Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegan Themed Kitchen Towels!

I've been running my handmade home decor shop for a few years now and recently decided that it was lacking in vegan pride items. So this week I fired up the embroidery machine and churned out a few of the ideas I had spinning in my little head (there are more in the works)!

All of these designs can be color customized and done on whatever kitchen towels I have available. I think they came out pretty cute and they're a great way to express your compassionate choices in the kitchen!

Blue Cruelty-Free Kitchen Pig

Black Cruelty-Free Kitchen

Tan Compassionate Cook Kissing Cows

Green Compassionate Cook Kissing Cows

I worship Seitan

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vegan Interrogated: Laura

Name: Laura
Location: Texas

A little about yourself:
I've been a dietary vegan for 3 years, but before that I became a vegetarian when I was 4 years old. I love knitting and working out.

Favorite meal to make:
I really love sushi, and even though it's not hard to make, a lot of times I'm lazy and put all of the ingredients in a bowl instead of a roll. My favorite stuffing for sushi is the spicy tempeh from Veganomicon. So simple, but so incredibly delicious.

Favorite restaurant & why
Spiral Diner and Bakery. There's one in both Fort Worth and Dallas, and their food is incredible. I love them so much I even had them do my wedding desserts! I love Spiral because I can take people who have never eaten vegan food before there and they'll come out talking about how vegan food is actually tasty. I love a lot of the dishes there, but I've been stuck on the Spiral burger with a nut patty and cheese for a while. Oh, and a side of potato salad, of course.

Dumbest question someone asked you about being vegan.
The dumbest question actually came from my husband the very first time I met him. He asked me if I got a cut on my finger and put my finger in my mouth, would that be vegan since I'd technically be consuming blood. He didn't really make a good first impression, haha.

What was the reaction from your friends/family?
I'm sure my friends thought it was weird, but for the most part they didn't bug me about it. There was more of an adjustment period for my family since they'd often cook for me, but everyone's used to it now and no one tries to feed me things with butter in them.

What is the biggest misconception people have about you being vegan?
A lot of people seem to be confused as to what all is restricted in a vegan diet, especially with all the other different allergies and diets out there. People seem confused all the time that I'm eating gluten, something with sugar in it, grains, or really anything that isn't a vegetable. A lot of people see a vegan diet as extremely restrictive, and think we can't eat anything. Most people don't believe me when I tell them I started eating a much greater variety of foods when I became vegan, but it's true!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mini Polenta Pizzas

I love polenta and I love pizza so I figured I would combine the two and see what happened. The result was magical. Like, Neil Patrick Harris and The Magic Castle magical.
Great to serve as an appetizer or pair it with a large side of sauteed greens for a delicious meal!

What you will need:
1 package polenta
Olive Oil (try an infused oil for more flavor!)
1 jar tomato sauce
Daiya Mozzarella Cheese Shreds
Italian Seasoning
Ground Pepper

1. Line a cookie sheet with foil and preheat oven to 400°. Slice polenta into 1/8-1/4" rounds and place in a single layer on the sheet.

2. Drizzle olive oil on each piece and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and switch it over to broil.

3. Spoon tomato sauce onto each round, follow with a sprinkle of Daiya and then spices to taste.

4. Place under the broiler and cook for about 5 minutes or until Daiya is melty and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minute before eating.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Native Foods Cafe

Oh Native Foods, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.

I admit it, I am madly in love with Native Foods Cafe. I had heard about this place when I was living in San Francisco and I could not WAIT to get down to So Cal to try it out.

There are a couple of locations near me but my favorite one is in Culver City. They have a great outdoor patio to sit, eat and people watch and they even provide heaters for those rare chilly L.A. days. The staff is always friendly and the food is beyond delish. NF is even approved by my omnivore husband and we go at least a few times a month.

I've tried numerous items on their menu including soups, sandwiches, burgers, chili, earth bowls and more. All of it is amazingly tasty and completely vegan. For some reason their Twister Wrap has become my go-to item along with a cup of chili. The wrap consists of salad greens, fresh avocado and cucumber salsa, creamy chipotle sauce and your choice of crispy, blackened or grilled Native Chicken (I always go for crispy) all rolled up into a whole wheat tortilla. The flavors are cool, clean and refreshing.

The chili is its own kind of amazing as well. It's hearty with just the right amount of spice and the accompanying corn bread is to die for. It comes with a huge dollop of NF's own vegan cheese which provides the perfect creamy contrast.

My husband always gets the Portobello and Sausage Burger, which I have yet to try, but on this occasion he got crazy and went with the Chicken Run Ranch Burger (sans ranch) with a side of sweet potato fries. As you can see the portions are HUGE, so it's basically impossible to walk out of there not feeling stuffed to the gills.

If you managed to save room, try one of their many desserts (the cupcakes are my favorite). Also, their Native Ice Tea is a must. Made with organic hibiscus, wild berries and sweetened with organic agave, it's like a party in your mouth.

So if you haven't been yet....RUN RUN RUN to Native Foods Cafe! NOW!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Am Vegan, Hear Me Roar

As orginally posted on on January 19, 2012
Just FYI - HappyCow is AWESOME!! If you haven't already, check it out!!

I’m a Libra so it’s in my my nature to attempt to keep things around me calm and zen-like. I don’t like confrontations or heated discussions. I prefer to not make waves or upset people. For most of my life I have avoided saying things (out loud) to people that may alter their opinion of me in a negative way. When I first became vegan these character traits played heavily into how I communicated my new way of eating.

At first, I didn’t want my decision to define who I was as person. I didn’t want to be known as “Kylie the Vegan”. It was just a diet choice so why should it be such a big deal? When I went to restaurants I avoided using the term “vegan” when asking questions about certain menu items. I was afraid of being annoying to the wait staff and whatever company I was with at the time. My husband would make a point of telling them “she’s vegan” in a half mocking/half supportive way. It’s not that I was ashamed, I was just too concerned with others thinking “crap, not another annoying vegan” – because I’m very aware of the stereotype that surrounds us.

I tried not to lecture my friends and family about the atrocities of the meat and dairy industries. I didn’t attempt to make them feel guilty about what they were putting into their mouths. I answered their questions if asked, but tried to remain nonchalant about it all. For some reason I just felt like I had to stay as neutral a possible on the subject, that I would somehow isolate myself from my loved ones by having strong convictions. Believe me, it’s not a healthy way to live. Keeping your thoughts bottled inside can be toxic to your soul.

A few months ago though, this all started to change. The more articles and books I read and the more like-minded people I started to meet helped morph my simple “diet choice” into a lifestyle choice. It was no longer about merely what I chose not to eat, but more about making kinder choices in all aspects of my daily life. I no longer buy leather or support companies that test on animals. I try to be conscious of all my actions and how they may affect other living creatures.

Something this significant should not be hidden away like a dirty secret. I began to feel proud of who I was becoming and the compassionate way I decided to live my life. I no longer shy away from defining myself as a vegan because it’s who I am. I fully embrace all that being a vegan means and it has already changed my life in tremendous ways. I’m happier, I’m healthier and I’m more open minded to what the Earth has to offer.

I don’t plan on becoming a self-righteous prosthelytizer, but I do have a voice and it should be heard. All I can hope is that seeing me inspires others to do their own research and make positive changes for themselves, because it truly is worth it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vegan, Interrogated: Mary

Name: Mary
Location: Phoenix, AZ

A little about yourself:
I have been vegan for over 5 years, I love hiking, horror movies, baking vegan goodies and all things artsy!

What made you decide to go vegan? I was inspired by my friend Scott who was Vegan and his "V" Vegan baseball hat. I had always been interested in being vegetarian and always had a love for animals, it just made sense.

What was the reaction from your friends/family? When I first became vegan I don't think most of my friends and family knew what to think of it. My friends didn't say anything outright, but after I had been vegan for a year, one of my closest friends told me they were all betting it would last 3 months. My family went through different phases of indifference, annoyance, and finally acceptance. Offering to buy my own groceries when I became vegan was a big step. Now my family is extremely supportive and even swap out their meat meals for veggie burgers and ask me for recipes.

What is the biggest misconception people have about being vegan? That vegans don't eat anything but vegetables or tofu! Don't get me wrong, veggies and tofu are awesome! However, vegans eat way more! There is a whole world of flavors and foods to explore that people never open their minds (and their mouths) to. I enjoy Indian food such as samosas or aloo gobi and I like to munch on kale chips and my latest vegan cookie recipe, I can still eat pizza and burgers, I just have daiya cheese and veggie burgers instead.

Do you have any advice for people toying with the idea of becoming a vegan? If it's something you want to try, or something you believe in, go for it. Read everything you can, reach out on-line or in your community to other vegetarians/vegans and find out ways to get the nutrition you need to maintain a healthy vegan diet. Salad for every meal is not the way to go! You can do it! I believe in you!

Do you think your veganism has an impact on something greater than yourself? Definitely! Just being able to talk about our veganism and help others explore new foods and try new things, even in the smallest of ways we are broadening minds and inspiring positive change. I have friends who will text me or go out of their way to let me know when they've eaten a vegan meal. Everyone has heard the Ghandi quote "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I truly believe that by being vegan we are already inspiring change in those around us, which can lead to amazing things.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vegan Jello Shots

Sorry it took me awhile to get this to's been a crazy week, but as promised here is my recipe for vegan jello shots! They were quite popular at the party I threw last weekend and super easy to make.

What you will need:
1 1/4 cup cranberry juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 1/8 tsp agar agar powder
1 cup vodka
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or any other orange liqueur)

1. In a medium sauce pan, heat half of the cranberry juice and agar agar powder on low heat until it starts to simmer, stirring constantly to make sure agar is fully dissolved.

2. Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the juices and the alcohol. Continue to stir until you're positive everything is good and combined.

3. Pour into a shallow glass pan (or jello shot cups like I used) and cool in the fridge for a few hours until they are nice and jello-y.

4. Cut into squares (if using the individual cups, just throw on some ice for party guests) and ENJOY!