Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sizzle pie and making a smoothie that doesn't suck: VVC report #2

Aver's is damned lucky that Sizzle Pie is located in PDX and a safe distance from Btown. If it were any different, I would jump my regular pizza ship and the home of the cream n' crimson would be in trouble. SP provided the pizza at the 2011 Vida Vegan Conference Galarama to benefit Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Pictured above with my ancient $12 cyclops camera is a slice of what I think is supposed to be a taco or burrito pie. Holy-guacamole-collapse-and-fold-me that was really good pizza. We're talkin' fresh tomatoes, black olives, some cheddar daiya, taco seasoned soy meat, sour cream, onions, and my buddy Mr. Hal Appenyo. Nice little fiesta for my tongue. That is a regular sized paper plate, BTW. Notice how the slice hangs over the edges daring you to eat it. This gave me the fuel to furiously dance to the musical stylings of Prince, Bobby Brown, and Peaches for the rest of the night.

As everyone so often yelps, Portland is awesome for vegans, and just about every menu in town has something for us wacky herbivores. Don't worry omnis--there's plenty for you to eat, but why would you want to eat something called the "Pig Destroyer" when you can have something called "Apocalypse Dudes?" I can hear Patton Oswald yellin' "Where my pockies at?" as he is turned into a vegan with one bite.

The Giant Purple People Feeder: 2 frozen bananas, 1 3/4 c. POM juice, and 1/2 cups of finely chopped beets. Blend the shit out of it. That's it. No secrets. No joke. Makes 2 large smoothies.

Once I returned from my weekend feast-for-all, I needed to get back to eating food that wasn't fried. I accomplished this by making a smoothie. I typically cringe when I see smoothie recipes because all they are are fruit/veggies/juice/soy milk in varying increments to cleanse out the ol' basement, if you know what I mean. How complicated is it to get the combination just right? Believe it or not, it is incredibly easy to screw up a smoothie. I've been there, done that, and cried over wasting food. Please refer to my tips on making the perfect smoothie so you don't end up with a cup of compost.

  • No ice. NO ICE! Not ever. Do you hear me? Use frozen fruit chunks or frozen juice cubes instead. This is where our buddy the overripe banana comes in. Peel it. Chop it. Freeze it. Your smoothies will never be the same. If you see a recipe with ice in it, replace it with ice cubes made with apple sauce or something.
  • I see you foregoing the ice and picking up the water. Nooooooo! Use juice, non dairy milk, non-dairy yogurt, or a combo of all.
  • When using greens in smoothies, make sure the amount doesn't exceed a cup and that it is finely chopped. Not hunks, but finely chopped into little bits. If you don't, it will mess up your blender blade and you'll end up with hunks of greens in your smoothie. If that happens, you just have salad soup on your hands, which is kind of gross.
  • On that note--stop, unplug, scrape down the sides, lid back on, and puree some more. Why unplug? Do you even have to ask me that question?
  • Think outside of the box and throw some veggies in the smoothie. Beets will bring an awesome saturated pink to a smoothie and carrot juice will amp up the orange. Tomatoes are technically a fruit and have great vitamins as well. You don't need much of either, half a cup of either veggie-(finely chopped) will do.
  • My friend Bonnie describes adding ground flax seeds as "roto rooter for the body."

What is your favorite smoothie combination?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anatomy of a conference breakfast: VVC report #1

On the hit television show, "Go Diego, Go!" Rosie Perez reminds us that she is gainfully employed as Click The Camera. She joyfully sings, "Say click! Take a pic!" So I did.

Oh the joys of parenting. Let's talk about VVC. What would you like me to say? It sucked? It was great? Meh?

It was one of the best times of my life. Seriously. I'll be making several posts about my time spent in PDX, and even include a video diary where I miss recording part of my head and make random accidental crotch shots. C'mon, I know you're interested. Super thanks to Jess, Janessa, and Michelle for working their asses off-(yes, their butts were gone) to make it all happen. Ladies, be proud of this baby. Be proud.

The selection of food to eat was mind blowing, and I had to keep reminding myself that it was all vegan. The plate shown above-(make sure you click on it so you can see my notes) is from breakfast on Saturday a.m. I sat with a gaggle of vegans, which included Mo of Mo Betta Vegan, a bunch of bloggers I had never met, and Bianca of Vegan Crunk. "I have my mug of gravy." she proudly stated. Yes. A mug of gravy.

Let's talk about the photo. I know it sucks. I had the tablet for the weekend and I'm not really good at taking photos on it, and I wasn't quick enough to get into the photography workshop. Aesthetics aside, let's discuss the contents:

Tofu scramble: it's there, under all that gravy. It was good. The second day it had too much cumin. I'll have to say I'm still really partial to my own recipe.

Potatoes: perfectly seasoned.

White bean gravy: lovey-love-loved it. I should have followed Crunky's lead and brought a mug.

Raw Chia Pudding: I'm a vegan, so I try to keep an open mind about these things. Taste was sweet, but I couldn't get over that texture, blech. And it's gray. I try to not eat gray food.

Strawberries: I had to convince myself I wasn't over doing it by including fruit on my plate. Do any of you ever do that?

Fruit Crisp: the picture doesn't do it any justice. This made my taste buds put on choir robes and break out into songs of praise.

Bagel: It's a bagel. Good for soaking up excess gravy. I couldn't embarrass myself by licking the plate.

Stumptown coffee: very good. In fact, I didn't have a single bad cup of coffee anywhere in PDX. Even the dorm room had Seattle's Best!

VVC attendees: what was your favorite part of breakfast?

Non vegan blog readers: what is your favorite breakfast item? Pssst, it can be veganized.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Goin' to the vegan moon, BRB.

Well, I'm getting ready to shower, finish packing, and go to bed. When I wake up at the late hour of 3:30am, I'll be high tailin' it to Naptown to hop a plane to PDX. Whooooeeee! The photo above is from '08. Holiday World has the best hats, and I loves to be silly.
Would you just look at this sandwich? It has a hat too, a guacamole-ish hat. Yet another drool inducing creation of Tami and Celine's. It's called Out for the Count Monte Cristo, and yes Mike Tyson agrees it is " absowOOtley delithous." I've been teasing them both about these flavor combos--what are they smokin' that makes them come up with this stuff? Click on that photo and check out the gorgeous french toasted bagel on that bidnezz.

Next time I'm bloggin' it will be from Vida Vegan Con. Hey Portland, are you ready for me?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Craving chicken? No problem.

Move over KFC, meet the SFC! That's for Saves Friendly Chickens. Technically, I believe this is called the Crispy Chick-un Sandwich. Another fabulous recipe from Tami and Celine's upcoming vegan sandwich cookbook. Forget the Colonel's 11 secret spices--I'm pretty sure world peace could and would happen if everyone ate something in that breading each day. Seriously, you could dredge and fry a turd in that mixture and I'd eat it.

I don't think that would be very vegan, so I'll pass. But you get the idea, right?

The VVC countdown continues! Gonna go recycling and make my specialty batch of granola for Nicole tonight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The cat is outta the bag. No, the cat is on the bread. D'oh--the cat is having a sandwich. There. I said it.

Okay, I can finally talk about one of the secret projects I've been working on without getting beat up! I know what you're thinking: is being pummeled vegan? Depends on who you ask.

A couple of months ago, I was asked by Tamasin Noyes-(Author of American Vegan Kitchen) herself to test for a vegan sammich cookbook that she and Celine Steen-(co-author of 500 Vegan Recipes and an all around vegan best kept secret) are working on right now. Ska-wee! I'm so flattered to be a tester. It is hard work, but oh-so-rewarding. I'm no longer afraid of working with yeast, and I'm been exposed to flavor combinations that are so awesome, they've melted my brain. Pictured above is the Mushroom Mania with Crispy Leeks. If you are a mycophile, this is the sammie for you.

I have more pictures, but I thought I'd pace myself.

I still can't believe in a few short days I'll be in Portland!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Big Bake Easy!

Cinnamon Rolls!
There once was a girl named Amy who lived here in Btown. I think she's in Seattle now. She had these things called "Bake Easies" where you could pay $5 and enjoy an all-you-can eat buffet of vegan goodies. I never got to attend one because of the kids, but was always intrigued by that kind of party. So, I had an idea: why not have my own bake easy, charge a modest admission price, and use the $$ to help with some extra Vida Vegan Con expenses? It could work, right?

Chocolate whoopie pies from!

The event had just the right amount of people. I felt like I was able to give everyone right amount of attention and goodies. A couple of people gave more than what I asked for, which was really awesome, and one friend who couldn't attend made a nice donation. Thanks, Adam! I ended up raising $81 which will help me pay for a sitter while I'm gone ($45 and that's for cheap care from friends) for bus fare while at the conference, and to pay for any other incidental expenses. My super awesome spouse has helped me with a plane ticket and a cheap hotel room on Sunday night. I'm overjoyed with all of the support I've received to attend. Someone even sent me a pair of vegan shoes to wear! I feel like Cinderella.

I got to practice more gluten free baking for people, and although the whoopie pies from the photo above were crumbly, they were well received. I need to do something about my xantham gum rebellion. I know I really need to use it for GF success, but can't bring myself to spend $13 on a bag of it. Hmmm.

If you don't like no bakes, I'm not sure I want to know you.

These were the pb no bakes from Vegan on the Cheap, and Celine Steen's chickpea blondies from the Have Cake Will Travel blog are hanging out in the background. These were the two most popular sweets at the party.

Even a vampire would want to try Lafayette's Red Velvet Brownie Bites

If you're a dedicated reader of my blog, you'll know I'm a huge fan of True Blood. This season is turning a little schmaltzy for my liking, but that didn't stop me from making Lafayette's Red Velvet Brownie Bites. I topped them with the cream cheese icing recipe from VCTOTW. I tried making my own cream cheese icing without tofutti, but it was a semi-fail. Didn't work for the brownie bites, but worked well with the cinnamon rolls I made. Recipe for LRVBB to follow this entry.

This last gem was a vision I had while eating something else. Do you get those? I have food visions all the time. Kind of funny how that works. I'll be in the middle of a sandwich and think, ZOMG, you know what would be great with this? This is the lower fat banana bread from Veganomicon, with a shot of homemade strawberry/pineapple jam on the inside and topped with Riki's chocolate icing from the whoopie pie recipe, which is my official go to chocolate icing recipe forever. Who knew sweet potatoes would make such a great frosting? Word up, tater lovers. I call the finished project banana split muffins.

Lafayette's Red Velvet Brownie Bites

1/2 c EB OR 5 T of canola oil-(NOTE-I don't always have EB around the house. If you go this route, note they'll be a bit crunchier on the outside, but very soft n' chewy on the inside.)

1 1/2 c. beet sugar
1 t vanilla
2T flax seed meal+ 6T warm water, set aside
1 1/4 AP flour
1/4 t. salt
3T cocoa powder. The better the powder, the better the bite.
1 1/2 T red food coloring
1/2 c. melted chocolate chips

First things first, get some nice music going and put those chips on a double boiler. Take the vanilla, sugar, flax seed eggs, oil and mix. Mix in the food coloring. It will look very creepy.

Take your dry ingredients: flour, salt, and cocoa and sift. There's nothing worse than biting into something with cocoa lumps in it. Sift it! I'm watching you.

Preheat the oven for three fiddy, and get a mini cupcake pan out lined with papers. Mix the wet with the dry. Now add that melted chocolate. It will be super thick. Spray a measured tablespoon with canola oil and put measured T scoops in each mini muffin liner. Don't over fill! Set the timer for 10 minutes and check on them with a tooth pick. Set the timer for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean. Dollop the top with your favorite cream cheese icing. NOTE-don't freak out if they're a little hard on the outside, they're nice chewy, n' fudgy on the inside.

I have not tried this, but I double dog dare you to make the brownie bites Brujo Brownie Bites in honor of Lafayette's boyfriend, Jesus. To do this add 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t cayenne pepper, and a pinch of clove powder. I know I'm doing this next time. I'm also going to play around and see if I can go old school and make red velvet without red food coloring.

Jewy's Top Ten List for today: favorite vegan personal care products

1. Nature's Gate Henna Shampoo
2. Light Mountain Henna Hair Color. Tip: a little goes a long way. Use half now and keep the other half dry until later, that way it is $3+ per color session.
3. Kiss My Face olive oil lotion
4. California Baby Calendula and Lavender calming baby lotion
5. Tish n' Snookie's Manic Panic Makeup, that gothy collection
6. Giovanni pump mousse
7. Toms of Maine Apricot Deodorant
8. Kiss My Face peach face lotion-(discontinued! Boo.)
9. Avalon Organics citrus face wash
10. Kiss My Face Lemon Lime facial cleanser-(Also discontinued. Sheesh.)

I'm looking for a perfume that doesn't make me smell like an old lady at church. Any suggestions? What are your favorite vegan personal care products?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

And the winner is....

I haven't been this excited since I found out about vegan Parmesan. Wait, that's a lie. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty happy, I just needed something to describe that goofy picture of me.

The winner of my granola giveaway is Nicole of A Dash of Compassion. She had two ideas, one sounded baffling-(basil and lemon?), and the other had winner written all over it! I'm going to start working on a custom batch of chocolate coffee granola. Once I'm happy with it, I'll give it a name just like a baby, wrap it up carefully and give it to her loving arms at VVC. Yay!

Thanks everyone for playing. Btw--I was totally stumped by pasta and sweet potatoes in granola. I don't even know how to begin to do that. Bars? Trucksr4gurls, I'll have to do some homework. Thanks for the muse. If I ever do make anything with it, know you'll get some cred and a little care package.

My Top Ten Lists for today are:

Vegan Cookbooks That Just Don't Get Enough Love: *I know these get read, but I feel no one really talks about these books enough. I lovey-love-love Isa. I think she's the cat's whiskers. I also think other vegan authors need some propers.
1. American Vegan Kitchen
2. Vegan Lunch Box
3. Vegan On The Cheap
4. Viva Vegan
5. Vegan A Go-Go
6. Papa Tofu
7. Gary Null's Power Foods
8. 500 Vegan Recipes
9. Nona's Italian Kitchen
10 Ultimate Uncheeze Cookbook

My Favorite Blogs- I recognize some of these aren't on my roll. Shame on me. I'm lazy.
  1. More Than Tofu n' Sprouts-Goddess of veganizing comfort food. She could kick Paula Deen's ass!
  2. Veg Spinz-The most gorgeous food photography ever. I said EVER!
  3. Vegan Crunk-We're kindred spirits. I'm the Yankee version of her.
  4. The Cosmopolitan Hour-I don't agree with everything they say, and they make me think about things.
  5. Suicide Food-It's a non-cooking vegan blog. Or is it?
  6. Vegan Appetite-I'm too busy to participate in her Food Network Fridays, but I always lurk to see what has happened.
  7. Post Punk Kitchen-Isa's writing style is funny and informative.
  8. Have Cake Will Travel-I've come to love Celine. In fact, my husband and I sing "Celine!" to the tune of "Sailing" by Christopher Cross.
  9. Dumbledore's Vegan Army-Louzilla is amazing. Harry Potter forever.
  10. Seitan Beats Your Meat-Kelly is awesome and adorable. I'm old enough to be her mother.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top Ten List Tangent Tango

My favorite vegan convenience food

Yeah-yeah, you've read Veg News. You've looked at PETAs list, and if you're really cool you hang out on the PPK so much you know just the right thing to say so people will like you. Well, as the hit band Moving Pictures cheerfully sang, "What about Me?" Doesn't my opinion matter?
You betcha it does. That's why the internet was created, right? Mo Rocca said that all you need these days to be a food critic is to have internet access and a stomach. Check and check!

Why aren't you laughing?

So, I've made up a few top 10 lists of my favorite vegan things. Sure, you could Google "Top 50 Vegan Blogs" and get a nice list. I'm a fan of many of those blogs, and a few are even on my roll. But you'll never see my name, and depending on who you ask that's just sad.

Since Vida Vegan Con is just a week away, I'm upping the blogging thing. There are gonna be over 200 people there, and it would be pretty lame to be at a blogging conference and have to say, "Um, yeah--I haven't blogged for a few weeks." No. No. No.

Without further adieu, here they are. I plan on hanging out with this tangent all week covering a wide variety of vegan what-have-yous, so stay tuned for possible helpful information and a few chuckles.

Jewbacca's Top Ten Vegan Thingymabob Lists Part 1

Top 10 Convenience Foods:
  1. Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake
  2. Amy's Rice Macaroni and Cheez
  3. Goodbelly probiotic juice drinks
  4. Helen's Kitchen Thai Curry
  5. Coconut Bliss Island Vanilla
  6. So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig-Zag
  7. Bloomingfood's peanut butter chocolate cookie bars
  8. Bloomingfood's vegan breakfast sandwich
  9. Gardenburger BBQ Ribs
  10. 7 Layer burrito from Taco Bell, NO Cheese, NO sour cream, EXTRA guacamole

Ten Foods You Should Never Buy Because They Are Ultimately Cheaper To Make Yourself-(Whew!):
  1. Seitan-Quit making excuses and make your own. There are a bazillion recipes on teh interwebs to make it taste like different kinds of meat. It's super easy, and a $5 pkg of vital wheat gluten will give you 2-3 batches of seitan which cost anywhere from $3-5 retail for ready made stuff.
  2. Mayo- That's right. Stop buying Veganaise. I know it's awesome, but it is $5 a pop! Robin Robertson's make your own mayo from Vegan On The Cheap is not only more awesome, but much nicer to your wallet. You do like money, don't you?
  3. Hummus- Duh. Quit bringing that dry instant mix to vegan potlucks. The only use for it is to amend the soil in my garden.
  4. Cookies- It's easy to get some Newman O's, or go to your favorite co-op or whatever to get a box of satisfaction. Wouldn't you be more satisfied to get some friends together and make your own damn cookies? Plus my fellow vegan foodies like Kelly Peloza, Isa Chandra, and Terry Hope Romero needs to get paid--ya heard? If you're too broke to buy, just check out the internet. Awesome recipes.
  5. Salad Dressings- Don't do it! I like eating condiments made from things I can pronounce. The Green Goddess dressing from Appetite for Reduction is so much better than Annie's anyway.
  6. Veggie Burgers- Helping of hexane anyone? Most commercial veggie burgers have 'em. It's in such a small amount you'd have to eat a ton to hurt you, but ew. No thanks. Go to the Magical Loaf Studio and make patties out of the burgers, or look to the trusty internet to find a recipe. That's how you found me, right?
  7. Jam-Fruit, sugar, and lemon juice boiled and simmered. Stick it in the fridge-that's it. Great use for near rotting fruit.
  8. Pesto- Use my recipe. Put it in ice cube trays and have a little Summer in the Winter. Oh yeah.
  9. Bread- After that incident with Flatout, I'm just convinced I can get it at the local bakery or make it myself. I'm over my fear of yeast.
  10. Granola- I can't believe I was ever scared of making this. Sure, if you have the heat too high you'll mess it up, but I learned to love the setting of 275.

Speaking of granola, you have until midnight tonight EST to enter my granola giveaway. Are you afraid of challenging me with a wacky combination? This isn't a random winner. I'm looking for an intriguing combination for the win. So get off your ass and enter. If a famous vegan chef was making it, I'd have a hundred entries by now.

Tomorrow morning, I'll announce the winner and have another Top Ten List!

Seitan wins the #1 spot of a vegan food you should never have to buy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Tale of the Monster Tomato: a 2011 Harvest Story

This has been a difficult gardening season. For starters, the weather here in the Midwest has been blazing hot--I think 21 or 22 days of July had 90+degree days with a heat index of 105-110. I wish I were joking. I can't imagine what my Southern pals have been doing. This kind of weather essentially shuts a plant down and they won't grow or absorb nutrients properly, so you get things like blossom end rot if you're lucky enough to get many fruits at all!

I had a feeling we would sell our house this Summer so I grew just about everything in containers. It's really the way to go and you're less likely to have to fight a soil borne disease. Shown in the photo above is one of my prized fruits of the season. I tried striped Romas this year and would you LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT FRIGGIN' TOMATO? To the left is a normal Roma. I didn't really do a great job at taking the photo because the striped one was opulently gargantuan. I think the reason it was so freakishly huge is because I had to chuck a bunch of fruits that had blossom end rot, so once I gave the plant extra nutrients to help the deficiency, it put a ton of energy in giving me that big one. I thought it would be mostly water too, but no--the flesh was bright red and flavor was so intense I thought I'd cry. I did not take a picture of that. I sacrificed both for a lasagna I made earlier this week. What's your favorite kind of tomato?
This photo was from my first harvest this season. Unimpressive, but it was my own food. I cannot emphasize enough how badass it is to grow your own food. It is a huge way to stick it to The Man: you're reducing the carbon footprint by growing local, you're learning a new skill and less dependent on the existing screwed up food system, and gardening is fun. The Man doesn't want you to have fun, The Man is much happier when you're miserable and eating from the $ menu. True Dat.

I digress. This is a food blog and I need to bring on the recipes, right? I've been working on a super secret project for the past few months, so my food porn photos are a bit sparse. No worries, this blog has been around long enough where I can start posting some old recipes for new readers who don't want to read my entire blog history.

Readers, I give you Jewbacca's Ass of Fire Salsa. I've edited it to make it a bit better.

  • 1-2 lbs of heirloom tomatoes--I really prefer Gold Medal, Big Boy, or Brandywine.
  • 2T of red onion, finely chopped
  • 1T Ms. Dash chipotle flavor
  • 2t lime juice
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro, less if you want. dried can be used here, but you're just cheating yourself. Seriously, it's 99cents a bunch on the off season.
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano chiles de-seeded and de-membraned *in a pinch i've used chopped pickled jalapenos, about 1/4 c. worth
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • 1/4 t cinnamon-(YES cinnamon)
  • 1 t of dried garlic, or one clove of fresh-finely chopped
  • 1/2 t salt or 1 t of bragg's liquid aminos
  • a few splashes of Frank's or your favorite hot sauce
Wash and chop those 'maters, draining off excess tomato juice. Psst, save the juice for another recipe! Add all other ingredients together and store in the fridge for 3 days. If you have any left after that time, shame on you. No--seriously throw it in the freezer and use it later for Spanish rice or an enchilada casserole.

Don't forget, you have until midnight TOMORROW to enter my granola giveaway contest! I pity the fool who doesn't enter. I have three entries so far.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Oh, duck feathers.

Wowza, look at that haul! What could I possibly do with a boat load of poblanos, black krim tomatoes, and limes?Never mind the basil. That herb clearly was pulling a photobomb. Recently harvested Yukon Gold potatoes was late for the photo shoot. I would love to say that this group was from my garden, but it was from the food bank. My tomatoes were not ripe at the time. The potatoes were all mine though.
This is what you can do with it: spicy poblano potato casserole from Viva Vegan! This is the second time I've made it. This time I passed on the pine nut crema and went with some soy yogurt, cilantro, and a lime wedge. Totally gnawsome. Excellent use of stale tortillas and a fantastic reprieve from the scorching balls weather.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. It is important to have those kinds of conversations because I believe it helps people with preconceived notions about veganism-- that people stand at various places on the line and that we're not a bunch of militant killjoys. We have fun, we love food, yay-yay-yay! We don't sit in a corner listening to Morrissey eating plain blocks of tofu. The company rep sent me an e-mail later that night confirming that the l-cysteine used as a preservative was derived from duck feathers. WTF? I'm imagining chefs with mustaches like Salvador Dali, sitting around sampling flat bread exclaiming in exaggerated French accents, "You know what zees could use? Hmmmm, duck fehzairs." Really? The entire incident has inspired me to make my own bread consisting of ingredients I can pronounce.

Vida Vegan Con is right around the corner--ack! My chest is heaving with all kinds of energy and my taste buds are getting restless. They want fried pie. They beg for a voodoo doughnut. They want to shake hands with Bryanna Clark Grogan and admire Isa Chandra's tattoos. They want to gossip on the Cosmopolitan Hour and find out how to turn PITA Vegan into an occasional podcast. I'm having a bake easy this weekend with hopes to raise a little extra money to help with PDX expenses. If you're interested in donating a buck or two, that would be awesome! Just drop me a message.

Don't forget about my granola giveaway! You have until midnight on 8/19 EST. All you have to do is mention it on a social networking site and let me know what your favorite granola combination is. That's it! What do you have to lose? I'll pick the winner based on the most intriguing combination, make a batch in that person's name, and send it to them!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

D'oh! Or should I say, "Dough!"

click on the image above to look at the label or visit the website
Okay, I'm having a Homer Simpson moment. In my previous post, I mention the use of Flatout Breads. The specific kind I used was the light Italian. This bread was not purchased with my money, but was obtained at my food bank. No, I didn't see the official capital V that told me it was okay, but I looked at the ingredients to see if there were any of the common offenders. I thought I was in the clear.

Thanks to Miss Muffcake-(and I am not being terse about this, but truly appreciative), I was told that the product I used was not vegan. D'oh! Or should I have said, "Dough!". I called the company at 5 minutes to close and asked about the source of the preservatives, specifically enzymes and l-cysteine. He was the last guy in the office, so he was alone and couldn't provide an answer on the spot, but told me that I would get an e-mail soon.


My stomach sank. I'm pretty sure the questionable ingredients are animal derived. How could I have been so stupid? It was an honest mistake and I publicly apologize. I thought I had read the package carefully. At one time I had a little book of animal derived ingredients, but I gave it away to someone in a care package because I felt that I had enough of the offenders ingrained in my head to know what was okay and what wasn't. Which brings me to some questions I would like to ask you readers:

  1. Have you ever made a mistake like this? Talk to me about it.
  2. Has someone pointed this sort of thing out to you? How did it make you feel?
  3. Have you ever pointed out something like this to another vegan? What was your motive for doing it?
  4. Some vegans will not eat a product that has been made on shared equipment. I respect that vegan's decision, but it isn't mine. I live in a house with an omnivore and two vegetarians. ALL of my kitchen equipment is shared with things that have touched an animal product. I won't eat things that read "contains traces of ________", but shared doesn't bother me. I'm sure the vegan po-po is putting out the APB on me for writing that, but as far as I'm concerned, it is that kind of attitude that drives potential vegetarians and vegans away from the movement. So the question is, do you eat products that have been produced on shared equipment?
  5. Do you buy vegan products from companies that make non-vegan products?
  6. Does a food or beauty product have to have the "V" label for you to use it?
I'm grateful for moments like these because veganism is a process, a journey, and to me--not anything that any human can perfectly adhere to. Whuuuut? Go ahead, tell me something you love and I can put on my police uniform and tell you how it isn't vegan at all.

So why do I do this? I hate preachy blogs, and this stuff needs to be talked about so we can have an honest conversation and hopefully dissolve the stereotype that all vegans are picky assholes. We're not. I'm someone who loves to eat, wants to have fun, and cares about making this insanely crazy world a little more of an awesome place.

Okay, done with the discourse. Don't forget you have until midnight EST August 19th to enter my granola giveaway contest!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Last minute pizza and granola give away!

What is going on with this pizza? Oh, there's some pesto, sauteed garlic scapes, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and just a couple smooches of daiya. Once again, it would have been just fine without any fake cheese. I made the pizza on a piece of flatout bread for the extra fiber. I'm a fiber ho fo' sho.

This photo was taken earlier in the Summer at the old house. It was one of those throw together dinners I made prior to the move. Then I lost the USB cable to my camera. Remember how much fun that was?

So, I've been thinking about my ultimate goal as a blogger. I want to increase traffic at TPITA Vegan so I can make a little extra money for my family, and make a sizable monthly contribution to my local food bank because a) it is awesome and b) they take really good care of my family. I've been exposed to fruits and veggies I could never really afford, I learn new things about veggies and fruits I've never heard of, and I always score tofu and really good bread, yay!
Sometimes I get a little embarrassed that I have to shop there because it is so humbling to have to ask for help with something as simple as nutritious food. Ultimately, I am super grateful because I know there are people and animals world wide that have minimal to no food to eat, and no clean/running water to drink. It is a dirty shame that eating well has become the stuff of privilege.

How do I do that? Well, I know blogs that give away prizes tend to be popular. While I have a small cult following, I'm not the cat's meow of vegan food blogs. I get that. I want to change that, though. So I'm having ANOTHER GREAT GIVEAWAY!

Remember my homemade granola discovery? Would you like to have some of your very own? Simple: please tweet/FB/Google+ about this entry, and report in the comments section your favorite granola combination for a chance to win muh-muh-my granola. On August 20th, I'll pick the most intriguing combination , make it JUST FOR YOU, and post the official recipe in the PITAV archives forever!

ZOMG! 17 days and counting to Vida Vegan Con. I can't wait! I am looking for sponsorship to help absorb traveling expenses while in PDX. If you are interested in making a PayPal donation, any amount is appreciated, will go to good use, and earn you some gnarly karma.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

new perspectives and seeing red

every day i look at the calendar like a little kid who just can't wait for christmas. glowing like a set of blinking x-mas lights are the following words in red on friday, august 26th: vida vegan con . this is just a few weeks away, and i can't believe i'm going. i really thank my loving spouse, friends, and online community for encouraging me to not give up and to keep entering contests so i could go. mr. j. told me if i won a ticket, he would make sure i had plane fare. he worked REALLY hard-(overtime!) and made it happen for me and i'm so grateful for that. it is going to be amazing to see my fellow bloggers in the flesh, learn a thing or two from some role models, and eat super amazing food! i'm planning on bringing a video camera to catch some of the sights and do some video diary stuff while i'm there!

i also look at my tomato plants a few times a week. i want to see red. but i see lots of green fruits that are not red and i pout. i also see blossom end rot (photo above) which is the result of Ca/Mg deficiencies, erratic watering, and THE HEAT, which also makes me frowny. since i'm pretty good about feeding and watering my babies, i know that the heat is shutting my plants down and making them incapable of absorbing the needed nutrients which makes that ugly burnt mark at the bottom of those 'maters.
i have been seeing red. red on my head. nope, not a dr. seuss reference. i'm pretty much sold on light mountain red henna for my hair. just look at your sexy author busily blogging with that wrap on the noggin. this brand is pretty cheap-$6.49 retail, and a little goes a long way. the color is solid and lasts a while. that shot was taken almost 9 weeks ago.

my only complaint about the henna is the time involved. you have to heat water in a non metal container, mix the henna in and let it cure for at least a couple of hours. it looks like poo when it is done curing, and then you have to slather it on and let it sit a couple of hours with some plastic on to keep the heat on the hair. so don't do henna and think you'll be done in 30 minutes, it ain't gonna happen.

back to VVC. this IS a blogging conference, so i have been severely meditating about my blog and have come up with some goals i'd like to accomplish while i'm in PDX. these are in no particular order:
  • give out some sort of memorable thing with on it. probably a funny post card.
  • nom the hell out of some voodoo doughnuts.
  • have a nosh at a really good taco food cart. i wanna look like i was mauled by a giant plate of nachos.
  • buy a copy of kittee's new ethiopian GF 'zine and have her autograph it for me. i'll probably obtain an extra copy to give away once i return!
  • meet some of my best bloggin' buddies and fellow ppk comrades, specifically bianca, mo, and tofumom.
  • admire vegan cookbook celebrities from a distance. i'm pretty outgoing online, but i'm pretty sure i'll be reserved in person. i don't anyone to know how crazy i really am.
  • do something about my photography skills. my food porn pics suck! i want to learn how to take prettier photos.
  • i want to get more people to read this blog and make enough money from foodbuzz to make monthly sizable donations to my local food bank or animal shelter. i know this involves more giveaways, video blogging, and possibly a podcast.
  • network with people about private chef services or food writing. momma needs to think about her future. i'm happy as a gardening nerd, but i know i have talents that can be used elsewhere.
  • sleep in past 7am, something i have not done in at least a year.

for the last bit of red: behold the red avocado. whuuuuut? yes, i scored these at the food bank with some amount of suspicion. i figured if they didn't turn out to be good enough to eat, i could always use them for a facial masque. well, they were pretty good. not your typical avocado--a little more watery, slightly sweet, and a tad gelatinous. would probably make a mean popsicle. i used some for guac, and put the rest in the freezer. look at the size of that thing! i put my kitchen shears next to it to show scale. i would say 1 fruit yields almost 2 cups of gnawsome avocado flesh.
i'm also having a bake easy on the 13th to expose some peeps to the world of vegan baked goods and try to scrape together some last minute money for the trip.

Monday, August 1, 2011

winner-winner, AVK dinner!

the chicago style pizza crust from AVK also makes a great base for cinnamon rolls!

it's awesome to be a winner, especially first thing in the morning on a monday of all days!

so without further adieu, i give you the winner of american vegan kitchen:

hey, has it been hot where you are? this heat is relentless.

i really don't like mondays. hey, can you remember who sang that song from the 80's?

oh yeah, the boomtown rats. right.

what? oh, you want to know who the winner is?

lucky #13, Theresa Snyder!

please send me an e-mail at and give me your address!

thanks for playing, everyone. stay tuned, because i plan on giving more stuff away in the future.