Monday, December 27, 2010

Extra, Extra! Read All About It...

"We read advertisements...to discover and enlarge our desires. We are always ready, even eager, to discover, from the announcement of a new product, what we have all along wanted without really knowing it." -Daniel J. Boorstin

Announcing...


The Dirty Vegan is making a MAJOR announcement on Saturday, January 22nd! I will be announcing this here on my blog first, then later on Twitter and Facebook. Please get psyched all you Naughty People, this one will be good! I may even drop a few hints here and there, in the posts leading up to it, so pay attention and stay tuned. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Let's Talk About Vegan Food Products!

Edward & Sons swag...Oh my!


I just received a huge and generous package from Edward & Sons (thank you guys! you are awesome!) and I would like to talk a little about their products and give you some ideas on how to use them. Also, please stay tuned to this blog because I am conjuring up some recipes to post here, using some of these products. Just a quick thought is a vegan version of Almond Joy candy, using Edward & Sons coconut flakes, but we will see, I still have to create that, so it will take me a little time to experiment with what works and tastes the best.

So here is what you see in the above picture and some of my ideas for how to use them:

Coconut Flakes - what can't you do with these?! Use them for baking, to sprinkle in your cereal or oatmeal (try the flakes in one of my archived recipes like Dirty Vegan's Tropical Oatmeal), in Edward & Sons Coconutty Granola Recipe on the bag, or eat it straight from the bag, this stuff is so darn yummy! The possibilities are endless with big chunky, fresh tasting coconut flakes like these. Best part is that they are organic and free of sugar or additives. What you see is what you get. Also, comes in a resealable bag. Sweet!

Coconut Flour - I absolutely love coconut flour! It is high in fiber and just so much better for you than white flour. Use this in baking or any recipe where flour is called for. Whenever I bake muffins, scones, or anything with coconut flour, I feel satisfied but in a healthy way and never in a guilty way. I like that coconut flour doesn't leave you feeling as heavy as maybe rice or wheat flour can. Also, comes in a resealable bag. Sweet!

Coconut Water - there is nothing more hydrating and refreshing than coconut water, in my opinion. This stuff is packed with vital nutrients and electrolytes, so it is great for athletes or for anyone who wants to rehydrate. I personally drink this stuff when I am feeling sick, also, and it helps me to feel revived. It has helped relieve me of nausea in the past. You can drink this right from the can, and being in a can makes it extremely convenient, while locking in the nutrients since the light cannot penetrate the container. Also, coconut water is great to add to a smoothie, slushy, or blender drink, to add some extra nutrients to it. This is also organic and made from young coconuts.

Creamed Coconut - Woweee I cannot wait to play around in the kitchen with this stuff! This organic creamed coconut is to be added to hot water to replace the dairy or coconut milk that is called for in recipes. You can use this in creamy soups, curries (like Penang), stews, smoothies, daiquiris (I am the "Dirty" Vegan, remember?), ambrosia, and other dessert recipes. Again, I cannot wait to concoct or veganize a recipe using this stuff, and share with you guys.

Organic Tapioca Starch - Amazing! You can use this in place of cornstarch (which is great for anyone who is sensitive to corn or avoiding GMOs, since most corn in America is genetically modified/ engineered, and that is a topic for another post). So many baking and cooking possibilities for this one. You better believe I will be using this product soon and posting about it. Matter of fact, I wanted to make a recipe that called for cornstarch the other day, however had none. Now I have tapioca starch to use, even better!

Fruti Bear Gummies - OMG gone are the days where vegans had to go without gummy bears at the movie theaters! You can fit these bad boys in your purse (or pocket, they come in little individually wrapped pouches) and enjoy a candy treat wherever you go. Best part; organic and made with organic juices. I am in love.

Fruiti Bear Sour Gummies - Same thing that I said about the above gummies, however these have a nice sweet and sour coating. Delightful! Reminiscent of Sour Patch Kids candies, however these are better! They are healthy. You can have your gummies and eat them too, kids.

Rice Toast Crackers - These are amazing. They are yummy, light, contain protein and iron; what else could you possibly ask for in a snack? Top these yummy squares with any vegan thing your heart desires. Dirty Idea: melt Daiya cheese, or make queso with Daiya cheese, top or dip with. These are really good plain too. Lot's of ideas, will have to post some New Year's Eve hor dourve ideas for you guys. Stay tuned.

Miso Cup Soup - I am so in love with this stuff. Absolutely the best miso soup out there. Talk about easy too. Really, just add hot water. I make myself to-go mugs of this stuff. I add it to other recipes that call for broth, when I want to add a little extra oomph. The perfect miso soup. Made from organic miso and comes with 3 individual servings per pouch, you really can't go wrong.

Bouillon Cubes in Garden Veggie, Not-Beef, Not-Chick'n, and Low Sodium Veggie - I talked about these bouillon cubes in one of my recent posts, and  I will shout it from the mountains; I love these! The value is amazing, 8 cubes per package, each cube is individually wrapped.  I add these to a lot. Soups, stir-fry dishes (Crockpot Stir-fry Recipe), stews, and any other vegan recipe calling for broth or bouillon cube. I make an awesome soup that I use these in and I will share it with everyone really soon. The flavors in these cubes are excellent and spot on!

I have loved Edward & Sons for such a long time, and continue enjoying all of the new products that they come out with. As you can see, mostly all of their goodies are organic (look for their Let's Do Organic line) and are all natural. You can find their products at Whole Foods, health food stores, and in the grocery store (try the natural isle if you have trouble finding it). Also, in the beginning of this post you will find a link to their website. These products are perfect for the Dirty Vegans out there because they make life easier and naughtier, while still being healthy and cruelty free. You just can't beat that! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Turkey Talk: Facts About Turkeys

You would be surprised to know the intricacies of turkey life. I say surprised, because not many people realize just how intelligent and fascinating a turkey really is. Just like all other creatures, turkeys have unique habits and behaviors that make them stand out from other birds. I really like this article containing a list of the 10 most fascinating turkey facts, from the Farm Sanctuary. Also, there is a video in this article featuring Susie Coston, National Shelter Director, who takes amazing care of the lovely animals at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. I really think you will love this article and video! Just take a look at the cute waddle on those turkeys! They melt my heart!

Click for fun turkey facts and video! Enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Rich. The Famous. The Fabulous. The Vegan.


Famous Vegetarians

Have you seen anyone more fabulous and full of life, than a vegetarian, particularly, a vegan? You may look at some celebrities who are not veggie and think they are gorgeous looking, but when you really look at people and become perceptive after doing this thing for so many years, you see that they look worn. They typically look older than they should look. However, vegans tend to look much younger and wear their age extremely well, don't they? I get mistaken for a high schooler all the time and I am in my late 20s!


When you eat living foods, whole and healthy foods, you eat life not death. When you eat death, I am sorry, but it just helps your body deteriorate faster. And is that not what we are doing? Everyone is dying, face it. Aging is deterioration of sorts, however vegetarians seem to slow and in some cases stop that process. Here are just a few famous people who either have confirmed or are rumored to currently be vegan or vegetarians:

Alanis Morisette

Veggie Badass! Looks fabulous and full of youth, especially for her age.


Alicia Silverstone

Kind Vegan. Looks the same as her Aerosmith music video and Clueless days! Wowzers!


Carrie Underwood

Practically Ageless Vegetarian! Look at that glow! 


Woody Harrelson 

Activist Multi-tasker Vegan! Gives off great vibes and spirit!


Natalie Portman

Forever Young Vegan! Looks amazing always, and makes a line of vegan shoes!


Some other rumored vegetarian celebs include Fiona Apple, Pam Anderson, and Reese Witherspoon, just to name a few. There are and have been so many famous vegetarian people in history. The general public must have missed the memo. I would advise society to get on the bandwagon, because let's face it, you are not getting any younger! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tofu Crockpot Stir-fry Heaven

Raise a Chopstick to My 'Tofu Crockpot Stir-fry' Recipe

This is just minutes after putting this all together, and it already looks delicious!


Ingredients:

1 bag of your favorite frozen stir-fry veggies
1 bag frozen broccoli
1 container/ block of tofu, drained and cubed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tbsp dried ginger
2 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp tamari (shoyu or soy sauce will work also)
1/2 cup water
1 vegan "beef" flavored bouillon cube (please see picture below for an idea)


Edward & Sons makes great bouillon cubes in flavors like Not-beef and Not-chicken, among many others!


Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on "high" for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. If it is cooking faster than expected, lower the heat setting to "low" or "keep warm" until you are ready to eat.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve over your favorite rice. Enjoy!

This recipe is so easy and convenient. You can put it together so quickly and just let it cook itself in your slow-cooker. You can use leftover rice or minute rice to make this meal even more convenient.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vegan Newbury Street

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination".  -Oscar Wilde



Newbury Street in Boston: Fabulous Vegan Fun!

If you have never been to Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts, you are really missing out. From the chic designer boutiques, trendy cafes, delicious dining, to the spas, salons, and bath and body shops, Newbury Street is your one stop shop for fabulous.


Johnny Cupcakes always has vegan cupcakes! LOL

Beginning at Betsey Johnson, I scored some cute pink lace tights and some useful vegan advice from a very helpful sales professional. I raved about the vegan friendly fashion at Betsey Johnson boutique (has some cute non-leather handbags and tons of vegan friendly items), and the saleswoman sang like a canary. I totally got the scoop on where to find the best vegan stuff on Newbury, and she was such a cool chick! She also mentioned the Hempest, but she obviously doesn't know the Dirty Vegan very well. While the Hempest's vegan and natural fashions are all well and good, it really isn't what I was looking for in terms of couture.

Next stop, Juicy Couture's chic boutique (yay I rhyme!). Juicy has really expanded their vegan options over the years. And the more you buy them, the more they will sell them. They had the cutest fleece hoodie that was so soft you would swear some innocent bunny lost his life over it...WRONG....all man made materials! They even have some canvas and pleather handbags and accessories. If you like something trendy at one of these boutiques, be sure that no animals had to suffer for your happiness (which is BAD karma), and make your values known in the stores. Trust me, it will get around. Lead by example...and your platinum charge card! If these stores sell enough of something man-made, they will make more like-items.



I wouldn't be the Dirty Vegan if I didn't eat every few minutes; that just wouldn't be me. One of the many beneficial tips from Betsey Johnson's sales gal, was a bakery called Sweet Newbury Street. They have some vegan options for cupcakes and select goodies. I enjoyed this yummy Vegan Chocolate Cupcake. The frosting was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Best vegan icing I have ever tasted. Rich, creamy, sweet, and perfect. The nice gal who worked there also helped me take the photo and was really cool. Too bad the whole bakery wasn't vegan...I would have purchased so much more!



If you would like to be beautiful on Newbury Street, there are several cruelty free options. MAC Cosmetics does not test on animals and has great stuff. Also, my personal favorite, Lush! Lush stuff is all natural, handmade, and mostly organic and vegan. Lush does not test on animals. Trust me, once you step foot in a Lush store, you will be addicted, I don't even have to go any further with it, just trust me.

After a long day of shopping out in the cold (burning mega calories, I assume), it was time for lunch. Newbury Street eateries have vegan options in almost every single one. Boloco is a fresh burrito joint that will make yummy burritos however you like them. Lots of vegetarian options right there. Thai Basil is a Thai restaurant that has amazing veggie options and a nice chill atmosphere. It is a hidden gem since it is lower street level, so look for it. I have eaten on Newbury so many times, and have found vegan options at each restaurant I tried, so please don't fear. If you don't see something already made vegan on the menu, just ask and most likely you will receive.


Give Peas (and Peace) a Chance!

We finally decided on Other Side Cafe. Super trendy bar and restaurant located on...wait for it...the other side of Newbury. The atmosphere is chill, anti-establishment, and very rock-n-roll. The music is awesome too. The food is even better! Pretty much everything on their menu can be made vegan (little "v" next to things that they can make vegan). They make vegan BLTs, grilled cheese, chili, raw dishes, and tons of vegan desserts! The desserts range from bon bons, cheesecake, to delectable chocolate mousse. This place is truly amazing and has something for everyone.


                                                              Nature Boy - raw starter


 Vegan Chili and Grilled Cheese Combo....warm and comforting

 Vegan Chocolate Mousse fruit plate - AMAZING!

Vegan Bon Bons! Woah!

So whether it is cruelty free fashions, treats, eats, or cosmetics you are after, Newbury Street in Boston has it all! Such a cool place that welcomes the vegan diva in us all! Happy shopping Naughty People! For now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off...



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Votes In Favor of Field Roast!

The votes are in. All are in favor of the Dirty Vegan replicating the Field Roast that we ate at the Farm Sanctuary's Celebration for the Turkeys. Well...Field Roast's Celebration Roast is already prepared. So I will talk a little bit about it, and give you some ideas on how to cook your already prepared roast.


Field Roast products are grain "meat" products, similar to Tofurky products. Field Roast have a more moist and tender consistency, versus Tofurky which is more firm. Field Roast provides artisan and vegan products and they are very flavorful. In fact, very little seasoning, if any at all, are needed when you cook their products, especially the Celebration Roast, which was one of the items offered at the Farm Sanctuary dinner.

What you will want to do, is create a baste or sauce to cook this in. Prepare and cook according to the instructions on the package. You can also follow other "roast" recipes. I have made Tofurky with a can of cola, veggies, and a few seasonings in the crocpot, following recipes, so I'm sure with Field Roast you can do the same. The way this was prepared at the dinner, was very simple, yet flavorful due to this product already being pre-seasoned. It contains stuffing in the center, like Tofurky. I am partial to Tofurky's stuffing. Just my opinion.

To try to mimic the roast we ate at the dinner, I would say to place your celebration roast in an oven pan, surrounded by big chopped chunks of onion, carrots, and potato, and use some kind of baste. The baste can consist of olive oil, veggie broth, wine, and your favorite seasonings. Thyme is a very nice complimentary flavor to Field Roast.

Just have fun with it! This is the easiest thing to prepare and cook ever! To be honest, I wish you all voted on the Pumpkin Bisque, however I think you are curious about Field Roast, so I'm glad to give some information about it. The link is above, so feel free to browse their site and their yummy products! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Celebration for the Turkeys: The FOOD, Part Two!

The food at the Farm Sanctuary's annual Celebration for the Turkeys, was amazing! My next post will be to re-create one of the dishes served. So please, cast your vote and I will make my version of it and post the recipe! If I do not receive any votes or feedback, I will simply choose for you!

At the farm was amazing hot cider and yummy teas, pretzel snacks, and yummy Newman O's. But at the dinner was where they pulled out all the stops. The hotel put on quite the vegan spread indeed. There were appetizers and hor dourves galore! Bruschetta, veggies and dip, crackers, stuffed mushrooms, breads, olive oil dipping sauce, tepenade, assorted fruit, just to name the ones I can remember! There was a really beautiful salad also, to start. The soup was a pumpkin bisque with puffy, almost cracker-like croutons. That was the best bisque I have ever tasted! Dinner was a buffet style, nice touch for us hungry vegans! What I really enjoyed about this year's meal, was that you could now choose from Tofurky or Field Roast...or both, which I did! The Field Roast was likely their Celebration Roast with stuffing and is a nice flavor, different than Tofurky, just as nice, and very palette pleasing. The buffet also offered stuffing, amazing sweet potatoes, a beans and greens dish, and mashed potatoes. It all was heavenly to say the least!



Dessert was crazy good! Dessert featured a nice mousse, likely white chocolate flavor and was in a dark chocolate shell, a chocolate covered strawberry, and a nice coconut covered truffle. The presentation was beautifully done! The venue was amazing as well. It was a night to remember and it felt amazing to be there. We are making a difference.



Again, I will create a Dirty Vegan version of one of these foods mentioned, please cast your vote and I will oblige. You can vote by commenting to this post or by e-mailing me at thedirtyvegan.blogspot@gmail.com. I will also accept facebook or other online requests, for the vote.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Dirty Vegan Loves Watkins Glen Vegans, Part One!

"A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral." -Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (1828–1910)

Phoenix the very handsome turkey

Living among the hunters, cattle farmers, and dairy farmers of Watkins Glen, NY are some special folks, a different breed of humans, ones I like to call Watkins Glen Vegans. They live in the frigid cold of the mountains (you will see that I wear about 5 layers and look like 2 Dirty Vegans while visiting the farm), they are hospitable like mostly everyone else in the area, however they connect to animals on such a deep level. The Farm Sanctuary folks are special vegans who really go above and beyond anything I have ever seen; above and beyond activism. I have met other vegans before. Most of us are cynical creatures who no longer hold faith in our own species because we have watched them time and time again needlessly slaughter, beat, abuse, demoralise, belittle, and then have the audacity to eat, poor innocent animals. However, the folks at Farm Sanctuary inspire me to be a better vegan. They inspired me this weekend at their annual Thanksgiving Celebration for Turkeys. I am inspired that maybe, just maybe, all humans aren't horrible, that there are actually other animal angels who connect with, adore, feel the pain of, and cry with and for the animals. I had the great pleasure of witnessing these people who see the product of abuse by human hands everyday, but still they stay positive. They stay positive because they have to. If you give up this fight, if you don't believe that there will eventually be an end to this needless suffering, then what is the point of fighting? Do you see that without that drive and without the hope and faith in our fellow humans, how can we possibly get everyone on the same page? It occurred to me that without that spark of hope, without being able to see the good in everyone, we will always remain "us" and "them". I see unity, peace, and hope in every Farm Sanctuary folk, and in most of their members. We visit Farm Sanctuary every year for Thanksgiving, to feed turkeys rather than feed on them, but this year was different. I have never felt more vegan. I never thought it was possible, but I aspire to be even more vegan. I aspire to do more, to be more, to work more, for the animals. I always had this drive. The animals have and always will be my driving force. I can care less about health, its not about that (I do call myself the Dirty Vegan, do I not?). The beauty of this past Watkins Glen visit is, that just when I thought I couldn't be more vegan, more motivated, more vegan in every single thing I do, I was inspired by The Farm Sanctuary to be even more so, to be better, to be the best, not for me, for the animals, because they are depending on us. It wasn't the wonderful speakers, the fabulous dinner, or the cookies and cider before that, that made my heart grow three sizes, it was what I saw when there were no words at all. I have pictures to try to explain...



Before we head over to the farm to visit all the beautiful beings that live there, we did some shopping. There was a consignment shop where the workers are solely volunteer. All the profits go to the local animal shelter. I had the pleasure of meeting Thumper there. Thumper is the sweetest boxer. Thumper had scars and was badly abused before he was rescued. However, you would never know Thumper saw abuse by the hands of humans. He loves humans and the entire time his tail never stopped wagging. This weekend in Watkins Glen, it was hard to hold back the tears. Tears of many different emotions welled up inside me during this visit. I was sure to buy one of the most expensive designer dresses at the shop. It benefits the animal shelter...and I am the Dirty Vegan, a diva (as you can see with my designer look-a-like acrylic scarf, above).



First stop, the cows.This beautiful girl is Rhonda. Funny story: my husband kept calling her Larry (the cow beside her was Larry). Well, Rhonda did not like being called, Larry. The more my husband called her Larry, the more and louder she groaned and mooed, until I finally told him that she was Rhonda, not Larry. She seemed fine after that, and he apologized to her and rubbed her. Rhonda was amongst some of the older and special needs cows. You can tell she had been through so much at one time in her life. You could just tell she had a story. Just like Thumper, you can see that these animals have been through the war, but keep on going, they trust us humans again, they don't have to, but they do, they want to. They are not the stupid ones for trusting humans after they were abused by them, it is the humans who are stupid for abusing these gorgeous creatures. Every life has intrinsic value. These animals have lives, friends, feelings, fears, hopes, feel pleasures, they grieve and are animals just like we are. Just because they are different than a human does not mean we are to exploit them. Just because they can't talk, does not mean it is right. They do cry out in pain. Can you think of any other instances where mass abuse occurred to other groups just because they were different and we didn't accept them?


Some more funny stories from the farm: my husband got right in the pig barn and proceeded to rub pig bellies and they rolled over to enjoy, and later, fall asleep. I on the other hand, was scared of the pigs (I know, weirdest vegan ever, right). They were just so big and powerful and walking around faster than the cows were. I rubbed them but wanted to go into the piglet area, where I thought I would feel more at ease. Well, piglets are feisty. Now when I say piglet, I don't mean first day after being born piglet, I mean 200- 300 pound feisty piglets. Well one tried to get over to the adult pig area and stepped on my foot. It hurt, but I didn't even flinch. I wanted to be calm, after all, I am in their home. I could only imagine how excited and anxious all the animals were that day to have so many humans around. All the smells and excitement. I would probably be a little taken back if I had 100 different unfamiliar animals touching me and hanging around in my home! The pigs were darling and they make the cutest noises! Needless to say, next year, I will hang with the older pigs. Yes, they are very large, however, they are experienced and quite calm. All the pigs were amazing I must say. Each one had its own personality. The piglet seemed to listen to me when I tried to distract it, and its big adorable nose smelled and nudged me. My heart was melted, for the umpteenth time that day. People also do not realize how truly smart pigs are. I think the statistics show that a juvenile pig is smarter or equivalent to a 3 year old child. I don't think you would want to abuse, mistreat, torture, torment, slaughter, then eat, your 3 year old, do you? I know I wouldn't even dream of it. I don't even kill bugs!

Another funny one: every year I see an adorable, resident black cat at the farm. It is always walking around. Last year I went up and gave it a gentle rub. Last year it hissed and ran away. We laughed our heads off because it was simply the cutest little cat ever. This year we spotted the cat again. I walk up to it, slowly, and give it a gentle rub. It seemed to like the rub...until proceeding to whip it's head around and bite my hand. I had a glove on, and it didn't bite hard, just enough to tell me something. Either a love bite or a "leave me alone" bite. Regardless, we laughed our heads off. Still the cutest cat ever.



Then we waited. Sat on hay bails. So excited to feed the turkeys and watch them eat their Thanksgiving Day feast! Here they come rushing in. Last year there were significantly less people, so they were all over the table, eating pies, fruit, and squash. This year they seemed more curious about us. They came over to check people out. The more seasoned turkeys went right for the food immediately.



Many people don't know what goes into a turkey on your table. It IS very much an animal. Don't you dare disassociate that fact. If you eat a turkey, own up to it, don't try to justify it by dumbing them down. They are brilliant animals. They make beautiful sounds, each meaning something different that they feel, they form bonds, they love life. These turkeys pictured had the opportunity to be rescued, sadly unthinkable numbers of animals are slaughtered each year for Thanksgiving. They have a long tortured road ahead before they make it to your table. Their most sensitive body part, their beak, in which they use to communicate with their world, is chopped off, then off with their toes, they then suffer in factory farms (if they don't die before then, most of them die - for what?). They are not allowed to do the things that their natural instincts beg of them. They are unable to roost, bond, and so many other things that we enjoy watching our cats and dogs do, and things we enjoy doing ourselves. Did you know that turkeys raised for food cannot even mate and reproduce on their own, due to genetic mutilation? These turkeys have been altered in such incredible ways; the turkeys people buy already dead in supermarkets are the product of artificial insemination. My question is, how can anyone expect to feel good, mentally and physically, when they consume fear, trauma, cruelty, abuse, and angst? Humans know when we are in danger, we feel it. You better believe animals know they are about to die. I noticed a very significant change in my mood and life when I went vegetarian many years ago. Then when I went vegan it refined. Life begins falling into place. You start to see things differently. People look at me as strange. I can just as easily look at people who eat animal as strange. I can't wrap my head around how someone can eat their friends.





I watched Susie Coston at Farm Sanctuary. She is an angel to animals. She has such a beautiful soul and a heart of gold. These animals are her life and what she does is simply amazing. To just watch her interact with the animals is wonderful and inspiring. My experiences at the sanctuary are beyond physical. One of the speakers at the dinner later on, described being at Farm Sanctuary as "spiritual". I can totally understand that. These animals have been saved. Saved from horrible fates. It reminds me of those movies where there is terrible Armageddon-like activity, and you know at the end, when it all settles, and the few that made it out alive, are in a sunny safe place. They saw the battle, they were in the war, they are healing from the wounds, they have the scars, but they eventually find peace. My heart grew three sizes this Thanksgiving. For all the animals at Farm Sanctuary who found peace. To all their friends who didn't make it, who only find peace when their heart stops beating. To all the animal angels who work for, volunteer, support, and donate to Farm Sanctuary. Bless your heart and Happy Thanksgiving. For now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

I Like It Quick and Easy, In the Morning...

"I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure." -Mae West

Savor My 'Quick and Nutritious PB, Waffle Breakfast' Idea

What you will need:

1 frozen blueberry waffle (I used Van's)
1/2 banana, sliced
1 heaping tbsp chunky peanut butter (I used Smart Balance)
maple syrup, drizzled (optional)

What you will need to do:

Toast the waffle in your toaster. When it is to your liking, spread the peanut butter on it. Then, arrange the banana slices on top. Finally, if you choose to drizzle some pure maple syrup on top, now is the time to do so. Enjoy!

This is a really quick, yummy, and nutritious "fast food" breakfast. You are getting your protein, your healthy fats, your fruit with the banana, and antioxidants with the blueberry waffles. I chose the gluten free waffle because it seems to be easier to digest. This breakfast idea can be easily adopted by people with gluten intolerance. Also, this breakfast seems to keep me going and is very satisfying. When I eat this for breakfast, I'm not wolfing down a Primal Strip five minutes later...well not always.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feed Your Muscles Power Food!

Pump Iron After Trying My 'High Protein Power Wrap' Recipe




Ingredients:

1 Tofurky Sausage (Italian style is amazing in this recipe! Great spices in it!)
1 Wrap, Flatbread, etc. (I used Lavash bread wrap which was low carb, high protein)
1/4 cup frozen peas
Handful of Daiya Mozzarella Cheese (or other vegan mozz)
Bragg's Liquid Aminos to taste

What to do:

Chop the Tofurky sausage into small pieces, place in a microwave safe bowl. Add to bowl frozen peas, cheese, and the liquid aminos. Microwave for 1 minute, stir. If the cheese isn't perfectly melty, microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir and spread on wrap. Roll or wrap up in your desired manner. Enjoy!

This recipe (depending on what wrap and other ingredients you use) should be about 34 grams of protein! A serving of Tofurky Sausage is 29 grams of protein, and the Lavash bread wrap that I used was low carb and had 5 grams of protein. This tastes almost like a pepperoni pizza! The Daiya makes it so melty and cheesy, I sneak the peas in, which are such a great touch and add some veggies to this. It is just perfect and you must try this out!
 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet & Seductive

Get Seduced by My 'Extra Rich Hot Cocoa' Recipe


What you will need:

1/8 cup vegan chocolate chips (like Chocolate Dream brand)
1 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp turbinado sugar
pinch of salt

What to do:

Place all ingredients in microwave safe mug. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir well until chocolate chips are almost melted (use oven mitt, will be hot). Microwave for another 30 seconds more. Stir well. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestion:

Since this recipe is inspired by one of my favorite vegan goodie makers, Sweet & Sara, it is highly suggested you float a Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallow in your hot cocoa. Pictured above is their delightful snowflake. So very yummy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Time for the weather report. It's cold out folks. Bonecrushing cold. The kind of cold which will wrench the spirit out of a young man, or forges it into steel." -Northern Exposure

The cold weather is approaching. Wintertime has some people thinking, "How will I keep warm and be vegan?". Have no fear! You don't have to freeze because you are being kind to animals. Wool is not the only warm material that clothing is made out of. And yes, you too can wear a stylish peacoat. You just have to read those labels and also know where to look. Some stores or brands make all man-made material coats regularly. And good news, most of the time they are way cheaper than wool. So the animals are not the only ones thanking you, your wallet will be too!

Coats

This adorable jacket is by Rampage and is found at Macy's for a sweet price. It is made out of polyester, cotton, acrylic, rayon and nylon.

I have also seen jackets that are non-wool and do not contain silk lining at TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Nordstrom, Northface, JC Penny, Old Navy, Urban Behavior, Aeropostale, most mall stores, just to name a few. All very fashionable, all great priced, and all easily obtained. Vegan stuff does not have to be hard to find. It really is just regular stuff without animal products. I think most people assume that a nice coat must be made out of wool, that is simply not true. I have designer jackets and trench coats that are all man-made, and they are fabulous.

Boots

This is the time of year that people want to break out their Uggs or their look-a-likes. Well vegans don't have to miss out on the fun, and can still look great! Think, no sheep or calf skin, just a pair of boots you can be proud to wear.


Airwalk (you can find this brand at Payless, or shop on Airwalk's official website) has a boatload of vegan shoes. These all man-made material boots are faux suede and faux sherling lining. I have a pair similar to these that I scored at Payless and I get so many compliments on them. These are not going to run you a mint either. It is nice to pay a small price for something fantastic. Imagine spending so much money and getting mud on and ruining your Uggs? I wouldn't, even if I weren't vegan, it is just ridiculous.

Hats, Gloves, Scarves


100% acrylic hat from Old Navy, score! Old Navy has such a great variety of hats, gloves, and scarves, that are vegan. Just read those labels to be sure; most are vegan however. You can find scores like this at so many other stores, just look around.

So basically folks, you can be vegan, still be stylish, and stay warm in this chilly autumn weather and approaching winter season. Keep a look out for great deals like these and be sure to always read those labels. For now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Friday, October 29, 2010

To Tickle the Roof of Your Mouth With, My Dear

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." -Ernestine Ulmer



'Dirty Vegan's Mouth Tickling Chocolate Walnut Cookie Bars' Recipe

Dry ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Moist ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1/4 cup vegan mayo (like Veganaise)
3 tsp almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. In a sauce pan, melt buttery spread and sugar, whisk. Then whisk in the rest of the moist ingredients. Once saucepan is cool, combine with dry ingredients. Pour batter into a greased brownie pan. Bake for 35 minutes (or until toothpick prick comes out clean). Let cool for a while then cut into bar squares. Enjoy with a nice cold glass of soy milk or with a hot coffee or tea!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Treats Not Tricks

"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble."
-William Shakespeare

 (Above pictured: Go Max Go vegan candy bars which mimic Snickers, Milky Way, Almond Joy & 3 Musketeers!)

Halloween without candy? Why that is proposterous! Being vegan does not mean going without your sweet treats for Halloween. If you have kiddos, they can still enjoy Halloween candy and also you can still hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Below you will find a list of some common Halloween candies that I have researched or know that are vegan. There are probably many more in addition to this list, so keep reading those labels. Lots of organic, natural, and vegan brands also make great vegan Halloween candy. You can find those in specialty and natural foods stores such as Whole Foods. Also, please note that Mars brand (makers of M&Ms and many other candies) DOES in fact test on animals. Until I see an official statement from them stating that they have ceased the horrible practice, I would not personally support anything from their brand, even if it were to be vegan, testing on animals is certainly not. Feel free to check out the Mars Candy Kills website to find out more information about that.

  • Airheads Taffy
  • Brachs Fruit Slices
  • Charms Blow Pops
  • Charms Pumpkin Flat Pops
  • Chick-o-Sticks
  • Cracker Jack
  • Cry Baby Candy
  • Dots
  • Dum-Dums
  • Endangered Species dark chocolate
  • Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Halloween Bug Bites
  • Ginger People Ginger Chews
  • Go Max Go candy bars
  • Jolly Ranchers hard candy
  • Now and Later
  • Panda Soft Licorice
  • Peanut Chews, Original Dark
  • Pez
  • Sour Patch Kids, original
  • Super Bubble
  • Swedish Fish

Monday, October 25, 2010

Food That Tastes Like Home

"There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves." -Tom Wolfe

Home Sweet 'Meatless Loaf with Sweet Tangy Glaze' Recipe



Loaf:

2 14 oz packages of ground veggie meat (I used Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
2 slices wheat bread, crumbled
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon Ener-G egg replacer
salt and pepper to taste
buttery spread to grease pan with

Glaze:

2 heaping tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all loaf ingredients with clean hands. Grease a baking loaf or meatloaf pan with buttery spread. Form the loaf mixture into greased pan. In separate bowl, combine ingredients for glaze. Pour all over the top of the meatless loaf. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve with side of roasted asparagus, Olive Oil Biscuits (I posted biscuit recipe on 10/23/10), corn, mashed potatoes, or any of your favorite comfort food sides.

Recipe Tips:

-For chopped onion, I finely chopped them in a food processor. That made it easier to mix into the loaf, as the onion was almost like a chunky pureed consistency.
-You can use any veggie meat you like. Gimme Lean grounds work best because of the consistency that tends to hold everything together very well. If you don't have Ener-G egg replacer, and use Gimme Lean, you can get away with eliminating the "egg" ingredient all together.

Friendly Fashionista


Being vegan does not mean you have to lack style, grace, or class. It is the exact opposite; vegans possess a great amount of those things with this compassionate lifestyle. Here are some fashion staples that every vegan style icon must own in their closet.


LBD (Little Black Dress)

The LBD is so versatile and so fashionable; it never goes out of style. You can dress it up with jewelry and a pair of heels, or dress it down with ballet flats and a cardigan. One LBD can even be used for all four seasons by using tights, cardigans, or jackets when it is cold. You can even layer under it which is another way to make the look more casual.

The LBD is an important piece in every girls wardrobe.
Guys, your equivalent of an LBD would be a nice suit. Something preferably in black or a very neutral color that can be worn in different settings or seasons. You can dress it down with the type of shirt worn with it. Even a t-shirt and sneakers can be worn to give you a casual and hip look. You must also possess a crisp white button shirt.

You never know when you will need an LBD or a suit. It is always good to be prepared. Please note that these items must not contain any wool, silk, or any other animal materials. This is an extremely easy task at any department store, mall stores, or at T.J. Maxx/ Marshall's.

Business/ Casual Pieces

Every fashionable vegan must have a few business pieces in their closet. A nice pair of pants, a few nice blouses or shirts, a suit jacket, and a cardigan. For ladies, a pencil skirt in a neutral color is always a must. That is such an easy piece that can take your from work to play. Just tuck a blouse into your pencil skirt and add heels or ballet flats and you have a very cute and flattering look.

Shoes and Accessories

Invest in a few nice pieces; belts, headbands, broaches, jewelry, etc. A nice pair of shoes is also a must. You can have a couture outfit on and if your shoes aren't right, it can throw the whole thing off and possibly ruin the entire look. You are probably wondering where a vegan would find non-leather and non-suede shoes. The easiest and most cost efficient store I can tell you is Payless. You will find a plethora of "All Man Made Materials" shoes there. This is great if you are short on cash or want a specific look without spending a lot of money. If you want comfort and quality with a couture look, you are going to have to get some designer shoes. Maybe, in a place in time, long ago, this was impossible, but now it is a fun and addicting possibility. Look around your department stores and read read read those labels. I scored four pairs of fantastic vegan shoes at T.J. Maxx recently. The quality and feel are great and the prices aren't bad at all either. You can find vegan shoes in brands such as Nine West, Ann Klein, Dollhouse, R2, among many other stylish brands. Not all of these designers' shoes may be vegan, but some are, so read the labels and hunt around for them. It takes a minute to read a label and it makes a world of difference for an animal that you are saving. If everyone thought this way, animals wouldn't be faced with the cruelty that they endure. We as consumers and compassionate people must make the right choices; kind choices. In my opinion, kind people are the hottest and best looking people!


In general, if you like a look, find a substitute. There are so many handbags, heels, jackets, etc. that are vegan. If you like pearls, get synthetic ones. Have you ever heard of the saying, "Fake for the animals sake."?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Will Love My Biscuits

"I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it." -Mae West

Love My Hot and Fluffy 'Olive Oil Biscuits' Recipe


You will need:

2 cups flour (I used multi-purpose unbleached from Whole Foods)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup almond milk

What to do:

Preheat oven 450 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour in oil while mixing with a butter knife. Do the same with the almond milk. I used the knife in a glass bowl so I can scrape and mix the dough up. Make dough into a ball with your hands. Knead the dough for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface. Then flatten evenly. Use a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or round glass to cut out biscuit rounds. Place them on an ungreased baking sheet about an inch or so apart from each other. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly brown, raised, and fluffy. This recipe will make about 10 biscuits, depending on how thick you like them.

You will notice in the photo that I served the biscuit with tofu scramble. There are many different ways you can make tofu scramble. I made the above as a basic and creamy style. I used tofu, Earth Balance, Tofutti Cream Cheese, Bragg's Nutritional Yeast, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. I sauteed that in a pan as the biscuits were baking.

Friday, October 22, 2010

You Only Live Once...So Be Naughty About It!

"All animals except man know that the ultimate point of life is to enjoy it." -Samuel Butler

Drool Over My 'Creamy Veggie Macaroni Bake' Recipe



Ingredients you will need:




1 box of pasta (about 13.25 oz)
1 jar of tomato sauce (1 lb)
1 bag frozen steam in bag vegetables (I used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots mix)
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (like Tofutti)
2 cups vegan shredded mozzarella (like Daiya)
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp buttery spread (like Earth Balance), melted



JUST MAKING SURE YOU'RE STILL PAYING ATTENTION....



Preheat oven 350 degrees. Boil water and cook pasta until al dente. While that's happening, follow frozen steamer vegetables instructions and get that started in the microwave. When pasta is al dente, drain and place pasta back in sauce pan. Add the cream cheese, mix, and melt that in the warm pasta with a wooden spoon. Mix in vegetables, tomato sauce and vegan mozzarella. When thoroughly combined, transfer mixture into a casserole or baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Pour melted buttery spread on top to finish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. Let settle and cool off a bit. Enjoy!


This recipe reminds me of something that my late Aunt used to make when we were kids. My bake tastes similar to her dish. I absolutely loved it, and eating this reminded me of her. I hope you love this Dirty Vegan recipe as much as I do and I hope it brings a smile to your face as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quick -n- Easy Hot Chick-none Maple Mustard Sandwich Idea

"Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy." -Lao Tzu



Things you will need:

Sandwich:

2 slices of bread
4 Gardein Seven Grain Crispy tenders
Generous sprinkle of Daiya (or other vegan) Mozzarella cheese

Sauce:

1/2 tbsp Dijon or spicy mustard
1/2 tbsp maple syrup

What to do:

Mix mustard and maple syrup together, set aside. Toast the bread slices if you want. Microwave the frozen tenders for 1 minute. Then turn over, sprinkle vegan cheese, microwave for another 1 minute. With a spatula, place tenders on one of the bread slices. Spread the maple mustard mixture all over melted cheese on tenders and on bread. Top with the other slice of bread. Enjoy!

This is a super quick and easy dinner, lunch, or snack idea. Let's face it, sometimes you don't feel like cooking a big elaborate meal or snack. Being vegan does not have to be difficult. You can still make convenient meals with food you have on hand. These convenient foods are better for you than non-vegan processed ones, because they contain real ingredients and little to no unnatural ingredients or preservatives. This sandwich packs a decent protein punch also. The Daiya cheese contains no soy and the tenders are mainly made from quinoa and grains, with very little soy, in case any of you are soy sensitive. And of coarse you can use any bread you like. I got the Gardein tenders at BJ's Wholesale Club, but if you have trouble finding this brand (it is so worth it, their tenders and other products are one of the best "chicken" substitutes out there, in my opinion) you can use a Boca patty or any vegan substitute you can find. This is merely a quick sandwich idea that tastes more than just quick, it is really hearty and the sauce is so tasty with the tenders and Daiya; what a great flavor! You must try this, all you Naughty People out there! For now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yummy Comfort Food on a Cool Autumn Evening

"Comfort is the only thing our civilization can give us." -Oscar Wilde



'Comforting and Cheezy Zucchini Shiitake Bake' Recipe

4 slices of bread, cubed
1/4 cup melted buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)
2 cups zucchini, cubed
1 cub shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt
7 oz. firm tofu
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Cube bread slices, place in large mixing bowl. Melt butter, poor over bread and mix. Cube zucchini, add to bow and mix. Do the same with mushrooms, onion, vegan cheese, and garlic salt.

Take tofu, Italian seasoning, and sea salt and blend in blender until smooth and creamy. Add that to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Once mixed thoroughly, spread mixture into a baking pan or dish. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Then bake uncovered for another 30 minutes. Let settle, serve, and enjoy!



Recipe Tips:

-For the vegan cheese, I used 1 cup shredded Daiya and 1 cup cubed Vegan Rella. I like the way the shredded Daiya melts throughout, and the Vegan Rella melts chunky in pieces.
-I used a high fiber bread to make it even healthier.

This is a superb, warm comfort food for a cool, autumn day. This dish packs in a lot of veggies, fiber, and protein while at the same time tasting very naughty! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Please comment with your experience and/or tell me if you would like to make this dish!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Simple Life!

"Live simply, so others may simply live." -Ghandi

After chatting with one of my good friends, I realized something. While most books on veganism are wonderful, they are not designed for the beginner vegan. Just like my last post, these are seasoned vegans who have been doing this for years. My last post talks a little about raw, macrobiotic, and alkaline foods, but it is not meant to jump start someone into veganism.

When I first became vegan, I was pretty much lost. I did what most people do in similar circumstance, cease eating common non-vegan foods until I find food I can "now have". Do tons of research. Then I simplified it for myself, and did exactly what this post is meant to do for you, took the guesswork out of this lifestyle. Pillsbury reduced fat crescent rolls are vegan (always check the back of that can, things can change). Some Betty Crocker cake mixes are vegan. Some canned frostings are vegan. Are they healthier than making it raw and from scratch? No, probably not. Will it transition you until you figure out what you want to do with all this new knowledge? Absolutely. After all these years of vegetarianism, I can choose from meal to meal whether I'm going to be gross and eat out of a box or can, or be all gourmet raw foodist, and anywhere in between. But how is someone who is new to becoming vegan supposed to take all this in? How the heck is someone going to go to the grocery store and ask for umeboshi plums and not get a look from the store clerk like, "Lady, have you stepped outside your mind?!"? While introducing oneself to a new lifestyle such a being vegan, I would suggest simplifying.

Firstly, lets start by scanning the ingredients list. Let's use a simple one and not even think about the *sneaky things food companies try to sneak into the food, lets use a simple one, like bread. You see words like yeast, water, salt, flour, whatever. Maybe you see some other things. So maybe you are unsure. Next scan to the end of the ingredients list. Usually there will be words in bold that say something like, "Contains Soy, Wheat, Milk Ingredients" Well the bread might just say, "Contains Wheat". So you're good, but maybe still a little unsure. Next check above the ingredients in the Nutrition box. Check the cholesterol content. If it says 0% most likely you are okay. Are you okay all of the time it says 0 % cholesterol? No, because it might contain gelatin or other *sneaky ingredients.

My point is to make it easier on yourself. If you love a certain kind of food that you normally mix in with meat, if that food is vegan, mix it with vegan fake meat instead. Don't try to get all gourmet macro raw vegan foodist just yet. Introduce these new foods into your diet slowly and eat a variety. Don't just eat raw if you don't want to. As long as you are eating vegan, you are still doing a world of difference for the animals, the environment, and for yourself.

As you may notice in my recipes, they are foods that your carnivorous neighbor might be eating. If you brought it over to your neighbor, they probably wouldn't even think it was vegan. There is a sort of simplicity to being able to say that you want cookies and just substitute for eggs and butter with ingredients that are easily available in the grocery store. You don't have to get all crazy with it right from the beginning. But by all means, experiment when/ if you are ready, that is awesome! Just don't starve! Eat your protein (Primal Strips are vegan jerky sticks and strips that can be as low as 80 calories and have 10 grams of protein!) and eat your grains (hello most pastas, rices, etc.) along with fruit and veggies, as long as you read the label and it is vegan, then don't worry about all the other stuff just yet. Make being vegan as easy as possible on yourself. Do you know how many friends and family members say to me, "I wish I could eat vegan. I just don't know how.". I didn't either. You learn. It is an adventure and a journey; just don't be so hard on yourself and you will do fine. As always, feel free to send along your questions and comments (below). I am happy to be help.


*sample sneaky ingredients: albumen (from eggs), casein (from dairy), L-cysteine (can be synthetic but sometimes can be made from bird feathers), whey (dairy), gelatin (boiled skin, bones, or other, from cows, pigs, horses, or sheep)

These sneaky ingredients do not come out and say that they are not vegan friendly and some look okay unless you know what they are. The above is just a sample and there are many more ingredients like this. Do your best but know that memorizing the list takes a while and I'm sure vegans out there slip up accidentally and when unaware. Just know that what you are doing is good. It is also about a boycott and by you not contributing to the meat and dairy industry, is huge and is a big help for a good cause. Simplify and do the best that you can.

Comprehensive sneaky ingredients lists links:

http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/animal-ingredient-guide.aspx?search=ingredients

http://www.veganwolf.com/animal_ingredients.htm#NONVEGANLIST