company, Verb (based out of Austin, Texas, ya’ll), and I’ve been a fan of their Leave-In Mist for a few years now. It’s a great conditioning detangler, and heat protector!! (I’m a former bleached blonde, so I know a thing or two about fried hair. Jenny Bradley feels me on this!) I knew that particular product was vegan (and gluten-free), but was stoked to learn that so is everything else (minus the Forming Fiber, which they’re working on reformulating). They don’t test on animals (p.s. WHY DO COMPANIES STILL DO THAT?!?!) and they’re made in the good, ole U.S. of A. (#Merica)!

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The answer to all my defrizzing prayers. 

I knew I had to write about them, so they sent me some other products to try (yay free stuff!)! The Hydrating Shampoo and the Hydrating Conditioner left my hair feeling super soft and tamed the frizzy situation (which can be a BIG situation, depending on the weather). I also tested out the Styling Cream, which isn’t something I’d seek out on my own, because my hair is super fine (and not in the “girl, you look fine” kind of way), but it totally didn’t weigh my hair down and CRUSHED the fly aways!

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The key to the prettiest locks for the laziest gal. 

Then there was the Dry Shampoo. When I bleached my hair regularly (many hair colors and years ago), I only washed my fried locks once a week. Now that I’m rockin’ the au natural color (because I’m cheap and lazy!) I’ve been washing my hair daily (who knew I’d been killing so much natural hair oil all those years?!), but Dry Shampoo lets me be the lazy woman I’ve always dreamed of being (and no one would know by looking about my fabulous hair!!). 

If you don’t live in Austin (don’t move there, the locals hate it when people do), then you can order from their website!

05/07/2014

Phoney Baloney’s is launching FOUR new flavors of VEGAN COCONUT BACON!  »

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Remember when I said that Phoney Baloney’s is coming out with FOUR NEW FLAVORS of coconut bacon?! I wasn’t lying. The awesome new flavors are Apple Fennel, Low Sodium, Chipotle BBQ, and Candied (are you drooling yet?)!

And you—YES YOU!—can get ALL FOUR flavors BEFORE they hit stores! How, you ask? I was just going to tell you! It’s one of the perks Phoney Baloney’s is offering with their IndieGoGo campaign to fund said new flavors!

They started the campaign to cover the cost of the “plates” (pro talk) needed to print the bags. Once they meet that goal, they’ll go into production! Please help ensure that these AMAZING new flavors hit the shelves soon. A $25 contribution will get you one bag of each flavor! You will not be sorry if you contribute to this campaign, you will be happy and full of coconut bacon! Clickity-click through and let’s make this happen. 

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Jackie Sobon (aka VeganYackAttack) & I coveting (and being goofy with) the infant-sized bag of coconut bacon at Expo West. 

Postmodern Foods: Washington, D.C. vegans rejoice!  »

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No caption could give these raw cinnamon rolls  justice. JUST EAT THEM.

There’s nothing I get more excited about than finding out an old friend  is a fellow vegan (especially way back from high school). I ran into Denise Hicks, owner of Postmodern Foods, a while back when she was working at Sticky Fingers Bakery, and we stayed in touch through Facebook. I was doubly excited that Denise was not only vegan, but was working at one of my fave spots to visit when I’m visiting home!  

Denise told me of her plan to start her own vegan business, and I was super excited from day one. A few years later, Postmodern Foods was born. After drooling over photos on the internet, I’m so glad I FINALLY got to try her goodies! She offers a variety of juices, smoothies, and mostly raw (but some cooked) foods. 

I woke up early to go to the Great Falls Farmers Market (which is so cute) and, of course, bought a bunch of different things to try. First of all, her raw cinnamon rolls are UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE. I was generous enough to let my parents taste them, and they both wanted more than just a tastes worth (fat chance!). 

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These little nuggets are made with chickpea flour. The taste & texture? Nailed it!

The Mini Mushroom and Spinach Quiche (gluten-free) was pretty killer, as was the Nutty “Bread” (also gluten-free). I also tasted the Cinnamon’y Cashew Milk (think vegan horchata) and wanted to buy a gallon of it to nurse in a Camelback all day (I like to keep it classy), but decided to go with the Grapefruit juice (with E3 live blue-green algae) and loved it! 

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I made some good ole avo and nooch (plus Tapatío) on toast with the Nutty “Bread.” Didn’t regret it! 

I was seriously impressed with how everything tasted, as well as the portions available for the price. Once her business grows, however, Denise would like to lower her prices, so order food from her ASAP, so Postmodern Foods can take over the world! D.C.-area vegans, don’t miss out on this!

05/05/2014

L.A. bans painful tools used to train elephants!  »

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Infuriating still from Peta’s "Elephants in Circuses: Training & Tragedy"

On Wednesday, Los Angeles sided with the elephants when the city council banned the use of “bullhooks, pitchforks, baseball bats and other goads that circus trainers use to control elephants and other exotic animals.”*

First of all, “pitchforks and baseball bats”?!

Secondly, thank you, L.A. The city council’s vote was unanimous (faith in humanity momentarily restored), and the ban takes effect in January 2017, a delay “meant to give circuses time to change how they handle elephants or remove them from the shows.” (You know which choice I’m rooting for.)

Naturally Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey spokesman Stephen Payne (insert snide remark about how much pain elephants are caused by this abuse), was pissed, and said the law was “completely unnecessary.” He went on to say that this new ban “would force the cancellation of Los Angeles circus events” (excellent!) and City News Service quoted him as saying that the circus may move to a venue outside the city limits. (I see a PETA protest happening.)

City Councillor Paul Koretz said using bullhooks is “inhumane and unhealthy,” and that “the circus is welcome in Los Angeles, just without the bullhooks. … We’re hoping that they follow the model of other circuses that don’t use exotic animals.” 

Happy day for the elephants and other “exotic animals!”

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