vegansaurus!

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!”

04/17/2014

What’s for Sunday dinner? How about a VEGAN HAM ROLL?  »

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What’s for dinner this Sunday? Anything special? I’m hoping to pick up this vegan ham roll by Vegetarian Plus, for the weekend! I had it last last year when celebrating Easter with my family, and I’m a fan. I know meat analogs aren’t for everyone, BELIEVE ME I KNOW, but they’re for me! I always make a vegan version of what my family eats at dinner because I do not like to be left out. This ham roll wasn’t exactly how I remembered ham to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was fantastic in sandwiches the next day! (Protip: sourdough bread slices and tons of Vegenaise.) 

I picked mine up in the Palo Alto Whole Foods last year, so if I were you, I’d call around to see which stores have it in stock. Caroline was innocently looking for some just-hit-the-shelves Kite Hill cheese and I showed up in line with this hunk of analog ham. That’s what it’s like to be friends with me: always with the atrocious-looking vegan foods! I’ve been surprised to see it somewhat year-round, in natural food stores in both Northern and Southern California.

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If I am able to find it in time this year, I will be sure to bake it with a brown sugar glaze of sorts! For me, the baked-on-sweetness was missing and the apricot glaze didn’t cut it. 

04/11/2014

LA!! FREE book release party this Sunday with FREE bands, FREE Pure Luck Pop-Up & FREE Clara Cakes!!   »

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I’m always on the hunt for fun FREE things to do here in the City of Angels, so you bet I’ll be showing up to this! (And, hello, FREE VEGAN FOOD!?! You’d be crazy not to come!) 

Farmhouse Publishing (vegan owned and operated) presents, SHOOT IT YOURSELF book release party and show. (Did I mention it’s FREE?!) Aaaaaand, if you pre-order the book, you get to jump the line (so DO IT)! 

Who doesn’t love looking at photos (aka why I’m obsessed with Instagram, and why you probably are, too!)? Now’s your chance to snazz up your boring ole coffee table with black and white photographer, Ignacio Galvez's book, Shoot It Yourself. Live shots of punk, hardcore, hip-hop (and more) musicians at shows. Get into it, people!!! 

FREE admission and FREE food!
Limited capacity
PRE-ORDER the book to jump the line!!! 

FREE Music by:
DANGERS
- Bouquet
- TUNA (dj)

FREE Food by:
Pure Luck Pop Up (Fingers crossed they’ll serve their infamous jackfruit tacos!) 
Clara Cakes (Have you see Quarrygirl’s video about Clara? Her cupcakes are legit good!) 

Space 15 Twenty
1520 Cahuenga Blvd
LA, CA 90028

For more info: farmhouse.co

04/02/2014

Sea Bakin’: Crispy, savory, aquatic vegan treats!  »

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The three glorious flavors of Sea Bakin’

I am a fan of sea vegetables in pretty much any form (hello, B12 source!), but let’s face it, when it’s in the form of “bakin’” (aka crunchy, flavorful awesomeness), I want IN on that action!!

I’d heard that the makers of Sea Bakin’, The Great and Wonderful Sea of Change Trading Company (say THAT three times fast) were walking around Natural Products Expo West, but (sadly) I missed running into them. I was so bummed—I wanted to eat free vegan bakin’, ya’ll!!! Thankfully, I have an in with them (an old friend from my DC raver days, but that’s a WHOLE other story), and they kindly sent me samples of all three flavors to try. Score! The flavors are Garden Vegetable, Maple, and Thai BBQ. I think the Garden Vegetable was my fave, but I liked them all! 

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Up close and personal. They aren’t that pretty but they sure are tasty!

They have a unique texture, but if I were to compare them to anything, I’d say they’re a hybrid of flavored kale chips and toasted seaweed snacks. Seriously deeeeeelish! I ate them alone, and I tried them sprinkled on salads and tofu scrambles. 

Where do you get these delicious little snackys you ask? Their website says they’re available in natural food stores across California (and they’re working on other places), but you can also order directly from them

And finally, what’s a post about bakin’ without some Bacon?!

03/21/2014

52 Faces- Love (and how this is related to vegan stuff)   »

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Photo by Geoff Souder

I’m a fan of going to vegan meet-ups and making new friends. (Fun fact: I’ve met most of my vegan friends through Instagram and Facebook groups, which is sometimes weird to explain to omni friends. I digress…). I’d met Geoff once before, but got to know him better over (super tasty) tostadas at Mudhen Tavern during a Facebook meet up. He immediately “got” my east coast sarcasm, and I knew we were destined to be friends. 

He told me about his project, Fifty-two Faces, and I wanted to share it with the Vegansaurus community (“Vegansaurs”)! I’m a fan of covert vegan conversion operations, and Geoff’s explanation of this project sounded like it fit the bill. He explained that, “The project started with a vegan angle…I find that showing animals in pain turns people off, whereas getting them to think about compassion from a different angle seems to work. If we can get people to think about love and compassion, maybe they can start to see love everywhere.” In the spirit of love, I LOVE that! (Now I have this song in my head…)

I was especially excited to read the interview with Jackie S (aka Vegan Yack Attack). (I’m totes biased because we’re good friends, and she feeds me the awesome food that she makes.) The rawness of the interviews are really striking (interviewees were all put on the spot, and couldn’t prepare). It’s a yearlong project, which will feature a different person each week. Because Geoff is vegan (woot!), there will be a bunch of vegans interviewed (and we love that!!). 

Geoff is also a vegan (do I even need to say that again?) food photographer, and has said, “I’ve dedicated my photographic life to capturing food in a way that makes anyone, vegan or not, look at the food and say “wow, I gotta try that!” Food photography is a way for me to express that vegan food isn’t cardboard or all kale, and it can be extremely tasty. Again it’s a different angle on promoting veganism- Make the food look too good to miss.” (PREACH!) 

Keep on keepin’ on with the undercover types of activism (along with the overt kinds, too), fellow vegans (and keep coming to meet-ups so we can all be friends!)! 

03/19/2014

Hey Hollywood! Doomie’s Pop Up Dinner is gonna be poppin’!   »

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Photo courtesy of Doomie’s Facebook page

Doomie’s Home Cookin' in Hollywood has a plethora of seitanic foods (their secret menu item the vegan “Big Mac” has a cult following), so imagine my surprise when I saw that they'll be doing a gluten-free menu! And SIX COURSES?! People, this is a don't-miss! 

Email DoomieVeg@gmail.com to make your reservation. 

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