vegansaurus!

04/17/2014

Victoria Vegan Pasta Sauces: The Vegan Alfredo-Lover’s Dream!  »

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The lovely family over at Victoria Vegan recently sent me a variety of their pasta sauces for review, and so review them I happily will!

imageThey sent me their Arugula Pesto Alfredo, Artichoke Alfredo, Vodka sauce, Roasted Bell Pepper Alfredo and Original Alfredo to try. I invited my sister over for the fun, as pasta is her favorite food. We called it our “Marinara Tasting Party”, though our party was dominated mostly by Alfredo sauces! 

imageClockwise from top left: My plate, my sister’s plate, sautéed spinach with vegan bac’un bits and my niece Audrey enjoying the Original Alfredo sauce with pasta! I made my sister and I the garlic bread and spinach (veganized), because those were staples on pasta night when we were growing up. 

I had tried the Roasted Bell Pepper sauce a little while ago, so I already knew I was a fan of this brand! It was exciting to be able to sample so many varieties, and though I really enjoyed them all, my personal favorite was the Arugula Pesto. The Artichoke Alfredo definitely came in at a close second. They were so interesting and full of flavor; I thought the creaminess of the Alfredo complimented both the Arugula Pesto and Artichoke so well! My sister’s favorite was the Vodka sauce, so I sent her home with it. (She’s always open to trying vegan food, and it feels like such a victory when we find things she likes.) Audrey just had her 18 month check-up earlier that day, in which she was given the okay to finally introduce nuts in her diet. That was a good thing because Victoria Vegan Alfredo sauces are cashew based (it’s more of a fruit, I know, but you can never be too careful with nut allergies)! The sauces are also non-GMO and gluten-free! REJOICE! Sometimes they are soy-free as well, but be sure to check the labels on that.

After my sister left, I had four open, full jars of sauce to figure out what to do with! Things got creative over here. I had some jumbo shells I was waiting to do something special with, and having the Arugula Pesto sauce was the perfect reason to finally make them! 

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I filled my shells with sautéed mushrooms, garlic, onions and kale. I also added pinches of nutritional yeast, bac’un bits and salt. I was quite pleased with the results! 

By this time I was getting tired of eating pasta, and was racking my brain for something fun to make. I thought fried mac and cheese sounded good, but not quite what I was in the mood for. So instead, inspired by this recipe, I fashioned baskets out of phyllo dough. It’s not as hard as it sounds, I swear! I made mac’n cheese with sautéed onions, mushrooms and spinach, again with a pinch of bac’un bits and nooch. I used the Orginal Alfredo for these, but any of the white sauces would be perfection! [Ed. note: DAMN GIRL GIMME THAT!] 

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Phyllo dough is not impossible or overly intimidating to work with, I swear! My mom’s secret is to keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out, but with a dry towel instead of a wet one. I greased a muffin tin, and then stuffed one folded sheet of dough into each hole. I then filled the dough with a spoonful or two of mac’n cheese, brushed the edges of the dough with olive oil and baked it at 350 until the edges were lightly browned. EASY, SEE? 

All in all, I am a big fan of Victoria Vegan Alfredo sauces! If you see the Arugula Pesto, I’m telling you, pick it up! You can’t go wrong with any of the varieties and seriously, don’t be afraid to dress them up a little when you make them! I don’t live near a Whole Foods right now, but I was daydreaming combining any of the sauces with these ravioli (I can almost taste it!). 

Read more about the Victoria Fine Foods family here! Victoria Vegan products are sold at a variety of establishments, including SproutsRainbow Grocery in San Francisco, and Vegan Essentials.

Full Disclosure: Victoria Fine Foods sent me these jars of sauces, free of charge, to review. All opinions stated above are solely my own. 

11/20/2013

Vegan guide to SF Bay Area Thanksgiving!   »

Hey friends! Thanksgiving, aka the most glorious time of the year, food-wise, is quickly descending upon us! I can’t wait to see all of your festive food pics this year! In a quandary about what to eat? I got you covered! Of course if I missed anything, be sure to mention it in the comments! After all, that’s how our relationship works, for better or for worse.

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Source restaurant will be offering their annual Gobble Platter, complete with “gobble”, gravy, creamed spinach, candied yams, homemade cranberry sauce, and a side salad. This meal is pretty epic, and I’m seriously looking forward to it! I’ll be eating it as my employee lunch (yippee!) before scooting off to the Peninsula to eat with my own family. Of course Source will be offering an array of desserts, including spice cake snowballs with orange frosting and a living pumpkin cheesecake (from me to you!), though not included in the $20.95 platter price. Mention Vegansaurus for 10% off your Gobble Platter, which will be available all day Thursday and Friday. Call 415-864-9000 for more information, or to make take-out/reservation arrangements. 

Souley Vegan is offering a SCRUMPTIOUS looking Thanksgiving day brunch buffet, 11am to 5pm. There are so many items to choose from, including a tofu loaf with rosemary gravy, blueberry waffles, herb mashed potatoes, southern fried tofu, pumpkin cheesecake with warm caramel sauce and your choice of two mimosas or draft beers. The price of this buffet is still up in the air, but I was told it will be in the ballpark of $20 - $25. Call 510-922-1615 for more details

The Plant Cafe is offering a prix fixe three-course meal, which includes a soup course, salad course, and featuring an entree of a red-wine braised portobello mushroom and lentil stew, with a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I believe the entire meal is gluten-free as well as vegan. The meal is by reservation only, from 2pm - 8pm. It’s $50 for adults and $25 for children under the age of 12. Wine flights are available for $25. Call 415-984-1973 for more details, or to make reservations! 

Hella Vegan Eats is offering a “Festive Feast,” which is available for pick-up or delivery on Wednesday, November 27th. Time is running out, as they ask you please place your order by Thursday, November 21st! I love Hella Vegan Eats so very much; I can only imagine how spectacular their Thanksgiving feast must be! Reserve your order by calling 510-282-8233. (Please note side-dishes and desserts are only available in addition to the Festive Feast) 

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New-to-the scene cuties, Ashley and Kyle Knies, of From the Garden, are offering a Thanksgiving meal box, which they will deliver to you on Wednesday, November 27th (minimum order, two boxes). The boxes of food are $30 each and includes such delectable items as  an Herbed-Lentil loaf, apple-cranberry stuffing, green bean casserole with crispy onions, and garlic mashed potatoes! Dessert is also available for an additional fee. To reserve a box, or ask any questions (single savory items, and couple selections of pies are available) email chefkyleknies@gmail.com! 

Millennium is almost surely doing something because they always do so if you want to fancy it up, holler at them pretty soon (415-345-3900 x10) because I know they sell out and that would suck if your fancy thing was a bust because you slept on it. (And Uh, if you can, let us know in the comments what the deal is??)

If you want to bring home the Thanksgiving fun, you can get Hodo Soy Beanery yuba roast (supposedly very delicious!) from goodeggs.comOf course, Whole Foods always offers a vegan dinner available for pick-up at their many locations, while “faux turkeys” or holiday roasts are now sold at Rainbow, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. For your dessert needs, I’m always pretty stoked with the ready-made pies at Rainbow. There’s also Mission Pie, Timeless Coffee and of course pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls at Cinnaholic! Make sure you make your orders asap, as many bakeries have strict deadlines and cut-off dates!  

BONUS: If you know people in Los Angeles — check out our Los Angeles Vegan Thanksgiving Guide!

{Source Gobble Platter photo via Quarrygirl!}

09/24/2013

Product review: Wholesome Chow’s Big Yummy (gluten-free) Brownie!   »

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Okay, here’s the deal you guys: I’m not the biggest sweets fan. In fact, sometimes when I eat too much sugar, my skin gets red, puffy and really warm.* This just happened at my birthday party, and freaked out my entire family. I finished my cake anyway, but everyone kept touching my red, blotchy arm as if I were a science experiment. 

Being the incredibly talented (as well as good-looking, charismatic and hilarious) professional pastry chef that I am, people are often quite confused that I don’t really eat sweets anymore. I’m like, “good thing you guys, this way at the end of my shift there’s actually prouduct available for the public to buy!” I mean, makes perfect sense to me—I go home and gorge on pizza, so everyone wins. 

Cutting to chase here, I usually pass up on dessert samples for Vegansaurus. However, because of my success with, and complete admiration for, Wholesome Chow’s products in the past, I was not willing to give up the opportunity to try their gluten-free brownies! I was expecting to get a dry mix in the mail that I would then bake, so imagine my delight when I opened a package with three BIG brownies encased. I mean, I’m excited just reminiscing about that evening. 

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Let me tell it to you straight: The Big Yummy Double Chocolate Brownie by Wholesome Chow is not playing around. It took all the willpower I had not to eat all three brownies in one sitting. They’re quite sizable, and everything no brownie in the past has ever been to me. To be honest, I eat cake and brownies as vehicles for frosting, and these babies didn’t even need it. I didn’t miss a side of fudgy chocolate frosting AT ALL. 

I’m someone who stays away from sugar, has never really been a brownie person (I mean, usually they can be SO dry) and doesn’t have to eat gluten-free (though I do feel better when I do). On that note, I crave these. I think about them all time. But where can I find these chocolate sensations, since Wholesome Chow doesn’t deliver them anymore? Well, here’s a handy list for you! (Just try to beat me to Rainbow to buy out their stock, I dare you.) Unfortunately for now, they are only available in California, but maybe you can ask your local natural food store to carry them? Of course you can always buy the brownie dry mix online too, as I’m sure it does not disapoint! Chef Veronica of Wholesome Chow also has a recipe for these decadent treats on their company blog!    

*I did not have any type of reaction to the sugar in Wholesome Chow’s brownies, which may have also been because for once I exerted some amount of will power in not eating all three in one sitting. 

03/15/2013

Chambers Lane pâté review! (amazing new vegan cheese alert!)  »

Since Laura and I moved to the East Bay, we’ve been unable to get to Rainbow Grocery as often as we used to. Last time we were there, we um, went a little overboard. We came away with four new cheeses and cheese spreads that we had never seen before. Of these, the Chambers Lane Truffled Cashew pâté was far and away the favorite, even above the much pricier Punk Rawk Labs cheese.

So when the people of Chambers Lane contacted us to see if we were interested in trying their other flavors, of course we said yes.

All together, there are three flavors. The first we had tried was Truffled Cashew. They also have Fig Balsamic Walnut Cashew and Rosemary Thyme Almond. These are also quite good.

The Fig Balsamic is sweet, tart, and rich-tasting, with hints of spice, it definitely has a wonderful complex flavor.

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The Rosemary Thyme, on the other hand, is savory, but with a milder herbed taste. It’s almond-based, so it’s not quite as creamy as the other two, but is still pleasantly nutty.

But the first one we had tried probably still remains the favorite. With its rich, decadent truffle oil and creamy cashew texture, it really is something special. We started out by eating it on crackers like fancy folks, but then polite affectations went out the window, and we finished by sticking our fingers directly into the jar to get every last bit.

In addition to being available at Rainbow Grocery, you can also find Chambers Lane pâtés at Country Cheese Coffee Market and Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, Woodlands Market in Kentfield, and Draeger’s in Menlo Park, Danville, and San Mateo. 

Let’s hope they get into even more stores soon, because this stuff is the GREATEST. Insanely delicious vegan cheese for all!

09/04/2012

Mercy For Animals makes history! First-ever cruelty to animals FELONY conviction!  »


MFA made history last week, when Brian Douglas of Butterball factory farm pleaded guilty to felonly cruelty to animals on August 28th. It was the MFA undercover investigation at the farm in Hoke County, North Carolina that sparked what is believed to be the “first-ever felony cruelty to animals conviction related to birds used for food production in US history.” Douglas will serve 30 days in jail, followed by 42 months of probation, for the horrifying violence towards the butterball turkeys he executed. On August 31, Butterball employee Rueben Mendoza also pleaded guilty to felony identity theft and misdemenor cruelty to animals. He faces a “consolidated sentence of a minimum of 8 months, and a maximum of 19 months, in state prison”.

I can’t watch the undercover video at the Butterball Factory farm. But it’s up on MFA’s site if you can stomach it. To show my advocacy however, I like to sport my MFA “Not Cool” t-shirt around town. If you get one too, we’ll be twins! We can start a club! Maybe wear them to Vegan Drinks so we’ll know to schmooze with each other? If the merch doesn’t appeal to you, you can always donate to the cause as well! Man, I love Mercy for Animals, and the incredibly difficult work they do on the behalf of animal rights.


The little chick in the stomach is saying “Not Cool”. I love, love, love it!

Of course there always needs to be a naysayer, doesn’t there? Examiner.com plays that role well with this article which I think screams, THANKS A LOT CAPTAIN OBVIOUS AND BY THE WAY, MFA IS A VEGAN NON-PROFIT. Rachel touched upon all the same points, about the injustices that the workers must face on on these farms, back in Febuary. I think she covered this issue in a much more compassionate and well-informed (I’m not biased!) way. Thoughts? I noticed there’s nowhere to leave comments, but that might be a good thing considering the comments section usually makes me want to throw myself off a building sick.

ANYWAY. No more turkeys for holiday feasts, or sandwiches OR ANYTHING. Why eat an animal when we can have delicious vegan turkeys???? RAINBOW please order more this season; I did not get one last year and it gave me a case of the sads. Actually no, because I made this delectable tart, but I want both this year!

[Photos via MFA.org]

05/23/2012

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor go vegan! Let’s hope it sticks!   »

In news that I know you are all anxiously awaiting, another celebrity couple tries out veganism! This time, it’s Zoolander and Melody from Hey Dude! Just kidding you guys, I don’t seriously live in a world where actors are the characters they play. (Yes I do.)

Christine Taylor talks all about the transition here. Regarding her kids, she says they are having a harder time with the switch, and explains “My daughter loves veggies but doesn’t love fruit. My son loves fruit and doesn’t love veggies.” That’s so funny, because you know who else like veggies but doesn’t like fruit? Sarah! I just don’t get it. I even love the kind of fruit that everyone has a problem with—berries with little seeds! All the fruit for me, all the time! (except papaya, I don’t like that one. [Ed. note: WORD.])

Christine Taylor is also the spokesperson for Nourish body care products. I looked into Nourish, and it sounds like an awesome company—vegan and organic! I saw that the products are sold at Whole Foods, so I hopped, skipped, and jumped on over to the store across the street in search of body lotion. Sadly, the Upper Haight Whole Foods only carries Nourish body wash, and I prefer bar soap. Lavender mint lotion, you will be mine—I bet it’s at Rainbow!

xoxo,
Your Vegan Celebrity Correspondent

[photo via Ecorazzi]

05/16/2012

Bust Magazine Craftacular, at the Seed in New York! June! Go there!  »

Aw, remember the early 2000s, when I was a budding feminist at Humboldt State, taking my women’s studies classes and reading Bust magazine? No? I loved Bust's feminist/pop culture flair, and if you've ever been to Arcata, you'd know why it's referred to as “behind the redwood curtain;” things like technology and pop culture do not easily get through. It was like living in the ’70s! It took four days to get a Netflix DVD in the mail! I didn't know how an iPod worked until late 2006! Man, I miss that place.*

I still pick up the odd copy of Bust, usually when I’m in Rainbow, reliving my hippie college days (being in Rainbow IS the Arcata experience, right here in SF). Except now I know how to use an iPod! And I listen to pop music!

Bust is hosting a Vegan Craftacular in New York this summer! They are teaming up with The Seed to bring you a two-day expo of food, art, crafts, demos, and speakers! How fun! Go to it, and then tell me everything!

Bust Magazine Craftacular at the Seed: A vegan experience
82 Mercer St., between Broome and Spring, New York City
Saturday, June 16, 10 a.m to 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Buy your tickets here!

*Sounds a lot like my experience at Davis in the early ’00s, says the editor who did not own an iPod or a cell phone until 2006.

04/11/2012

Punk Rawk Lab cheeses coming to Rainbow!  »

San Francisco vegans, it’s a big week for us and it’s only Wednesday! IMAGINE WHAT THE REST OF THE WEEK HOLDS. Probably mainly disappointment but JUST IMAGINE! So, word on the streets is that Rainbow will start carrying Punk Rawk Labs vegan cheese next week and than said vegan cheese is like Dr. Cow vegan cheese but only better. And that’s not just us, that’s omni cheesperts (JUST MADE IT UP, PASS IT ON). It’s moister, tastier, and you get twice as much for the same price. That’s the word. Me, I don’t know, I always thought Dr. Cow tasted like a fart but there are lots of people who love the stink and want farts in the mouth, so who am I to judge? But seriously, you’re nasty.

Anyway, anyone tried it? Excited? Look for it next week at Rainbow Grocery!

02/23/2012

Vegan shrimp rules; real shrimp is terrible for the environment  »

I know, you’re like, “Yeah, yeah—tell me something I don’t know,” right, smartypants? I’ll just reiterate a few points of interest, from a recent post of The Atlantic, then showcase pictures of vegan shrimp (the real reason we’re both here). Vegan shrimp is delicious! And since it’s somewhat hard to get a hold of, doesn’t that mean it’s a delicacy? Of course it does.

  • Biologist J. Boone Kaufman of Oregon State University has calculated that “tiny little shrimp may be the most costly animal you can eat, when measured in terms of its negative impact on the environment.”
  • "One pound of frozen shrimp adds one ton of carbon dioxide — more than 10 times that produced by the equivalent amount of beef raised on cleared rainforest land.” Yikes!
  • "Most of the world’s farmed shrimp is produced on coastal farms, in Southeast Asia, that were created by destroying mangrove forests". The very same forests that would help eliminate much of the carbon dioxide in the air! Plus, the farms are usually abandoned after about 10 years, due to the awful effects upon the soil. The land is pretty much unusable for about 40 years. Awesome.

Again, you can read more here. Now, for you and the seafood lover in your life:

Veggie shrimp, available at Rainbow!


Everything on this table is vegan, including the shrimp cocktail in back! Faux shrimp + Trader Joe’s cocktail sauce = astonished party guests.


Veggie Praram with veggie shrimp at Thai Idea! You can add the ‘shrimp’ to any entree. Go ahead, treat yourself (it’s like an extra $1.50). Taken with Instagram, because I just got my first iPhone. I’m (jennybradleyyo) Instagramming my way through life!

11/18/2011

Product Review: VegeUSA Vegan Whole Turkey!  »

(I know this post is very Christmas-y, but basically I eat the same-ish meal for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so of course I assume everyone else does the same!)

Last Christmas, I went all out and treated myself to a Vegetarian Plus Vegan Whole Turkey. I was super curious after seeing the ads in VegNews. Now, I’m a Tofukery fan — I like it, but I’m not in love. I’m also a vegan who LOVES faux meat, in taste and in image. I think it’s hilarious this vegan turkey is actually shaped like a turkey. I could not contain my excitement about eating a drumstick again. Vegan drumsticks = pure joy.

I bought my vegan turkey at Rainbow Grocery and lugged it to Grandma’s house in Redwood City. I showed it off to practically anyone I came across. The thing is like, 4 pounds and has to defrost overnight. So plan ahead! It also comes with gravy and stuffing, but I put those aside (in Grandma’s freezer, for a later date) and made my own. There’s actually a cavity to put the stuffing in. This thing is intense!

Empty Cavity


It’s possible I went a little overboard with the stuffing, as you can see from the split seams.

I tried to bake this monster according to the directions, but unfortunately my aunt had turned off the oven, forgetting I had to prepare my vegan meal! (I’m sure it was just an accident…) So, it took a little longer than the directions stated.
The turkey was well worth the wait! So tender! So moist (ew)! So flavorful! I AM IN LOVE. I have been so excited for the holidays to roll around so I can get another one!
For real, this faux bird is delectable. It’s meant to feed 8 - 10 people, but I have the appetite of 5 people so I ate half of it in one night. I think I’ll lay off of doing that again this year (no promises). I learned my lesson the hard way, and felt sick for days (which didn’t stop me from eating the leftovers. Really. It’s that good. Don’t get me started on the turkey sandwiches with veganaise…)

Vegan Christmas plate! ‘Turkey’ drumstick, gravy, stuffing, carrots and twice baked chipotle sweet potato (recipe from The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life).

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