Go Max Go debuts vegan Butterfingers! »
The rumors are true: Go Max Go has added a new candy bar to its vegan line! The bar is called Thumbs Up and it’s a vegan version of a Butterfinger. I love Butterfingers, so Go Max Go sent me a free bar to try. Now I will tell you all about it.
Official opinion: AMAZING! Like, so good. I can’t remember exactly what Butterfingers taste like, but to my best recollection, these are an excellent approximation. They are crispy and best of all, peanut-buttery. As soon as I bit in I was like, “hot damn!” I’ve had a few vegan Butterfinger-type things in the past and they were all great, but they were generally a harder consistency than the real thing. Very toffee-like. These are different; they’re much lighter, which I think the real bar is like. Kind of like half-toffee, half-peanut butter wafer.
If you want to get your own Thumbs Up, Go Max Go tells me the bars are going to hit stores this month! They should be showing up in online vegan stores first, so keep an eye out. I for one can’t wait!
Rescue Chocolate: greatest company ever, order everything! »
You guys all know about Rescue Chocolate, right?! If you don’t it’s probably because you’re less charitable and compassionate than I but it’s okay. I will illuminate you and in return, you owe me your first born. Now, don’t EVER EVER had a kid and we’re even stevens!
Rescue Chocolate is an all vegan chocolate company that donates 100% of their proceeds to animal rescue. HOW RAD IS THAT? And the actual chocolate? I tried it this weekend when I was in Portland (JEALOUS?) and it was SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD. I had the Peanut Butter Pit Bull, which I bought strictly because it has a cute-ass pit bull on it, and I was expecting to LIKE it but I LOVED it! Usually dark chocolate is just too bitter for me because I’m a delicate flower but this was SO good — peanut butter mixed with rice krispies (SO SMART) and then coated with creamy dark chocolate. It tasted like a high-class Butterfinger and you know what they say about those things: If you lay a finger on my Butterfinger, I’ll murder your whole family.
Inside pic of a PBPB, GIVE IT TO ME:
UPDATE 9/2/11: I am bummed to find out that Rescue Chocolate isn’t on the Food Empowerment Project’s list of places that don’t use slave labor to get their chocolate. I am sorry I didn’t check the list first, because it’s such a good guide and I really do want to support places that are guaranteed happy for everyone. Rescue Chocolate, please use the good stuff so I can go back to ordering massive quantities on the reg!
OCD Sweets Caramels: EAT THESE IMMEDIATELY »
I already freaked out about OCD Sweets caramels before I even tried them. That’s just how I roll, I’m enthusiastic. Also: VEGAN CARAMELS. They’re few and far between, so when a new product enters the market, my body starts to simulate what I can only assume is a stroke. My heart starts to race, I break out in a cold sweat, and I get a little shaky. Imagine two really attractive people started making out in front of you (feel free to use the mental image of me and Gael García Bernal. Or me and me)—you know that kind of flustered excitement? That’s me when I hear about vegan caramels. I wish that were a joke or an exaggeration but I yam what I yam. And what I yam is a fat-ass vegan with hard-on for caramel.
I finally tried them. Holy. Shit. SOFUCKINGOOD*!&&^*&^*!^%@&^!%!!!!! I got my hot little hands on a massive quantity of the good stuff* and I was honestly blown away. These caramels are unlike anything I’ve ever tried. Sweet, smooth, creamy, and divine, with flavor combos that sound insane and taste amazing! I loved everything I tried, but I’d have to say my favorites were:
1) The Hoppy Vegan. It has BEER and PRETZELS in it and it’s SO G-D GOOD. I could just eat these and nothing else for days. Sure, I’d be urinating shit and crapping piss, but it’d be worth it. Annnnnnd, I’m really really sorry, I have no clue why I’m so gross today. I think I’m PMS-ing. CHOCOLATE! SHOPPING! ACK!
2. The Vegan Rosalia. Tangerine, dark chocolate, and roses. Seriously. It’s insane. I’d eat these until all my teeth fell out and had to be replaced. WITH SHARK’S TEETH.**
3. VEGAN BOOTY. It’s vegan toffee, y’all! From the site (which is adorable and the descriptions are so clever and perfect): “coconut butter toffee with toasted coconut inside, outside and all around, dark chocolate and shiver me timbers peel from a fresh picked orange.” UGH SO G-D GOOD.
Those are just a few of my favorites. Honestly, it’s hard to pick, so go with whatever sounds interesting to you. You won’t be disappointed!
Not only that, OCD SWEETS RECENTLY WENT ENTIRELY VEGAN! Yes, all of their products are totally vegan, and totally amazing. We need to buy up all their products to show them how much vegans appreciate their radness and their deliciousness. I just…I could not love them more. I love them so much that I’m thinking of driving to Other Avenues in the sleet and hail to get a fix. That’s saying something for me, as I don’t like to the leave the house if there’s even a slight inconvenience. This is me: “It’s 75 degrees out? Isn’t that a little hot to leave the house? I’m not Jamaican!” Or, “It’s 68 degrees out? Isn’t that a little cold to leave the house? I’m not Alaskan!” Or, “These pants are too heavy to lift, I don’t think I can leave the house today.” I’ve got a million of those! My skin is becoming see-through due to lack of sun and I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to walk. Psych! I can walk to the fridge!
The point is, I don’t do much, and I’d do a lot for those caramels. If you can, go get ‘em at Other Avenues (and check their Facebook page for hopefully updated locations! or just fan them because they’re rad!). Or if you can’t get there (I feel you), go order ‘em and have a giant batch of delicious vegan caramel goodness delivered to your face. They might seem expensive, and that’s because they are, but you get a huge amount for the price. Enough caramel to serve as multiple desserts, and I can EAT. I just can’t say enough good about this company, the fantastic woman behind it, the delicious product, and yeah, it’s the best. Get up on this!
*One of the few perks of being a blogger. That, and a fat ass. And a gnawing sense of regret about the things you should be doing with your life. Also, carpal tunnel.
**Natural death, of course. Hopefully while battling a giant squid and a T. rex.
NEW VEGAN CARAMELS, Y’ALL! Over at SFoodie, the marvelous Ms. Tamara Palmer has the sweet scoop on Napa’s Obsessive Confection Disorder (OCD! ha!) that just started selling in San Francisco. She writes:
Its products are being exclusively (for the moment) carried at Other Avenues (3930 Judah at 44th Ave.), and the organic co-op’s produce has inspired several of the caramel flavors. Unusual varieties include butternut squash, candied yam, and salted agave-lime.
She goes on to describe tasting some of the flavors and HOO BOY. Our Mark lives in the Outer Sunset and so we’re on the case. That’s Vegansaurus for you, always looking out for you via binge/purge. JK, we binge/binge. Don’t thank us yet, you’re probably gonna have to finance our piano box funerals. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Vegan Swedish Fish Eggs! I love the Swedes! They’ve brought us blowtorches, dynamite, and now Swedish Fish Eggs! What will they think of next!? A: Probably something having to do with fire or candy. I dig it.
Read more about them (and I mean A LOT more about them) at Candy Blog. Yes, a BLOG dedicated to CANDY*. Internet, please marry me.
*this blog awesomely mentions when a candy is vegan friendly. This is good because if a candy is vegan friendly then this vegan is friendly toward that candy, CAPICHE?
Recipe!: Vegan Gingerbread House! »
This year I forced the fam to make vegan gingerbread houses. Shweet! My family is super into holiday fun-times like these. We made mini houses so that everyone could decorate their own. I don’t like sharing! Mine is the minimalist (by comparison) one on the left, my mom’s is the fancy one in the center gentrifying the neighborhood with its thatched roof (made with shredded wheat!), and my sister’s is the wacky yellow one on the right, bringing down our property values.
We borrowed the recipe from a whole gingerbread house cookbook by Christa Currie—it’s a fanatical gingerbread bible and I’m drinking her Kool-Aid! We made a few minor changes but the gingerbread recipe was already vegan! Yay! We found a vegan gingerbread frosting recipe over at ecochildsplay.com. Ok, now the slightly arduous fun begins!
The first thing you do is cut your gingerbread house pattern out of paper. If you have graph paper, it’s pretty easy to design your own pattern! Look at you! Designing your own pattern! If you’d rather not make your own, there are many online. Here’s a simple one and here’s a whole crapload of patterns.
Line some cookie sheets with parchment paper. Tip: If you don’t have parchment paper, you can actually just use brown grocery bag paper. Totes works.
Preheat over to 375 F.
In a large pot on low heat, melt:
• 1 cup vegetable shortening
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup dark molasses
Remove from heat and mix in:
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. cinnamon
• 2 tsp. ginger
Stir in 4 1/2 to 5 cups flour, one cup at a time.
Mix and knead dough until it’s even and smooth, not crumbly or dry. Divide the dough into three pieces; wrap two in plastic wrap while you’re working with one, so they don’t dry out.
Now it’s time to roll and cut out your gingerbread house! Put your dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out flat with a rolling pin. place your pattern on the dough and cut around it with a knife.
When you’re done cutting your pieces out, place them on a cookie sheet and bake those bastards. It depends on how thin you rolled the dough but cook for 10 to 14 minutes. If you touch the dough and your finger leaves an imprint, bake a few more minutes.
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons of Silk Nog or soy milk
Egg replacer for three eggs
Beat the soy milk, egg replacer and vanilla together, then add powdered sugar and beat until thickened. Add more sugar as needed to thicken the frosting. You might need to make a second batch later, depending on when you decorate and how much frosting you use when decorating—but don’t make it all at once because it’ll just get hard and dry out.
Now it’s time to assemble your house! Fun! If you have a piping bag, put the frosting in a piping bag. If you are normal and don’t have a piping bag, you can make a makeshift one with a plastic bag. A large Ziplock-style bag works best. Put the frosting in there, dumping the majority into one corner. Twist the bag on the end diagonal from that corner. Cut the tip of the corner off, and you have a piping bag! This is my preferred method but if you want, you’ll probably be fine just putting the frosting on with a butter knife.
When adhering the pieces, put a generous amount of frosting on both edges and stick them together. First use the frosting to glue one of the long sides to whatever tray or plate you are using—trust me, it’s much easier to put together if you adhere the whole house to the plate/tray. While setting up the sides, it helps if you use glasses or jars to prop them up while the frosting hardens. Once you have all the sides done, leave them alone for a while so the frosting can harden and fortify that mofo. Do the roof last. If you’re having trouble getting the roof to stay on, it helps if you kind of hold it in place for a little while until the frosting dries for a bit. Let the whole house dry for a while before you start decorating.
• Lots o’ vegan candy!
• Pretzels, mini shredded wheat (not frosted—it has gelatin in it), chocolate chips, whatever you want!
• Using the frosting, decorate your house with your vegan candy! Go wild! Get crazy! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be AWESOME.
Parents Raising Free-Range Vegans: You’ll Eat That Nugget, and Like It? »
Parents rule. Literally, they’re supposed to be the rule makers, the head of the household, the buck stops before somebody gets grounded. But sometimes, like last night’s parental usurping by BalloonBoy Falcon Heene (“we did this for a show”), kids know best.
Highly publicized accounts of vegan parenting gone tragically wrong muddle the ongoing debate: should parents raise their children vegan? My favorite vegan parenting philosophy, told to me by the parent of a two-year-old being raised animal-free, “Right now, I’m in charge of what goes in her mouth. If she wanted to eat dog poop, I’d stop her. That’s my job while she can’t decide.” Disclosure: Despite the number of adorable sprites populating my friends’ Facebook feeds, I have no kids. I have also eaten dog poop, but I WAS two at the time, and the memory only exists in legend. It underscores the notion though: tiny kids just don’t know better.
What happens when kids are a little older and do know better? Blame it on the information age if you want to use the pejorative—but kids have access to more knowledge and are making corresponding life realizations earlier. Whether it’s more middle schoolers coming out of the closet, or more kids raised on chicken nuggets deciding, while still sitting at their parents’ table, anything in nugget format isn’t food—how should parents react?
This week, Huffington Post blogger, Donna Fish, wrote a post entitled, “Help! My Daughter’s a Vegan.” She launched in right away, “Am I supposed to be happy about this?” continuing to say that thinking about food too much seems “dogmatic and obsessive.” A mom who loves her T-bones she acknowledges she’s playing dietary roulette, citing the ground-beef paralyzed dancer, but meh—cheeseburgers are good! The conflict of an omnivorous parent of a veg child is summed up, “I have had to go against the fact that I hate that she is doing this, and support her.”
And then the kick-cringer: “Maybe it will just be a stage.” This isn’t a unique reaction. Longtime vegetarian Mike tells of a similar parental response: “My mom told me ‘it won’t last.’ That was 13 years ago. Does that make me veg out of spite?”
When a child makes a decision in opposition of a parent’s beliefs, to what extent are parents required to support it? On the scale from allowing it to happen, to making sure there are veg options on the grocery list and soy milk in the fridge, it strikes me that hoping it’s a stage is on the patronizing side. If a child is old enough to articulate that they don’t want to eat animals and provide an age-appropriate reason, to undermine that assertion of self, logic, and compassion is to prove that they’re not willing to support other expressions, be they “I’m gay” or “you made all of Colorado look for me while you made me hide in the garage.” Not cool. But, it takes a village (I hear.) Even if we don’t have kids ourselves, we can still be solid vegan role models for kids who might not have them at home—and a resource of info for parents who might be facing parenting a turned-veg kid. Maybe buttons? “I’m a Vegan, (Let Your Kid) Ask Me How.”
How supportive were your parents (or friends or significant others) when you vegged out? Is support important? There’s plenty o’ room for your coming out stories below…
P.S. If you’re a parent whose kid has seen the veg and you’re figuring out how to support their decision—whoooo! Here’s a treat for the trick or: the Top 10 Vegan Halloween Treats. If your kid wants to dress as a chicken instead of eat one, filling up their pumpkin it’s as easy as those good ol’ ABC123s.
This is the latest article in a recurring series, The Vegan Diplomat; The Art and Politics of Being Vegan in any Situation Society Throws on Your Plate, brought to us by the lovely Zoë Stagg. Zoë writes about politics, pop culture, and social media. She went cold-tofurkey—total omnivore to vegan on April 26, 2006 and never looked back. Despite her rural upbringing and the fact that her dad may have wanted her to enter the Dairy Princess pageant in high school, she firmly believes in the conservative nature of veganism. Her last non-vegan meal was a Turkey Lean Pocket. Ew.