Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lucy's Gluten-Free Chocolate Merry Mint Cookies

I've had the opportunity to try Lucy's cookies out at a few different events this year. They make some delicious cookies that are also gluten free. This year at Expo East they had their holiday flavors, including this Chocolate Merry Mint. When I saw them on an endcap at Whole Foods recently, I had to get a box. This flavor is really particularly good! Their entire line is vegan, gluten free, AND nut free, so there's that, as well!

Pro Tip: My partner has declared that Lucy's are the best cookies for making a treat he calls "the wet cookie." Get a tiny bowl, put a cookie in it, cover with rice milk (or non-dairy drink of your choice), wait (preferably place the whole thing in the fridge for a while), and then slurp! He has gone as far as making these for out-of-town guests to prove their sweet superiority. They are pretty good!

Friday, October 26, 2012

FoMu

We arrived in Boston this afternoon for a weekend of exhibiting at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival and as soon as we got off the plane, we were ready to eat. We headed to Allston, parked the car, and were walking into Peace o' Pie when we noticed FoMu, a non-dairy ice cream shop! We peeked at their menu in the front window and I was initially a little discouraged that their hard-packed ice cream was all coconut-based (I'm allergic). However, my partner was quick to point out that they had soy soft serve!

We went over to Peace o' Pie, had a salad and a calzone, and popped back into FoMu. This was apparently a popular routine, as we saw a number of other people starting with pizza and ending up with vegan ice cream. Love it!

All of the allergens at FoMu are really clearly labeled, so that makes ordering easy. The soy flavors of the day at FoMu were chocolate and peanut butter, so OF COURSE I got swirl. I topped mine off with crumbled chocolate cookie and it was DELICIOUS! My partner got some pistachio hard-packed on a cone which he also seemed to enjoy. Super highly recommended the next time you're in Allston, MA!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Viva Herbals


I really love Viva Herbals Pizzeria in New York City. When I stay in NY, I'm alway somewhere in the vicinity of it and they always have vegan slices affordably priced and ready to go! My favorite is the pictured slice covered in all things green. There is no tomato sauce on this slice, only a nut-free pesto. So green and delicious!

In addition to an awaiting plethora of vegan slices that they reheat in the oven for you before serving, there are also vegan garlic knots, soups, drinks, and a cooler full of sweets from Vegan Treats.

I will admit that many times in the past, I have been leaving dinner with friends and walking back to our hotel with my partner and we've stopped and picked up a slice from Viva Herbals to eat in the hotel room. It's kind of a tradition. When I was recently in NY, I wasn't eating quite that indulgently, but I did stop by and get this green slice and a kombucha for dinner one night.

At any rate, I really recommend Viva Herbals! Their ingredients are fresh-tasting and they have a variety of vegan pies ready to go. Since it's by the slice you can try a few different varieties if you're hungry (or dining with a friend).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Herbivore Clothing Company

How do I love the Herbivore Clothing Company? Let me count the ways:

1. They make awesome, animal-loving designs.
2. They source high-quality, sweatshop free shirts to print on.
3. They carry other brands that are animal-friendly, high-quality, and sweatshop-free.
4. They have a really cute store in Portland.
5. I love wearing their stuff in the airport when I'm in transit because then lots and lots of people from all over see these messages.
6. I love love love that little piggie on my Bacon Had A Mom shirt. He so did.
7. They are generous and do awesome things to raise money for animal rights groups.
8. They are all around good dudes.

Herbivore had a break-in this week and are having a sale to help raise money to replace the glass in their front door, which was smashed. The code "brokenglass" at checkout will get you 10% off in their online store until tomorrow. I picked up a new laptop-sized purse because my current one has an actual hole worn through it (hoping it will become a Vegan Thing I Like) and would have gotten more if I had the cash!

Umpqua Oats

Being at the airport makes me SO hungry. I don't know why this is, but I think it's just that flying is less nauseating when you have had something to eat. So, I was really excited when I found these Umpqua Oats available for sale in a bookstore cafe at Midway Airport in Chicago. They are super simple, no sweetener, and delicious! The staff at the cafe added hot water and I added a cut up banana and this was a great travel meal. It also passed the "not stinky" test, which I think that ALL travel food should adhere to lest you gross out your fellow travelers with your food smells.

While I probably wouldn't buy these for home due to all of the excess packaging waste that creates, I would definitely buy them again while I was on the go. I believe I have seen them in other airports, as well, so keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbia Gorge Bottled Juice


Oh heck yes. Columbia Gorge is FINALLY distributed in the Midwest and I can buy it at Whole Foods to my heart's content. Columbia Gorge makes delicious juices which are made from real juice and devoid of my all-time least favorite juice additive: "Natural" Flavors (because they consist of nothing necessarily actually natural or even defined as anything specific).

I love Columbia Gorge's "real" juice flavors like the pictured Carrot Beet Celery which they present as-is without the need for adding something severely sweet. The Meyer Ginger Lemonade with Cayenne is super awesome for fighting a sore throat and is just the right balance of spicy and sweet. I also like the (un-pictured) Vita Sea mix with contains fruit puree and sea veggies. I have yet to try a flavor from Columbia Gorge that I don't like.

At any rate, I really recommend this stuff and you should definitely choose it if you see it in the store. AND if you start to get that scratchy "getting sick" feeling in your throat, stop and pick up at Meyer Ginger Lemonade immediately!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blackbird Pizzeria

Okay, so I have to really really apologize that the only photos that I have from Blackbird Pizzeria are of half-eaten food, but holy cow, this place is good. Back in June, we were traveling the East Coast for work and my birthday coincided with our visit to Philadelphia. I also lived in Philadelphia years ago and still have some friends out there, so I decided to have a birthday party! At Blackbird! With pizza and delicious cake!

Since we are friends with Mark, Blackbird's owner and chef extraordinaire, he kindly welcomed us with open arms. Our little party had a few pizzas (the Yukon with salty, thin-sliced potato is pictured along with what I believe is a custom pizza), sandwiches (they make a great Seitan Cheesesteak!), some experimental "wings" (also pictured), and an amazing "Oreo" (they were 365 brand) cake that Mark made just for the occasion! Seriously, how lucky am I??

A few of my friends who came out were not vegan, but had no complaints nor any idea that vegan food could be so tasty, so Blackbird was a big hit with everyone. Blackbird is located in the former Gianna's location off South Street and is doing vegan food way better (and for real this time)! If you are in Philadelphia, you MUST go! Also, I've gotta recommend going with a group so that you can try a little bit of everything. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rice Dream Mint Cookie Pies

Today's Thing I Like are Rice Dream Mint Cookie Pies! Oh man, I have been eating these things for probably nearly a decade and they are still a great go-to sweet snack. They are always something bought and eaten on the spot, never something that I buy and take home for later. In fact, back in the olden days when I lived further from a Whole Foods than was convenient, I would do my shopping there once a month and eat one of these babies in the car on the way home. These come in other flavors, but the mint is the clear winner. Paired with the two oatmeal cookies and all covered in chocolate, you can't go wrong. I only eat a couple of these a year, but foods like this are so much better in moderation!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Garden-Fresh Tomatoes

Okay, so today's Vegan Thing I Like is not a product or a restaurant or a person or a location, but it is something that I Like a lot: Tomatoes fresh from my own garden!

Generally speaking, my method of gardening is the following: Put stuff in the ground, water it, and hope for the best! This year, I planted everything into the garden straight from seeds actually kind of late in the season, but woah! The tomatoes really took off this year into giant bushes. (I also had cucumbers in abundance and even a few ears of corn.)

Honestly, one of my favorite indulgences these days is to stand in the garden eating delicious cherry tomatoes right off the plant. Of course, never far away is my sweet Maizy (you can see her lurking photo) who probably likes garden tomatoes even more than I do! I will definitely miss this when the winter hits!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tutti Frutti Soy Frozen Yogurt

I recently found myself in Baltimore for Natural Products Expo East with some of the crew from work, as we were there exhibiting. One night after the convention was over, we decided to treat ourselves to Tutti Frutti, a vegan frozen yogurt store! Tutti Frutti has a few different vegan (soy) frozen yogurt flavors to choose from and TONS of toppings. The people working were also really nice in looking up the ingredients to things like their chocolate sauce and chocolate chips (mostly high fructose corn syrup on that first one, so you're technically in the clear, but I don't recommend laying it on too thick!). They do have a wide variety of toppings including fruit, candies, cookies (Oreos were an option), nuts, and sauces. I tried to lean towards the fruit side with my sundae. You pay by the pound, which is something I'd never experienced with a dessert food, everyone got to make their own personalized concoction (you can even swirl flavors of yogurt), and you even get to pick from multiple spoon colors. I wouldn't say that the yogurt itself was mind-blowing in any way, though it was good, but the experience of going to a place like this is something that is not often available for vegans, so I thought it was definitely worth a visit!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lou Malnati's Chicago-style Pizza

So, I live in Chicago. I'm not from Chicago originally, but now that I'm here, there's this whole "Chicago-style Deep Dish" thing and, don't you know it, there's currently no restaurant that I know of in the city making a vegan Chicago-style deep dish with a cheese alternative. Well, don't worry about that! You can get deep dish that is completely amazing without the cheese and Lou Malnati's will make it for you. We recently had out of town guests visiting (from Portland!) and knew that they had to try this local cuisine. There are a few things to look out for when ordering from Lou's, like that their usual pizza spinach is soaked in butter, but they also have a fresh version for the salads that they can substitute. You have to be pretty clear, but their dough is vegan and this pizza is worth the effort. We had ours with spinach, olives, and hot giardinera (another Chicago food that I had never eaten before moving here), all topped with tomatoes (Chicago-style). This baby is loaded, oily enough that I couldn't dream of missing the cheese, and supported by a perfectly crunchy crust. I've seen attempts made at eating this by hand, but these are fork slices, for sure. Next time you're in Chicago, this is a food that I recommend not missing out on.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My New Sigg Bottle

Today's Vegan Thing I Like is my new Sigg bottle!! This is actually the second Sigg bottle I've owned, but earlier this year I left a Vega Shake in my former Sigg and then it rolled under the car seat and let's just say I haven't fully finished cleaning it out yet.

At any rate, I was in Central New York earlier this year and I had to visit Wegmans. While I was there, I figured I might as well get myself a new water bottle for travel. I hesitate to admit that it probably took me between 10-15 minutes of looking through all of the design options on the Sigg shelves at Wegmans before I could choose this winner, but I did. Flowers? Technical designs? Doodles? Ultimately, this werewolf won out because it is pretty awesome. I like these bottles because they are the perfect size and don't have a "sport" top which I find pretty useless with a bottle that you can't squeeze and also hard to clean (see above for a hint at my issues with cleaning). There are a lot of debates over which kinds of reusable bottles are the healthiest to drink from, but I feel pretty good about the Sigg and I like that they must be invested in supporting design by offering a huge variety of styles to choose from. So, Sigg gets my vote.

It's MoFo Time!

It's October and that means Vegan MoFo time! Last year, I had a theme, but this year I'm going to use MoFo as an inspiration to TRY REALLY HARD to post once a day. I don't have any posts pre-written as of yet, so this may be a challenge, but I'm eager to share all of the many Vegan Things I've liked this past year, but haven't yet had the opportunity to post about! So, here's to a great October! Happy Blogging to all of the other MoFo participants!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

GreeNoodle Moroheiya Rice Pasta

Today we wrapped up three days of exhibiting at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. The show was, as usual, filled with awesome vegan products, but one of the most unexpectedly awesome things that I tried was these Moroheiya Rice Noodles from GreeNoodle! I hadn't heard of Moroheiya before, but it was apparently used in ancient Egyptian cooking, is also referred to as "Egyptian Spinach," and has multiple health benefits. I happen to love rice noodles and these were especially delicious cooked right out of the package. After eating one small sample, I could have eaten a whole bowl (my partner said the same thing). These are not available in stores until December, but I was informed that the company's other products can be found at Japanese markets like Mitsuwa, which has a location where I live in Chicago! I left the show with a sample of the Wheat Moroheiya Noodles which are quick-cooking similar to ramen and I am really looking forward to trying them, as well! I will definitely be at Mitsuwa in December looking for the rice version either way. Highly recommended!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Golden Krust at Newark Airport

My first trip to Newark Airport a few months ago was pretty miserable. We had just finished a week-and-a-half trip and were eager to get home. We get to the airport, return our rental, take the train with the too-tiny-to-navigate pods that people can't get their luggage out of quickly, get to our terminal, go through the security line, and discover that there is pretty much NO real food in the gate area (which is also really sequestered - this airport has a strange design). So, my partner goes back out of security and finds Golden Krust, a "Caribbean Bakery & Grill" located in the outer ring of the airport. They have fresh juice, but of course you can't bring juice through security (it being a liquid and all), so I go out and meet him, enjoy our juice, and we return back to our gate in plenty of time to leave.

On my most recent trip to Newark Airport, I was slightly wiser from my past experience. I stopped by Golden Krust before hitting up the (LONG) security line and picked up something security-line-friendly, a delicious fruit salad! Seriously, in terms of most airport food, and especially most airport fruit, this thing was like the Holy Grail. Super fresh, delicious, and not just a pile of dry melon with a few grapes (or a waxy apple, or two bananas shrink-wrapped against a foam tray). I mean, look at it!! Mango! Berries! Delicious! I ate half at the gate and half again a few hours later on the plane. Extra points for this being non-stinky plane food (it should be a crime to allow people to bring McDonald's on the plane).

I have not yet tried anything else available at Golden Krust. It is, as the name implies, all Caribbean food, which I am not much familiar with and I'm pretty sure would be decidedly un-vegan, but the fact that they are making fresh fruit and juices available to travelers still makes them a thing that I definitely like. Also, check out this Jamaican "Peanut Punch" that I found there (didn't try it, though). "Ingredients: Water, Peanut Paste, Soy Protein, Sugar, Flavouring." Interesting! Probably not something I would buy, but maybe you will??

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beyond Sushi


I arrived home yesterday from spending the last 11 days in New York, most of which was engaged attending the first-ever 800 hour training with my teacher, Yogi Sri Dharma Mittra. It was an indescribably amazing experience that I will forever be impacted by. At the end of the final day, I found myself on the streets in Manhattan looking for a simple, enjoyable dinner to treat myself to! The Happy Cow app informed me of the existence of Beyond Sushi, an all-vegan sushi restaurant right on my route (though all of the main food ingredients are vegan, it appeared that maybe two or three of their sauces are not vegan from the menu, I'm not totally sure).

I was greeted as soon as I walked in. The space is small, as are most NYC restaurants, with 3 4-person tables, a small food prep area behind the counter, and a take-out case. I made my choices: a Sweet Tree roll (6-grain rice with avocado, sweet potato, and sprouts, topped with a White Miso sauce - I subbed the white miso for the standard Toasted Cayenne, as I don't like much spice - and the standard ginger and wasabi on the plate) and a Nutty Buddy rice wrap (with buckwheat noodles, crushed peanuts, cilantro, jalapeƱo peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, carrots, baked tofu and romaine and a Sweet Soy Mirin sauce - this was a little spicy, but not much). I also took one of the pre-made blueberry lemonades from the ready-case as the man working told me they were made with no sugar, just lemon and blueberries and made fresh that day. The wraps were made quickly as I finished paying and were ready to consume pretty much right away. I have to say, this food was DELICIOUS. Super fresh and not too heavy, though plenty filling (the wrap and roll ended up being slightly too much food for me). Every ingredient was perfectly chosen. I loved the White Miso sauce dabbed onto the top of each of the pieces of the roll. The buckwheat noodles in the wrap were the perfect hearty addition. The lemonade was not too sweet or too sour. And the service was really really excellent (as much as counter service can be). An overall great meal.

When looking Beyond Sushi up online, I also see from their website that the restaurant was created by a finalist from the tv show Hell's Kitchen, so if you're into that kind of stuff, an added bonus. It always makes me glad that high-profile people are diving into the world of great-tasting vegan food. This one is a winner. Definitely visit if you are in the area.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bhakti Chai

As I never ever buy bottled iced teas or the like, I would have never known that Bhakti Chai existed (or that it was vegan), until my friend, Flo, picked one up at a Whole Foods in New Orleans. Bhakti Chai is deeeelicious! It's made with soy milk and just the right amount of ginger-y spice. They also make a less sweet version, which I love, and a decaf version, which I really really love. Bhakti Chai also is also socially-conscious company, donating 10% of their profits to "nonprofits that invest in women, girls, and the environment" - all awesome things to invest in! I love that the company mission is also based on actual Bhakti (not just co-opting the word for faux authenticity), or devotion through action, as practiced for thousands of years in India. The chai comes in a glass bottle, not plastic, which is something I've become more conscious of lately. This photo of delicious Decaf Bhakti Chai was taken in a rental car outside of Santa Monica's Co-Opportunity Natural Foods.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mercy for Animals


Today's Vegan Thing I Like is one of the most inspiring, incredible forces in the world of veganism today: Mercy for Animals! Their work, vision, and reach is simply staggering to me. Mercy for Animals advocates for farmed animals on a variety of platforms, promoting veganism to individuals and businesses, as well as conducting undercover investigations that launch legal battles to improve the lives of farmed animals. While, ultimately, I believe the goal is that of liberation for all farmed animals, there are steps to be taken on the road to that destination in order for society as a whole to get on board and MFA is doing that work.

Last weekend, I had the great honor to attend a Mercy for Animals fundraiser in Hollywood where an award was presented to Emily Deschanel in recognition of her work for farmed animals. Emily was gracious and lovely and shared her platform with some of the animals' biggest heroes: MFA's founder, lead investigator, and general counsel. These people are part of something so big. MFAs founder, Nathan Runkle, founded MFA when he was 15 years old and, at age 28 he is now heading an organization that is fighting billion-dollar industries -- and, as he pointed out in his short speech, frequently winning. As he said, quoting from Mahatma Gandhi, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Right now, the animal agriculture industry is fighting Mercy for Animals hard, going as far as to influence lawmakers to introduce Ag-Gag laws - legislation that would make it illegal for Mercy for Animals to continue their work of exposing the worst abuses of farmed animals, some of the most vulnerable creatures on the planet, as well as uncovering major health and safety violations that affect humans and the environment. MFA continues to fight this kind of legislation, as well as to release new investigations which point out how vital is that they not be enacted. The American people deserve to know what is going on in their name (you buy it, you're funding it).

I can't say enough good things about this organization and I hope that you will support them and their important, amazing work in any way that you are able. Watch the video below for some information on what MFA does and keep an eye out for the work that they continue to do. These videos always ensure that I never leave an MFA fundraiser without crying. Some from the undercover footage shown, but more from how inspired and touched I am that this is all happening. In the future, will the struggle to liberate farmed animals be seen in the same light as the many human-rights movements of our past? I believe so, and that those in support of this work are on the right side of history.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cafe Gratitude LA

I am currently in Southern California in order to attend Mercy for Animals' Justice for All party tonight in Hollywood. I love MFA and am so glad that we were able to help sponsor this party and I'm still floored that we're attending. Most of our travel involves visiting health food stores and VegFests, which I LOVE, but which does not involve a fancy dress. This is truly something new.

At any rate, we are staying at a guest house over someone's garage in the Hollywood Hills that I found on airbnb and about to start getting ready for party time. This morning, we woke up, lazed around (for the first time in a long time), and then headed over to Cafe Gratitude LA for some lunch. I had heard about this place extensively, but never eaten there. All of the menu items are named "I am..." followed by an attribute like grateful, thriving, pleasant, etc. When they deliver your food, they say "you are..." and the menu item you ordered. Kind of touchy-feely, but also pretty nice!

So, for my first visit to Cafe Gratitude, I was Fortified (Sauteed seasonal vegetables and kale, brown rice & quinoa, topped with sesame-ginger sauce and avocado) and Worthy (Kale, beet, celery, apple and ginger juice). The juice was good and reasonably priced and the bowl was amazing. So much food that I'm not sure how I finished it. It felt very fortifying, delicious, and energizing. Highly recommended!

This restaurant strongly suggests that people with nut allergies not eat there as they use nuts in so many menu items, but I just avoided ordering anything with nuts in it. I don't have an allergy that prohibits me from eating where nuts are present. It did prevent me from ordering any dessert however, but my partner was happily Awakening (Key lime torte). He was also Awesome (Herb-cornmeal crusted eggplant parmesan on toasted Panini with marinara sauce, cashew ricotta, sliced tomatoes, arugula and basil. Served with a side salad), but what's new? I've known that for years.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Blue Print Juice


Last week was an event for Whole Foods in the North Atlantic that featured a sea of Whole Foods vendors set up for two days outside of Boston. We were stationed at a long section of tables with other vendors with who we share a distributor. One of those vendors was Blue Print from New York. They make amazing fresh-pressed, unpasturized juices. I tried all of their flavors pictured, all of which were really delicious. Their distribution is limited at this point (they do deliver anywhere in the country if you're into that), but they have an pretty extensive where to buy list in New York. If you're ever in that area and interested in investing a great quality juice, this is one worth trying!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bobo's Oat Bars

We're currently in Massachusetts and spent the last two days at the Whole Foods North Atlantic Region All Access show. This is a show exclusively for Whole Foods Market employees to come, check out products that are newer to the store, and eat eat eat! As a result, we ended up leaving with quite a few snacks of our own. One was this Original flavor Bobo's Oat Bar! Needing a quick, healthy breakfast this morning before we get on the road, I grabbed this and it was delicious! The first three ingredients are oats, brown rice syrup and Earth Balance. They are vegan, wheat free, and really tasty! Not too sweet, which is always a plus. This version is also nut and coconut free (my personal allergies). What a great snack!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Red Lentil

I am currently in Massachusetts, which is very exciting as I haven't been here in about a decade. It is also exciting because this is a work trip, which means that we've acquired business in Massachusetts (and the rest of New England). Love it!

Last night, after a long day of work, we headed to Red Lentil  in Watertown and had a wonderful dinner. As you may know, I LOVE any meal that can be described as a "macrobiotic plate" (or "bowl") and when I saw one on the menu at Red Lentil, I had to order it. The macro plate consisted of pinto beans with sea vegetables, brown rice, seasonal veggies, plum sauce, and your choice of seitan, tofu, or tempeh. I chose tempeh (Dan actually ordered the same thing) and loved this delicious plate of flavorful, healthy veggies and protein. The squashes, sweet potatoes, and carrots were grilled, which is something I hadn't expected, but really enjoyed. This was a great meal! I finished off with a banana, raspberry, mango smoothie for just enough sweetness (I also asked for some added cinnamon). If you are ever in Watertown, head over to Red Lentil for some super tasty, fresh food!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Living in a Modern Way

While in Southern California for Expo West back in March, we had almost a full day off to enjoy. It was Dan and I, as usual, but we were also with two of our employees for the Expo. The whole group of us met upon arrival at the airport and then headed off. We had lunch at Seed Bistro, went for a walk along the beach, and then headed to LACMA for the sole purpose of viewing the exhibit California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way. The exhibit had a collection of modern furniture, automobiles, photos, clothing, and other design that was marvelous to behold. The centerpiece of the design was the full Eames House living room, which has been transported in it's entirety to the museum, all  1,864 items. Having never visited the Eames House (it is currently undergoing restoration, which is why the living room pieces could be temporarily removed), it was really wonderful to see the items amongst which Charles and Ray made their home. If you are a fan of modern design, or just like beautiful, clean design, I recommend that you visit this exhibit! It is going until the beginning of June.

(Photo: A Saul Bass-designed restaurant doggie bag that I particularly liked.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chickoo Fruit

I'm back from India! Truly, it was the most magical place that I have ever been and I am already planning to return in 2014. If you want, take a peek at my photos here!

While in India, I tried a few new foods, but my favorite was the Chickoo fruit, also known as the Sapotta (in South/Central America, I believe). The chickoo is like a magical, super sweet combination of a date and a pile of brown sugar. I found them in the US in very small quantities fresh at my local Indian market and also frozen or canned (in syrup). I haven't tried them frozen yet, but have a hot tip that they're awesome blended with non-dairy milk. I didn't buy the canned because they were in syrup and that sounded like something I wouldn't eat. The fresh were delicious, but seem like they'll be challenging to find on a regular basis (there were like 10 total at the store), so we'll see how much of a staple they become. I think the chickoo fruit will be a great once-in-a-while treat! If you see them, pick one up, break or cut it open, scoop out the inside, and don't eat the seed (someone in India told us that the fruit, when broken open as above, looks like Krishna's eyes... I like it).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simply Suzanne Granola

Yesterday, we were at Whole Foods stocking up on snacks for our upcoming trip to India on Tuesday and I saw this on an end cap: Simply Suzanne's Lotsa Chocolate Granola. It is vegan, nut-free, and really tasty! It's also made in my home state of Michigan. The ingredient list is simple and includes things like cinnamon and black pepper in addition to the chocolate, brown sugar, and maple syrup for a great balance of sweet and savory. They have a few other flavors listed on their website that I will be interested to try, but this chocolate is pretty darn good!

(For some reason, the Lotsa Chocolate flavor is not listed as vegan on their website, though it appears to be totally vegan based on the ingredient list.)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Caveman Foods Water Kefir

We are currently at ExpoWest, which is turning out to be the most magical place in the world both for discovering awesome vegan products and also for business expansion possibilities (which is the real reason why I'm here... no really!). We've had a lot of awesome people visit our booth including today's visit from George of Caveman Foods. George is a vegan dude from Philadelphia who now makes and distributes a kombucha-like fermented water kefir drink in five flavors. He brought over one of each and I decided to start with the original flavor (rose!). I haven't tried the others yet, but with flavors like tarragon, vanilla, and black pepper, they sound pretty promising. One of my favorite things about their brand is that all of their products are flavored naturally with things like real vanilla beans and not with "natural flavors." These taste very strongly fermented (stronger than most kombuchas) and are very refreshing and have a number of health benefits. Check out their website (which is very informative)!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Isabella's V-Chip Cookies

I am currently in Southern California for Natural Products ExpoWest and stopped by Santa Monica's Co-Opportunity Natural Foods store today for a snack. I was in the mood for something sweet and didn't see anything nut-free in the cooler case with all of the raw vegan desserts where my co-travelers were looking, so I asked an employee if they could recommend any local vegan baked goods. She had a few tasty-looking suggestions, but none looked as exciting as these chocolate chip cookies from Isabella's Cookie Company. I shared these with my travel companions and they were winners all around. These tasty vegan chocolate chip cookies are sweetened without refined sugar. They reminded us of the Soft Batch cookies of years past (remember when those were vegan?!).  A must-try if you find them in your area!! They also have an option to order online if you are so inclined. They are definitely worth the effort!

(Very exciting - I now have a laptop and can make these updates on the road instead of storing up pictures until I get back home!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Olive & Sinclair Double Chocolate Nibs Bar

The other night in Chicago was BEAUTIFUL. Dan and I were at the MCA where we got some hotly-contested seats for the presentations from some of the top five architectural team finalists in the running to redesign Navy Pier. After the Q&A, we decided to go for a walk (it was too nice to go straight home) and ended up over at Fox & Obel where were enjoyed an olive ciabatta, some mediocre hummus, and this delicious Olive & Sinclair Double Chocolate Nibs bar.

Neither of us had ever tried this particular brand of chocolate, but between the packaging, the nibs, and "brown sugar" in the ingredients list, I was sold! Dan was less sure, but the more he ate, the surer he became. This 67% dark bar had a great sweetness (maybe the brown sugar?) that I'm not used to in dark bars that also contain cocoa nibs. Overall, I give it two thumbs up. Check out their (well-designed!) website for more information (and free shipping on orders over $50). Just in time for Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 - A Travel Recap

I've wanted to compile this list for a while and here it is! A list of everywhere (outside of the Chicago metro area) that we (Dan and I) visited (and ate) in 2011! Most of these were for seitan-related work, but a few also included yoga-teaching work.

January
Minneapolis/St Paul (driving from Chicago, so we stopped at a number of co-ops along the way there and back including a stop in Madison, WI)

February
Peoria, IL

March
Tokyo
Detroit, MI (Veg MI Fest)

April
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA (drove up from LA... amazing!)

May
Oregon, IL (Yoga and Vegan Cooking Retreat)

June
Portland, OR
Madison, WI (Mad City Veg Fest)

July
Madison, WI (Willy Street Co-op Member Party)
Lake Geneva, WI (Yoga Journal Conference to practice with my teacher, Dharma)
Portland, OR (Vegan Iron Chef)

August
Portland, OR (Vida Vegan Con)
Seattle, WA

September
Portland, OR (VegFest)

October
Dallas, TX (TX State Veggie Fair)
Austin, TX

2012 is already promising to be equally exciting. In the first 6 months we are slated to visit Los Angeles, India, Dallas, Detroit, New Orleans, and Portland! I hope to find many more Vegan Things I Like on these upcoming adventures!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kabul House

Recently, I had the pleasure of my first Afghani meal at Kabul House in Skokie, IL (do not judge them solely on the many gross meat photos on their main page). Kabul House is a restaurant that was open in Skokie for a number of years, closed down, and has reopened sort of recently. They have a small menu that includes a delicious Vegetarian Platter. The platter comes with soup (tomato lentil or noodle vegetable, both of which can be served vegan with no yogurt on top) and contains four different dishes which are served with rice. The rice is long-grain and includes shredded carrots and raisins. The dishes are a sort-of curry, though they are differently seasoned than Indian-style cooking, and also a bit lighter overall. They included cauliflower, pumpkin, eggplant, and spinach. I loved all of these dishes, and when combined with the rice, they were even better. My favorite was the cauliflower with the eggplant coming in a close second. The spinach and the pumpkin, which was much sweeter than expected, were also good. If you ever have occasion to head to Skokie, I recommend stopping into Kabul House and ordering up some of this vegan good stuff. Just remember to order everything with no yogurt and none of the chutney-type sauce they bring to the table (it has a small amount of yogurt as well - but the bread is okay) and you'll be good to go!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Sweet Vegan

The night before New Year's Eve we had an awesome vegan dessert party at our house. While I am not the cook in our house, I do really enjoy baking and the party gave me an excuse to whip out my still unused copy of My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky that I acquired at Vida Vegan Con where Hannah was a presenter.

I made two different things from this book: A crumb-topped brownie and a lemon/lime bundt. I had actually planned to make more, but two days before the party, my cat bit me on the hand leading to a serious infection and two days visiting the emergency room for treatment and IV antibiotics. So, two things it was since I was baking one-handed. Fortunately, our friends brought lots of their own contributions and the dessert table overflowed! The brownies filled with chocolate chips and topped with a cocoa crumble were super delicious. The brownie texture was right on and not too cakey or light. I really recommend these! The bundt was also a winner and for at least a few guests, the unsuspecting star of the table! The recipe called for lemon and lime soy yogurt to be included, but TJ's only had strawberry, so the bundt was flavored with strawberry soy yogurt and lemon/lime juice and zest. It was DELICIOUS and came out of the pan perfectly. A great addition.

So far, my experience with the recipes in My Sweet Vegan have been great. I love the full color photos that help to decide what you want to try and the recipes laid out on one spread, so you don't have to fuss around with the book while trying to make anything. Also, I recommend inviting all of your friends over for a fun vegan dessert party! We had a blast!