Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Just like my previous post about pineapples, I am also no expert on miso's various types and forms, but I do know that it is a Thing I Like. The only other thing I know is that it is sitting in a plastic package in my fridge in a goo-form and that it is delicious. Oh, also, if you add too much of it to food, it becomes inedible. I am not a very adventurous cook and am pretty much seasoning-knowledge deficient, so miso is a pretty good thing to have around. You can add it to water and make a broth that is tasty and only required one simple step. On Monday, I put some miso in water, heated it up, added some dehydrated tofu and seaweed (both purchased at the Mitsua Market in Arlington Heights), with fresh bok choy, broccoli, and sprouts and voila! Chunky miso-flavored soup for dinner!

In March when we visited Japan, my partner geniusly crafted a noodley miso soup with ingredients from a local convenience store right in our hotel room rice cooker. Seriously, brilliant! All 24-hour stores should carry miso, rice noodles, and tofu!

Monday, December 5, 2011


I really like pineapple, but I don't always particularly care for cutting up a whole pineapple. Fortunately, I have a really great partner who doesn't seem to mind doing the pineapple dirty work. This one is from a few weeks ago and it was de-licious! I also associate pineapples with one specific event in my life. Years and years ago, I was headed to New York for my yoga teacher's birthday celebration and didn't have the foggiest idea what to bring to such an event. What do you get an advanced yogi for his 60-something-ith birthday? And there in the produce market at Essene in Philadelphia (my former city of residence), I was struck by a lovely sight: the perfect pineapple (no, not these!!!)! I tied a bow around it's spiky top and carried in my backpack via New Jersey Transit up to Manhattan. After an amazing yoga practice, I fluffed it's flattened bow and (VERY) shyly presented my carefully selected pineapple. He brought it to his face, smelled it, smiled, and kissed me! I was thrilled. The sight of a whole pineapple always brings me back to that moment and I always smile. The perfect gift.

(Writing this entry I also got curious about when pineapple was in season and I found this very informative website! I now know so much more about pineapples than ever before.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Take a Hike Scone

The Vegan Thing I Like today is, I think, kind of unexpected. Bleeding Heart Bakery (multiple locations in the Chicagoland area) is known for their super sweet baked goods (some of which are vegan). Their cupcake icing is so sweet that they have a warning at the counter not to order it if you don't expect an explosion of sugar in your mouth. So, what's perhaps unexpected is that the item I like most of Bleeding Heart is one of their less sweet offerings - the perfectly amazing and delicious Take A Hike Scone.

This scone is darn near perfection. It's just sweet enough and loaded with seeds and dried fruits (no nuts or coconut, both of which I am allergic to - rejoice!). The inside is a bit cakey and crumbly while the outside is just a little bit crunchy. I seriously love this thing. Ever since the new, huge location opened up nearby work, I have to resist the urge to eat these more often. Fortunately, the price keeps me under control (it's worth it, but not always in my budget). Even though it seems weird, next time you're near the Bleeding Heart Bakery, I suggest that you pass by the cakeballs, cupcakes, and even the vegan donuts and go right for this baby! You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Spiral Diner and Bakery

"The Mitch" Tofu Club with Potato Salad.
One of my favorite things about going to visit my mom in Dallas, TX is that I know we're going to go eat at the Spiral Diner (they also have a location in Fort Worth)! I love this place. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is comfortable, the staff is welcoming... what more could you want!? The food is satisfying, filling diner-style food without being heavy or overwhelming. They have a list on the wall of which ingredients are currently organic and a great list inside the menu of what "tempeh," "seitan" and other potentially mysterious ingredients are actually made of for the veggie diner first-timer. Each location has a great self-serve drink station with natural sodas on tap. In addition to being a great diner, they are also a bakery and always have a good selection of tempting vegan treats on hand so that you can end your meal with a cookie topped with a scoop of house-made ice cream anytime you like! The Spiral Diner also has a small "grocery" section at the front of each location with a few vegan staples, candies, books, tshirts, and more. Dallas is fortunate to have a place like this and I am fortunate to have another reason to visit Dallas more often!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The World's Largest Dog Collectables Museum

On our most recent trip to Texas, we drove from Dallas to Austin to spend a day there hanging out with our friends and visiting some new customers. We even hired a really great new Austin demo rep. On our way driving back to Dallas, we happened by a roadside attraction that we could NOT pass up: The World's Largest Dog Collectables Museum in Waco, Texas! The museum itself is situated in the corner of a large antique mall. Nothing in the museum is for sale, but many of the surrounding antique booths have great dog-related collectables. We could have easily spent hours here and not seen half of the thousands and thousands of items in the museum, but we saw what we could. We also looked high and low for a vintage pit bull figurine, but came up empty handed. When we left, since we hadn't bought anything, I tried to leave a donation for the dog museum, but the ladies at the checkout wouldn't hear of it. The dog museum is clearly a labor of love and I can't recommend it enough if you're passing by to budget the extra time to stop and take a good look around!

(Some more pictures of the museum can be found on this site!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oregano Oil

Well whew! Sorry about the recent lack of posts. Apparently, I decided to take a break coming off of VeganMoFo! At any rate, I'm back and I still like vegan things. Today's vegan thing is my ultimate winter (and all-season) don't-get-sick product: Oregano Oil. It is truly amazing. I always take this stuff during times of year when I'm more prone to sickness, and especially while traveling alongside so many people's germs, and it always does me right. I'm not generally a big advocate of supplements, etc for daily living, but this is one item that's worth the cost! It can be a little pricey, but for me the results are well worth it. I take about 5 drops a day during normal times and maybe 5 2x/day when I feel like I'm fighting off sickness. The oil itself burns, so I always put a little water in my mouth before dropping it in (you can also go a classier route and put your water and oil in a glass and drinking it). My boyfriend is more hardcore and puts the drops right under his tongue. I've also been told that you can get oregano oil capsules, but I can't vouch for their vegan-ness. At any rate, Oregano Oil is where it's at for avoiding sickness!

(The oil pictured here is Oreganol brand, which I love, but I've tried other brands as well with the same great results!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Blog Award!

In an effort not to be a jerk and despite the fact that Vegan MoFo is over, I have to thank Alexis over at Vegan Miss for passing along this kind award - The Liebster Award. It is much appreciated!

The award however comes with RULES! ;)

“Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!

The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!
And so, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the following awesome blogs, not all of which are vegan-focused (and one of which I think has slightly too many followers), but all of which are awesome:

Monday, October 31, 2011

That's a Wrap!

Yeah! We've reached the end of Vegan MoFo and I could not be more grateful to the 31 amazingly awesome people who contributed to make this month of Vegan People I Like possible! It was such an awesome, informative experience and I really enjoyed compiling everyone's entries and having the opportunity to write about so many people who I REALLY LIKE. You are all the best. In the future, I hope to continue to occasionally feature other Vegan People. It's a really nice way to learn about new vegan products and also to hear about the inspiring work that is being done by so many. You all ROCK SO MUCH. Also, hello and thanks to all of the new blog subscribers who joined on as a result of this blog's participation in Vegan MoFo! It's so nice to have you here! I hope you'll join in the conversation about the Vegan Things You Like and that this blog will potentially introduce you to some great new Vegan Things!

Amanda Riester likes The Chicago Diner

Amanda Riester is a super inspiring lady and one of the newest members of the Upton's family, as she's recently started working with us to do in-store demos! Who isn't going to want to stop and chat up this lady when they see her sampling seitan in their local store!? She's a competitive body builder, recently winning first place in the ABA Natural North America 2011 and a former Golden Gloves boxer. So yeah, she's pretty awesome. In addition to that badassery, she's also a pit bull mom (me too!) and pet-loss grief counselor. She's the total package of kindness, compassion, knowledge, experience, and good lookin' to boot. What's not to like?! Amanda rocks!

The Vegan Thing Amanda Likes is the Chicago Diner (YUM!)!

What vegan thing do I like? Where do I even begin? I love so much! I suppose other then seitan, which I eat 4 times a day, my favorite vegan thing is The Chicago Diner. It is by far my favorite restaurant! Other then being on my couch cuddled up with my hubby and dogs while watching reruns of The Golden Girls, there is no place in the world I would rather be! I absolutely LOVE it there!
Photo of the Diner's Soul Bowl (obviously)
taken from!

My favorite meal goes like this:
An appetizer buffalo wings with ranch. My main course is a gyro with sweet potato fries and for dessert the chocolate cheesecake with extra whipped cream followed by a cup of their delicious coffee with soy! Sometimes on Sundays, my mom and I drive all the way out there from Schaumburg just for a cinnamon roll and coffee.

When I was training for my last competition, my diet was so strict I had limited food options, but their soul bowl was the perfect meal for me! Yumm!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Emelda Kavanaugh-Ortiz likes Broad Shoulders Animal Rescue

The Vegan Person I Like today is Emelda Kavanaugh-Ortiz! Emelda is a dedicated friend to the animals and the Founder and Board President of Broad Shoulders Animal Rescue. If you're friends with Emelda on Facebook, sometimes you'll get lucky enough to get an updated on the small army of foster animals at her home, including teeny tiny kittens (I hear you bloggers are big cat people, so look, there's a picture of a cat right there! Pandering!). Emelda is a full-time proponent of social justice who also works with the Chicago Abortion Fund and has worked with Food Not Bombs, Animal Defense League, and others. She is a wonderful person to get connected with and, if you're looking for a new cat to move into your house and feature in your blog, she's got you covered!!

The Vegan Thing Emelda Likes is her rescue, Broad Shoulders Animal Rescue!

(Oh my gosh, THAT FACE!!!)
If I can bang my own drum, my favorite vegan thing is the rescue I’m a part of, Broad Shoulders Animal Rescue. As a rescue, we are 100% foster-home based and are all volunteer. We promote animal adoption, Trap-Neuter-Return of feral cats and other animals (the only scientifically proven and humane method for dealing with alley cats), the No-Kill Movement (a fight to stop shelters from killing the animals in their care) & veganism.

We are the only active rescue I know of that focuses on cats and dogs (and small animals occasionally!) that promotes veganism. “Go vegan” is on our business cards, veganism is discussed in our literature and at our orientations, we promote vegan websites/business/etc. on our social media sites and website, and all adopters get vegan information in their adoption packets. Our board is 100% vegan run, all of the events we organize are vegan, and we promote plant-based diets for any animal that can be healthy on such a diet.

We’re celebrating our 3rd year this November with an
all-you can eat vegan waffle brunch!

As an attendee in previous years, I can confidently say that the Vegan Waffle Brunch hosted by Broad Shoulders is super delicious, fun, and for a great cause! I highly recommend that you carve out some time to attend this year! You can connect with Broad Shoulders on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Andrea Govender likes Justin's Peanut Butter Cups

Today's Vegan Person I Like is my old friend, Andrea Govender! I have known Andrea since sometime in the 90's when we spent years navigating hardcore shows and a seemingly vegan-unfriendly suburban Detroit together. Andrea still lives in Detroit, in a big, beautiful, old home that she is restoring with her husband, Curtis. I love her dedication to and passion for a city that so many have left behind (guilty as charged!). Andrea is a jack of all trades working as a nanny and a rock-climbing instructor in addition to being a student and a mom! So yeah, she's a total badass.

She's pictured here with her son, Arlo, and the other Vegan Thing She Likes, Justin's Peanut Butter Cups.

I love many things that are vegan, but when I tried to think of something to write this post on nothing seemed exciting enough. I eat a pretty boring diet, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, etc. very delicious but not amazing. So last week while grocery shopping I kept an eye out for something new and delicious to try, I found it with Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. I prefer homemade ones, but if I make a batch I’ll eat too many so these are good in a pinch to satisfy my yearning for the chocolate peanut butter combo. I’m also excited about these peanut butter cups because it’s amazing to find something like this at the store! Being vegan has become much easier over the past fifteen years and I’m thrilled to find things like this commercially available. I had the little boy I babysit for, who is not vegan, try them and even he liked them. The picture shows me holding a new vegan thing I like, the peanut butter cups, and my son wearing his favorite vegan thing a “Bacon had a Mom” t-shirt from Herbivore clothing. Thanks Nicole for allowing me the opportunity to share a vegan thing I like!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chris Zibutis likes Vega Sport

The Vegan Person I Like today is huge nerd (and, yes, my friend), Chris Zibutis. I mentioned Chris in yesterday's post about his wife, Monica, with whom he lives (duh) and works as a wedding photographer. In addition to photographing weddings, Chris also does other projects including a lot of artist and live music photography, which you can admire on his blog! He's even photographed me and my dogs and made us look good! Chris also makes some downright decent homemade seitan (no sponges!) AND made homemade vegan candy corns at Halloween last year! This is a man with talent!
Photo from

The Vegan Thing Chris Likes is Vega Sport Performance Protein.

After trying many many different vegan proteins and different supplements I have come to the conclusion that Vega Sport Perfomance Protein is hands down the best.

Unlike most Vegan proteins that focus on just one kind of protein or soy protein isolate, Vega makes their own blend of Yellow Pea, Brown Rice, Alfalfa, Hemp and Saviseed (sacha inchi) proteins. It also contains 5,500mg of BCAAs and 5,000mg of glutamine per serving. So you don't have to worry about finding additional vegan supplements.
And most importantly it tastes awesome!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Monica Zibutis Likes Ras Dashen

Today's Vegan Person I Like is Monica Zibutis! She is a stellar wedding photographer and all around super great lady! She works weddings as a team with her husband, Chris, pictured at left. Seriously, if you are getting married anywhere in the world, hire Monica. In fact, even if you're not planning on getting married, you might want to consider it just to get your photos taken by these two. They regularly travel the country (and further!) to shoot beautiful pictures of beautiful people in beautiful locations. You can visit Monica's website here and her blog here. As you can maybe guess from her photo, Monica is getting ready to save us all by populating the world with a new generation of awesome vegans. I can't wait to meet her little human baby (which flavor she's having remains to be seen), but it would be great if s/he waited to join us until after the legendary Zibutis Thanksvegan celebration so that we can all still attend and chow down. See you in December, Zibaby!

The Vegan Thing Monica Likes is Ras Dashen Ethiopian restaurant in Chicago!

I like Ethiopian food, specifically from Ras Dashen in Chicago. I haven't had many pregnancy cravings but that is one thing I just cant get enough of! I liked it before too but lately we have eaten there every time possible that we have been in Chicago. the foods are so simple and delicious and while we usually feel very full afterwards, we never feel awful or greasy like we do after some meals out. 

In addition to attesting that Monica is awesome, I can also attest to the awesomeness of Ras Dashen where we just recently went out to eat WITH Monica and Chris! Monica even brings home extra injera bread to snack on for the next few days after a visit. She is committed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jess Sconé likes Food for Lovers Vegan Queso

She may be presenting a pie, but Jess is really thinking about queso.
Image credit: Lucas DeShazer
Jess Scone is the adorable, smiling face behind the blog Get Sconed! (@getsconed on Twitter) where she is dedicating her Vegan MoFo month to animals writing (sometimes - or you know, always - via the help of a human typist) about their favorite vegan foods, pastimes, etc and included my sweet Maizy. Super cute! Jess is also one of the organizers for both Vida Vegan Con and Portland's Vegan Iron Chef. She's also the coolest. I totally love her unwavering devotion to her projects (seriously, the attention to detail that the Vida Vegan Con ladies exhibited and in that pantry selection at Vegan Iron Chef... holy smokes!) and how friendly and laid back she is. She laughs really easily (and a lot) which makes you feel nothing but comfortable around her. Jess rules!
Zelda contemplates her own spicy treat.

The Vegan Thing Jess Likes is Food for Lovers Queso!

This vegan queso is unbelievable and shows just how far the understanding of nutritional yeast has come. It's wonderfully creamy with a nice amount of heat and I'm so attached to the cute little jars that I keep my favorite hair clips in a cleaned one in the bathroom. With each bite, I wonder, why doesn't every single vegan-friendly taqueria serve this yet?! Hint hint, Los Gorditos! True story: I came home after the non-stop weekend that was Vida Vegan Con (where I met said lovely queso purveyors!), barely had the energy to open the fridge, let alone grab take out, but I was so damn hungry! A nuked jar of queso + the end of a bag of chips saved my life. Thank you, Food for Lovers! You really make me consider a party with a nacho pump.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marla Rose likes Iced Tea

Marla Rose is another Chicago vegan and one of the main organizers for Chicago VeganMania along with her husband, John. She's also the lady dressed like a cupcake on the website (and at the event)! She writes the awesome blog, Vegan Feminist Agitator in addition to being the Chicago Vegan Restaurant Examiner. She is a super upbeat and nice lady, unless you write something ignorant on the internet and then she will eloquently rip you to shreds. Yep, Marla is pretty darn cool.

The Vegan Thing She Likes is Iced Tea!

Maybe I’m weird that with all the great vegan stuff out there, I choose iced tea. As long as it’s not caffeinated, it’s fresh and there is plenty of ice, I am usually pretty content. (Oh, except for the ultra-fruity teas that taste very artificial or the ones that are supposed to mimic coffee or the ones that are just too wispy and unassertive. Okay, I am a pain.) As someone who almost literally bounces off walls after consuming anything with even the notion of caffeine in it, I am grateful for tall glasses of this stuff. It tastes the very best when my husband pours it for me: he balances the ice somehow like a staircase, the tea is just perfectly refreshing. Or maybe I’m just lazy and I want him to bring me tea. It’s my little secret.

I just happen to have the Trader Joe’s brand Organic Spiced Rooibos Ruby Red Chai here as I am on this particular kick - I am a serial monogamist with the iced tea that strikes my fancy until I move on to another and eventually wander back to teas I have left in the dust (they always forgive me) – and it is a good one. I like rooibos in general because it reminds me of a milder, smoother black tea and this one, flavored with cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and other aromatic spices, is great on its own, with an orange slice or lemon slice or even, if you’re feeling in the mood for a little decadence, dressed up with a glug of maple syrup and a few splashes of coconut milk creamer for a homemade iced tea latte. Mmm…

I spend most of my day writing and a glass of iced tea is my perfect companion. Occasionally the ice shifts and there’s a little clink as everything moves around but other than that, the iced tea is a perfectly silent, supportive companion. It makes me feel a little taken care of whether I’m in the throes of writer’s block or in the midst of a creative flow and is just another example of a lovely thing that happens to be vegan by nature.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Andrea Juracek likes Revolution's Tempeh Ruben

Today's Vegan Person I Like is Andrea Juracek! I love love love Andrea. She is a really cool lady and pit bull mom who started up an awesome Chicago pet rescue with her friends called One Tail at a Time. One Tail does a million cool fundraisers throughout the year (including Doga - yoga for you and your dog which I am honored to teach with my sweet dogs) and helps a seemingly endless amount of dogs find their way out of animal control and into foster, and finally forever homes. Andrea has a super big heart and is so dedicated to social justice for both animals and humans. She is a lady that I definitely recommend getting to know. She also likes great vintage stuff and her husband, Pat (who is a non-Vegan Person I Like)!

The Vegan Thing Andrea Likes is the Tempeh Ruben from Revolution Brewing.

The vegan thing I like is the tempeh reuben (no cheese, extra kraut) from Revolution Brewing in Logan Square. My husband and I went to Revolution when it first opened and this is what I got. The recipes at the time were still being worked out and at first it was not so great - it was just lots of bland tempeh on some bread. Since it was a new place, I brought it up to the manager just to give some feedback. She was happy I did so and comp'd us all our drinks! We decided to keep coming back since it was in our neighborhood and the beer was great. With every visit the food got better and better. The reuben has blossomed into this amazing sandwich that is perfectly seasoned. Revolution's vegan thousand island dressing and sauerkraut add in to make it one of my all-time fav sandwiches.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Carrie Morse likes Rescue Chocolate

The Vegan Person I Like today is Carrie Morse! Carrie is a lady who I met while living in Philadelphia and who I have known for a lot of years now! We bonded over a love of vegan food and pit bulls (which we both share our lives with). She is also a great cook and baker and I highly recommend wrangling an invite to any potluck that she's going to be a part of! Carrie is also known as Supercarrot and you can click that link there to find out how much cool stuff she's involved in.

Also, Carrie's husband, Scott, (oh, they had such a lovely and delicious vegan wedding!) is involved in the 8-Big Brigade Child's Play Fundraiser, so click there to learn more!

The Vegan Thing Carrie Likes is Rescue Chocolate's Peanut Butter Pit Bull!

i was always a huge fan of whatchamacallits in my younger years, and since going vegan, i've relied on luna bar's nutz over chocolate for my PB/crispy fix. it wasn't exactly what i needed, but it was suitable. then along comes rescue chocolate's peanut butter pit-bull. it was exactly what i needed. it has the perfect salt to sweet ratio, and the chocolate doesn't overwhelm the PB. at room temperature, it's sufficiently solid to hold it's shape. (nobody likes a floppy chocolate bar) the peanut butter has some grit to it, which adds to the fun in your mouth. unlike the whatchamacallit, the peanut butter pit bull doesn't have caramel, but that's okay. it was more the crispy peanut butter that i was yearning for, and this candy bar answers it like a champ.

another great thing about rescue chocolate is that they donate 100% of all net profits to animal rescue organizations (the peanut butter pit bull focuses on healing the negative image of pibbles) and living with a pittie myself, i feel it's my duty to eat as many of these candy bars as i can.

I'm so glad to be able to post a great review of these! I've really wanted to try these and support vegan chocolate makers AND pit bull rescue, but I'm allergic to nuts! So, Carrie is doing me a big favor. You can do me a big favor by going out and buying a bar in my honor (or in my dogs' honor... three pit bulls means three chocolate bars for you!).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

James Scott likes Zico Chocolate Coconut Water

Jamey Scott is a Dallas Vegan who is involved in a number of projects to help Texans Go Vegan. He works with Mercy for Animals and also helps to organize the Texas State Veggie Fair, which is in it's second year and taking place TOMORROW at Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake in Dallas. There will be a vegan deep fried food contest, vendors, samples, speakers and more! (I will be there teaching yoga early on so you can get the body prepared for digestion, and then working with Upton's the rest of the day). So come by the Veggie Fair and say hi to Jamey and thank him for his involvement in such a great event!

The Vegan Thing Jamey Likes is Zico Chocolate flavored Coconut Water. 

One of the more recent vegan things that I like (although, it's more of an obsession right now) is Zico Chocolate flavored Coconut Water. I grew up drinking Yoo-Hoo drinks (and the lesser-known "Chocolate Soldier") and loved the chocolately, sweet taste - much more than I liked chocolate milk (it's a wonder I still have all of my teeth!). Fast forward (ahem) a few years, and while I could easily snag a vegan chocolate "milk" product, Yoo-Hoo type drinks were nowhere to be found - until now! When I saw Zico's new Chocolate Coconut Water, I was not entirely excited - given that I'm not a huge fan of coconut water in general. But after my first sip, I knew I had finally found a replacement for those sugary sweet chocolate drinks of my childhood. The best part is, these *aren't* full of sugar, dairy, and high-fructose corn syrup. Just simple ingredients, low-calories and low-sugar, and full of flavor. What's more, its high potassium and electrolyte content make it a great post-workout treat! Try one today!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wes Keely likes Big Franks (and he can not lie)

The Vegan Person I Like today is Wes Keely! Wes is a dude who I've known for well over a decade since we were young, straight edge Michiganders. Now we're old and (still) straight edge and I live in Chicago and he's in Seattle. When he visits Chicago, he likes to go to Chicago Diner and order like 3 plates of things and mash them all into a single-plate concoction that I have appropriately dubbed a "pile." You'll have to contact him about the proper ratios of food to make a correct pile, but boy do they look good! I tend to stick with a single entree, but you know how they say... go big or go home.

The Vegan Thing Wes Likes is Worthington's Loma Linda "Big Franks."

Hello I have decided to share with everyone in the vegan world and beyond that Worthington's Loma Linda "Big Franks" are 100% a vegan food that I "LIKE"! I am sure some have you have seen these before but if you haven't they are a canned vegan "hot dog" that comes 8 to a can. Open the can, drain the "juice/water" heat them up, pile em high with all your favorite things just like you did when you were a kid and then shove them down your gullet! They have a long shelf life, they are a quick meal to have on the go, and are easily one of the better vegan "hot dogs" on the market. Sometimes you can find them at the supermarket but the will for sure be like $8 a can and that's just way too much. You can buy them on amazon by the case and the break down is way cheaper per dog especially if you order and get the free shipping.

If you happen to be in Seattle please visit
Side Car, Seattle's only all vegan store! Not only do they have the Big Franks there for a great price, they also have Mighty O Donuts, Uptons, and are right across the street from Seattle's own Wayward Vegan Café. So come to Seattle and get fat!!

To be honest, I have had a can of these in my pantry that were given to me by a friend for over a year now and we have yet to eat them out of fear of grossness. This review might finally push me over the edge to give them a try! What do you think?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tom Truty likes Portobello's Arrabiata Pizza

Tom Truty is today's Vegan Person I Like. Tom is a Chicago native who is now living in Portland, along with his wife Michele, featured just yesterday on this very blog! Tom is a really laid back, funny, and awesome dude. He is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist, so we share a lot of similarities in our spiritual paths and I love meeting people with dedication to deep down real deal self-discovery! Tom and I also share an allergy to nuts, so we can bond over the vegan foods that we are unfortunately unable to enjoy (though, the trade off of continuing to be alive is totally worth it)! Tom also has a blog which you can visit right here.

The Vegan Thing Tom Likes is the Arrabiata Pizza at Portobello in Portland.

The vegan thing I like is the Arrabiata pizza from Portland’s Portobello Vegan Trattoria. I’ve been there a million times…and I order this every time. The crust is perfect New York brick-oven crispy, but the cheese and fennel sausage soothe any ex-Chicagoan’s soul. It’s got chili-fennel marinara, cherry peppers, housemade vegan seitan sausage, basil, and Daiya. They recently changed the cheese over to a housemade cashew version, but they’ll use Daiya if you ask—which I do because cashews will kill me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Michele Truty likes Cilantro

The Vegan Person I Like today is Michele Truty! I met Michele on one of my seemingly innumerable trips to Portland, where she does it all, involving herself in organizing events like Vegan Iron Chef and Vida Vegan Con! I also learned that she is an Illinois native, which is more than I can say for myself (sorry, I was born in the mitten!). Also, I don't mean to be rude, but in person she looks quite a lot older than this photo she sent (in which, she wanted to emphasize, she is sitting on a vinyl couch) with her old pal, Andy (gone but not forgotten). Oh, and most importantly, she writes Vegtastic Voyage which is a super entertaining and informative vegan blog that you should go check out just as soon as you read the rest of this entry.

Because the Vegan Thing Michele Likes is (one of my favorites) cilantro!!

I’m championing the underdog here and going with cilantro as a vegan thing I like. When people hate cilantro, they really hate cilantro. Not usually one to judge folks on their preferences, I’m going out on a limb this time and saying they’re just wrong. Cilantro is versatile, widely available, and super delicious and nutritious!

You can’t just put it on anything, but almost. I love a spicy cilantro pesto for a pizza base or to dress up some simple pan-fried polenta. Whizzed up with some peanuts, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices it’s a simple yet dazzling bread-dippin’ dish. Or just shove a handful into whatever Thai thingie you’re making, taco you’re throwing together, or that burger you weren’t remotely excited about…until now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sandi Swiss likes Ground Flaxseed

Sandi Swiss is a lovely vegan lady who is also the bearer of sweets! She is the baker behind the Chicago suburbs' best (only?) vegan bakery, which she runs with her partner Brian, Canary Confectionery! They don't have a storefront location, but you can order baked goods, truffles, and other sweet treats from them for your own party or event. Canary Confectionery even made the cupcakes for my most recent birthday celebration! You will be able to find Canary Confectionery treats for sale in the food court at the upcoming Chicago VeganMania. Sandi also runs a group called Compassionate Friends of the West Suburbs which she keeps updated with information, events, and other items of interest.

The Vegan Thing Sandi Likes is Ground Flaxseed!!

I am sure there is someone our there thinking "WHAT? Of all the awesome vegan foods out there you choose flaxseed!? What about pizza? Or Earth Balance? How is flaxseed better than ice cream? Nothing is better than Diaya cheese...This girl is nutty!"

BUT, after thinking about all the vegan things I like, I realized that I wanted to talk about something that is awesome in more than one way, I use alot, and that some people may not know about. So I thougt about my eating habits, and that led me to ground flaxseed! In addition to the health benefits to flaxseed (Omega-3 fatty acids, high in fiber and lignans) it is very versatile. I first started using it in my morning smoothies for the health benefits. A banana/mixed berry/flaxseed/kale smoothie really makes a tasty difference in the morning!

Being a baker, I also use it as an
egg replacer for some of my vegan treats! Some people say it has a nutty flavor, so I usually use it in recipes that go well with nuts or already contain nuts like fall cookies and carrot cake. Now I was really nervous the first time I uesd flaxseed in baking, when you mix it with water or a milk substitute, it gets reallllly gummy and makes for quite the unusual batter. But something magic happens in the oven and fantastic baked goods appear chock full of omega-3's and fiber!

While I was on vacation with my friend Melissa, she made raw "pancakes" using ground flaxseed, and they were so tasty, I make them at home now with bananas and nuts. Flaxseed is also found in crackers and other snacks, however it does need to be ground to get the health benefits. I buy mine whole and in bulk at Whole Foods and grind it in my Vita Mix, because I read that it has the most nutrients right after being ground. The rest I put in my freezer. You can also buy it already ground! If you haven't already tried flaxseed, I hope that you consider tossing it into your next smoothie or cookie recipe.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chris Tate likes Macbeth's Eliot Shoes

Chris Tate is Crystal's (you know, yesterday's Vegan Person I Like) other half and her Co-Founder in vegan queso over at Food for Lovers. He is a really friendly and seems like a down to earth guy, which is always how I hope that fellow vegans will be when I meet them! Chris and Crystal's business growth has been quick and it's impressive that they really took the leap in a product that they (and the PPK forums!) believed in. I hope that they sell a whole heck of a lot of queso! Why not help out and pick yourself up a jar (or two or three)?!

The Vegan Thing Chris Likes is Macbeth's Eliot Vegan Shoes.

Photo from
I ordered shoes from Macbeth's vegan line from Vegan Essentials when I was 17. I was pretty excited to find vegan shoes after searching the entire internet. I was a new vegan then, too. After 9 years of veganism, I can't find better vegan shoes. I replaced them a few times, but I still wear Macbeths at 25. These cruelty free vegan shoes look great, are durable and last long. I've toured with Macbeths and did lots of walking around (before I could drive). I wear a couple of different colors from the Eliot style.

I think we still need more vegan shoe options. It'd be cool to see more vegan shoe companies pop up.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Crystal Tate likes Hail Merry Blonde Macaroons

I met Crystal (photo of her on the right with Ani Phyo at left) and her husband, Chris (more on him tomorrow!), both super sweeties, at Vida Vegan Con. Being in a couple that is "behind" a vegan brand, it's really exciting to meet other couples working to make vegan businesses a reality. Crystal is the CEO and Co-Founder of Food for Lovers, a company that makes some darn tasty vegan queso coming straight out of Texas! If you're in Chicago, we'll be offering Crystal's queso as part of our menu at Chicago VeganMania in a few weeks, so make a point to stop by (especially if you haven't tried this queso before). You will not be disappointed!

The Vegan Thing Crystal Likes is Hail Merry Blonde Macaroons!

Photo from
Our kitchen is pretty much free of sweets. We sometimes make an exception for these snacks, because they're made with maple syrup. These macaroons taste like glazed donut holes, except they're raw. Each macaroon is really soft. Even better, the macaroons are made with coconut oil which melts at room temp. When you eat one, it literally melts in your mouth.

Hail Merry is a vegan female-owned company from Dallas, Texas. They are really involved in their community and are a really great company to check out.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gill Gillono likes Merry Hempsters Vegan Lip Balm

The Vegan Person I Like today is Gill Gillono. Gill is a Chicago Vegan scene staple who you can usually find smiling or offering a hug or up to her armpits in the nearest garbage can fishing out all of the recyclables and compostables because SOMEONE just chucked it all in there together like a neanderthal! My favorite thing about Gill is the innate value that she sees in every single thing, person, or animal she encounters. She is "too good" for no one and as a result, is the most amazing bridge builder in our vegan community. She brings people together and creates solid, diverse community amongst those who have existed alongside each other for years but never had this catalyst to connect. You can find her doing all kinds of things like Greening (a fancy term for joyfully separating trash!) at Chicago VeganMania (and about a dozen other events and places including the park near her home). She also supports our pit bull friends (she lives with two) by devoting her time to Don't Bully My Breed. She also recently organized a bike ride fundraiser for Chicago's nearby Wedrose Acres animal sanctuary in Gridley, IL where she organizes a monthly vegan potluck which is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

The Vegan Thing Gill Likes is Merry Hempsters Vegan Lip Balms.

Photo from
As a nature loving, non makeup wearing Vegan gal I realize the importance of cruelty free moisturizers. I am also a Freegan who does not shop unless absolutely necesarry. One of my biggest pet peeves is dry skin, including my lips. I've yet to find a Vegan lipbalm while dumpstering so I was thrilled when the Merry Hempsters generously offered free samples of their Vegan lip balm to all of our riders on our recent 1st Annual Two day Vegan BikeRide for Wedrose Acres. This stuff Rocks! It comes in a variety of flavors, it isn't oily, it lasts, it's made from Hemp which is another favorite product of mine, it's all natural, over 70% organic, certified Vegan, no bees were harmed & it feels great! The company is super kind, generous& supportive of local causes, as well. I'm kind of addicted & when I run out of my sample tube I will venture out of my comfort zone & actually walk in the front door of a store to get more which is a testimony to how much I dig this product.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kittee Bee Berns likes Leslie Hall

The Vegan Person I Like today is Kittee Bee Berns, another awesome Portland resident that I had the good fortune to meet on my recent trips there. Kittee is a lover of Ethiopian food, which you can find out loads more about in her completely vegan and gluten-free cookzine, Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food. Kittee also co-founded the site, xgfx, which is a vegan and gluten-free recipe resource. She also lives with a really great and very particular dog named Vee who let me ever-so-briefly pet him and, more importantly, admire his stunning shaggy coat. Those two are like peas in a pod, Kittee and Vee. I love it. You can also find Kittee at her blog, Cake Maker to the Stars which, among other things, reviews vegan cookzines in a "Vegan Cook-Zine Museum" feature. Brilliant!

The Vegan Thing Kittee Likes is actually a Vegan Person Kittee Likes, Leslie Hall! Since it's Vegan MoFo "Hump Day" (we're nearly halfway through the month!), Kittee's organized a MoFo Flash Mob to promote the new vegan song from her favorite vegan artist. You may see Leslie Hall all over the MoFo feed today!

The vegan thing that I like is Leslie Hall! She is a great performer (she has amazing dance moves and costumes), and if you ever have the chance to see her live, you should be sure to go. My favorite songs are Craft Talk, Gem Sweater and Tight Pants/Body Rolls. Her lyrics are seriously the best.

Since Leslie knows how hard we're all working for Mofo, she wanted to help us celebrate VeganMoFo Hump Day with her vegan song. This song is unreleased, so you can't find it anywhere else! For you, the link is here! You can also read all of the lyrics at Kittee's blog post!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mikael Nielsen likes Vegan for Life

The Vegan Person I Like today is Mikael Nielsen! Mikael is easily one of Chicago's most prolific animal activists. You can often find him, along with his daughter Riley, taking to the streets to extoll the benefits of a compassionate plant-based diet to anyone who will listen. Some of the groups he works with are Mercy for Animals (where he serves as Chicago's Outreach Coordinator), Vegan Outreach, Justice for Animals, and Chicago VeganMania. He and Riley also care for a large group of animal friends in their own home (I've never met his canine companion, but I hear endlessly from people about how wonderful he is)! If you see Mikael around town, take a moment to say hello and thank him for all of his dedicated, compassionate work!

The Vegan Think Mikael Likes is the book Vegan for Life by Jack Norris and Ginny Messina.

The vegan thing I like is the new book Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet. Vegan Outreach President Jack Norris has been a hero of mine for quite some time, so I was super thrilled to learn about this book he co-authored with fellow dietitian Ginny Messina. Not to mention that I have been on a real health kick lately, so the timing couldn't have been better. Written for both long time vegans as well as brand spanking new ones, this book makes no over the top claims or promises about the benefits of a plant-based diet. It is just well researched, useful information that all vegans need to know to maintain good health and is written in an easy to understand way, filled with tables and great references. Not to mention a good resource to answer any questions skeptics might have about all the wonderful benefits of a vegan lifestyle. I checked mine out from the library, but will be buying it shortly as it's one of those books that you will make notes in and go back to time and time again. Read this and you truly will be Vegan for Life!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Leigh-Chantelle Koch likes Pure Gaisha Mineral Liquid Eyeliner

Leigh-Chantelle is another vegan lady who does it all! We met in Portland at the Vida Vegan Conference where she was a presenter and the hostess of the Saturday night Galarama (which I did not get to attend because I was preparing to serve sandwiches to a late-night crowd of hungry Portlanders and visiting bloggers)! At any rate, I found Leigh-Chantelle to be pretty darn charming. When she's not in Portland hanging out with bloggers, she lives in Brisbane, Australia and runs the online vegan community Viva la Vegan! which is filled with articles, recipes, videos, a blog, and more!

The Vegan Thing She Likes is Pure Gaisha Mineral Liquid Eyeliner.

I am obsessed with makeup and I love the Mineral Liquid Eyeliner from Adelaide-based Pure Gaisha. I have quite a few of their wonderful colours that Shane McCann makes. Pure Gaisha is mineral makeup, cruelty free and vegan. I have a few photos of myself wearing the eyeliners.

At a friends’ wedding in Oct 2010 I made some pink accessories to compliment my Fushia eyeliner (above left).
At one of the Princesses and Pirates fundraisers (2009) for my Green Earth Festival I wore the Aqua eyeliner when I was a princess (above center).
At the Green Earth Festival March 2010 that I organised and promoted, I wore the Green eyeliner (above right).

Mineral Liquid Eyeliner- AU$28.00 each

Bronze - Shimmery bronze 
Cloud - Steel silvery grey
Cocoa - Rich chocolate
Flower - Hot fuchsia pink
Forest - Dark emerald
Gothic - Jet black
Iris - Bright irridescent deep violet
Plum - Rich deep violet
Snow - Pure brilliant white with just a touch of shimmer
Summer - Fresh bright stunning aqua. A perfect new season look
Willow - A beautiful lavender shade

I also have Makeup Videos on my YouTube channelMermaid Makeup Video5 Minute Vegan MakeupAll about Vegan Makeup. I also have an article on my Viva la Vegan! website on makeup. I recently spoke at the Vida Vegan Con - where I met Nicole - on the Vegan Fashion panel and the video for this will be on my YouTube channel soon.

If you're lucky, maybe you'll run into Leigh-Chantelle on one of her US tours eating at your local vegan hotspot. Until then, keep yourself entertained and informed on her great website and YouTube channel!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Marci DiVerde likes Upton's Naturals Seitan

Today the Vegan Person I Like is aspiring vegan, Marci DiVerde! Marci is a high school teacher, Spanish language expert, and a most dedicated student of yoga! I love to see Marci in yoga classes every week and she is always cheerful and willing to try any pose once (at least!). She is an inspiration to fellow students and to me! In May she attended the weekend Yoga and Vegan Cooking retreat that I hosted with Chef Kim Gracen and has been aspiring to a vegan diet ever since. Any encouragement or tips that you can leave for Marci are totally welcome and I will have to remember to refer to her to the grand Vegan MoFo RSS feed. So much vegan inspiration in one place!

The Vegan Thing Marci Likes is Upton's Naturals Italian-style Seitan (eep!). She even included a quick-fix recipe that she likes!

I need to preface this with the disclaimer that I don’t think that I can be considered a real vegan because I just started in August(!) and since then I have more than once met my match with a baked good or really tasty cheese. So I guess I should be called a wannabe vegan, vegan in training, veganish, leaning toward vegan tendencies? I’ll let you decide. 

Becoming vegetarian was very easy for me since I’ve never been a huge meat eater, but eliminating dairy and eggs completely has been challenging. I have had to re-learn to cook since I turned to vegan ways and making dinner that also appeals to my non-veg husband is difficult. He couldn’t be more supportive but the bottom line is he doesn’t always like what I’ve been making and as a result has been eating a lot of frozen pizza. Not. Good. 

Nicole didn’t pay me to say this but one of the products that has been very helpful is Upton’s Naturals Italian flavored seitan. It allows me to make a riff on one of favorite pre-veg meals. The bonus is that it takes longer to boil the water than to make dinner. Here’s what you need:

1 lb. pasta (I like whole wheat farfalle, bowties, but I used rotini this time since that’s what I had)
½ bag of frozen peas
1 package Upton’s Italian flavored seitan
1 package sliced crimini or baby portobello mushrooms
Extra virgin olive oil
Vegan parmesan ‘cheese’
reserved pasta water (optional)

Put the water on to boil and heat a large non-stick pan with a little oil (I usually do two swirls in the pan)
Put the mushrooms in the heated oil.
Break up the seitan to look like crumbled sausage and add to the pan.
The mushrooms and seitan are done when most of the liquid has cooked off the mushrooms.
Cook the pasta in according to package instructions and put the frozen peas in about half-way through.
When the pasta and peas are done, drain, and put back in the pot.
Add the seitan and mushrooms to the pot and toss together.
If it seems a little a little on the dry side, add some olive oil or reserved pasta water.
Add a generous amount of the parmesan and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Disclaimer #3: I know I’m sitting on a leather couch. Wasn’t a vegan when I bought it. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

John McDevitt likes Vegan With A Vengeance

John McDevitt is a dude who I met very recently at the Vida Vegan Con in Portland, Oregon. He is super friendly, funny, and seems like an all-around nice guy. About a month prior, I had met his girlfriend, Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the PPK as she was hosting the Vegan Iron Chef competition also in Portland, Oregon. She took a picture with me and my partner to show John, who was at home, that she had met us as she said he was a fan of our products. Very flattering! So, it was really great to finally meet the man himself! As it turns out, John is the author of the blog The Laziest Vegans in the World (love it!) and also keeps things moving over at Vegan Omaha. John is using his time here to rave about his girlfriend's book and I think it's totally right and also really, really cute. Go John.

The Vegan Thing John Likes is Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Moskowitz.

VWAV was one of the first cookbooks I ever cooked out of. I was already Vegan when the book came out but I was drawn to the book because of the cute girl on the cover and the awesome title. When I got the book in the mail, I got a kick out of "Isa" (I pronounced her name wrong, just like everyone else) and her funny stories. I loved that she had a cat named Fizzle and that he had cooking tips throughout the book. AND I loved how she made Veganism cool and accessible. My favorite recipes out of the book are Fettuccine Alfreda, Chickpea Broccoli Casserole and the Tofu Dill Salad Sammiches.

Awwwwww. Another Vegan Thing I Like is Vegans in Love!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Denver Sheffield likes Vegan Beef Stew

Today's Vegan Person I Like is Denver Sheffield. Denver is the husband of yesterday's Vegan Person, my friend Flo! Denver is born and raised in Georgia, where he still lives south of Atlanta. According to his wife, he spent many years as a vegan "weirdo" in the South, but apparently veganism is even making it's way over to their neck of the woods and life is becoming a lot more comfortable! Denver likes to race sport bikes, cheer for (of course) the Denver Broncos, and spoil the heck out of his bulldog, Chai.

The Vegan Thing that Denver Likes is his favorite comfort food, Vegan Beef Stew.

Photo from
My favorite vegan food is a meal; Vegan Beef Stew. I grew up on stews, beans and corn bread and meals like chicken and dumplings. When my wife was able to re-create beef stew last winter as a vegan meal it became a staple favorite for me. We found Gardein Beefless TipsWe used the recipe from Gardein as well, but made our own modifications.

When Denver isn't at home eating beef stew, you might find him at Green Sprout eating tasty vegan Chinese food in Atlanta!