Friday, September 30, 2011

Clipping Dog's Nails...Oh the Horror

You would think little Rocky the chihuahua would be just the little darling during grooming. Well when it comes to nail clipping, you thought wrong. He despises it. We've tried different methods, tools, clipping devices, and the only way that seems to work is when I take him to the groomers and hold him while she walks around us and clips
away. It takes like less than a minute and he's fine with it. But for some reason, when he's home, the nail clipping takes a long time. Rocky likes to squirm, and move his little arms all around, and with frequent breaks and treats, its like a full day, sometimes over the course of multiple days, adventure. Mind you, I've never cut the quick of any animal's nails and I frequently trim the claws of two dogs, a cat, and an iguana successfully. However, to save little Rocky the stress of nail clipping at home, I opt to take him to the groomers most of the time. On the flip side, Rocky loves baths, eye and ear grooming, messages, and doesn't mind teeth cleaning, but only to be done by me at home. He does not particularly enjoy these spa services to be preformed by anyone else but moi.

Here is a look at Rocky's latest mani/ pedi. We did this at home in the sun where he enjoys to bask and relax, and I did as much as I could until he got squirmy, then did the rest the next day. All I can say is to have patience, and if you cannot, take your fur baby to the groomer...its quick and painless. You should never ignore your animal companion's grooming needs, so if they are fussy with you, take it from me and leave it to the professionals. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Dog Poem...



When I read this poem I laughed so hard that I cried! Thought you might like this and it may remind you of your canine companion...

"I lie belly up...

In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be.


Today I sniffed
Many dog butts — I celebrate
By kissing your face.


I sound the alarm!
Paperboy — come to kill us all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!


I sound the alarm!
Garbage man — come to kill us all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!


I lift my leg and
Whiz on each bush. Hello, Spot —
Sniff this and weep.


I Hate my choke chain —
Look, world, they strangle me! Ack
Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack!


Sleeping here, my chin
On your foot — no greater bliss — well,
Maybe catching cats.


Look in my eyes and
Deny it. No human could
Love you as much I do."
-Anonymous


Love this, especially the part about the service workers being out "to kill us all". It just reminded me so much of Rocky and Shirley. The only part I don't like about the poem, is about the choke collar. I am against them and do not use choke collars, obviously. If you are kind and patient, you can teach your dog anything with positive reinforcement, not by abusive methods. When all else fails...use treats! Works every time. Works on people too. How do you think my parents taught me things like potty training? There is a reason I was reading at age three! Age three and high blood pressure from all the "treats". All kidding aside, I really was reading at age three. Fun fact about the Dirty Vegan. Why am I not working as a mad scientist you ask? I was born to be an animal rights activist and be the voice for my animal pals. And for now, the Reading-At-Age-Three-Animal-Loving-Fat-Kid is signing off.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Holy Mock Meats, Batman!

No animals were harmed in this realistic looking soy food!

I've had veggie jerky before. I've had Primal Strips, Tofurky Jerky, and other brands with a similar product. Never had I experienced this type of sweet and spiciness before. It is called, "Veggie Jerky"; please don't ask me what else this package says, because I admit, I will not be able to tell you this. On the back of the package reads the vegan ingredients in English, which are simple, basic, and natural: "Non-GMO soy, etc.". I'm guessing on the front of this package, the symbols read 100% vegetarian/ vegan and two out of three stars for spiciness; definitely spicy tasting. This Veggie Jerky comes from Taiwan where it is produced and I happen to know that the culture there takes great pride in their mock meats and getting tofu or soy items to be as realistic as possibly. Imitation food is an art-form, utilizing craft and skill. I respect this art and think it is rather interesting. And as long as its 100% vegan-friendly, I'm always game to try it!

So what do you think? Is this vegan jerky too realistic for you, or would you give it a try?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Shirley Girl!

Today is Shirley's 1st birthday! As many of you may already know, Shirley is our rescue pup, who really rescued us. She is the sweetest girl you can ever imagine and takes great pride in being a Mama's girl.
See what I mean about my little Mama's Girl! This is us sleeping. Out like lights. And don't even make fun of the pajamas/ socks...they are couture.
I'm so happy to celebrate her special day; to a doggie that makes our lives so special everyday of the year. We really take care of each other and have a great pack, a loving little family!

 Shirley's peanut butter birthday cake!
 Shirley and Rocky dig into the cake after we sing a silly Happy Birthday song!
 Like magic, the cake was all gone!
 Rocky ate his piece and then all of the crumbs on the plate...
 Shirley took her piece of cake and ate it on our bed.
Peanut butter cake all over the blanket and sheets! LOL

Looks like Shirley had a great day and enjoyed her yummy birthday cake! Now we'll play outside in the yard, then the pups will have a little afternoon nap too. The life! I hope your day is sweet like birthday cake and as cuddly as a puppy! And for now, the Dirty Vegan (w/ Shirley & Rocky) is (are) signing off. Tootles!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Has Your Pup Been Skunked?

Help! My pup has been skunked! 


Recently I was saying, "Help! Shirley Girl has been skunked!". She is very curious of the wildlife that come visiting our yard. Needless to say, she stuck her nose where it really did not belong, and got sprayed by a skunk. Here is the recipe I used to bathe the stench off of my sad pup. I say sad, because after she got sprayed by Pepe, she was sad until we got her smelling like her normal self, understandably so.

Dog De-Skunkin' Bath Recipe

-1/4 cup baking soda
-dollop of puppy shampoo
-10 hyrodgen peroxide wipes/ or a few cups of 3% peroxide

Do not mix this stuff in a bottle! This will explode! You have been warned. Get your pup into a warm bathtub full of water and mix these ingredients into the tub. Scrub the stench off of your dog. Dry your dog and repeat if necessary. A little dab of white vinegar also works on a cotton ball afterwards and applied to the fur if smell is concentrated in one spot. This was the case for Shirley. Also, if your house stinks like this strong pungent smell, even after cleaning it up, fill up glass bowls full of white vinegar and place one in each room. Overnight should do, but longer if the smell lingers. The vinegar absorbs foul odors.
Please understand that this advice is not in place of veterinarian advice, this is just what I used on my Shirley and what worked for us. Please use these tips at your own risk.

They also sell skunk bath products for your dog and some groomers have de-skunking services available. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? What did you do?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Two More Chain Restaurants With Serious Veg-Friendliness

Recently, I dined at two chain restaurants that really impressed me with their veg-friendliness. The first is Rainforest Cafe, which really is a fun place to eat and shop! I really love all the mechanical animals that are moving around as you eat; it is like you are in a jungle! If you look up, you will see stars and periodically a shooting star will go zooming by, which I think is really cool. Also, every so often a storm will happen where the lights flicker, resembling lightening, and you'll hear thunder and see the animals moving around. The Rainforest Cafe that I dined at was in Burlington, MA and had a cool waterfall inside. Each one is slightly different, Burlington had a mechanical alligator in the entry that moves about, and the decor is really fun.

The service was amazing! I called ahead to ensure a vegan dish was available. The server Dan was amazing, I couldn't dream up a nicer person, and Chef Paul was the best! They both took the time to talk with us to ensure we'd get to enjoy a truly vegan meal. Chef Paul was so excited to be able to put his culinary skills to the test, and had such great knowledge about vegan diet. He is the Head Chef and still took the time to come to our table twice, once to talk with us about what he was about to make, and twice to see how we liked it. What a cool experience! 

Special Rainforest Cafe vegan nachos to start!

Chef Paul also made an awesome grilled veggie wrap that came with Safari Fries! The wrap had so many different veggies in it like fresh spinach, avocado, peppers, onions, and zucchini. It looked so great that I ate it so fast and forgot to take a picture! I thought to take one once it was already in my belly! So yummy; compliments to Chef Paul!

The second restaurant we enjoyed eating at was P.F. Chang's China Bistro. I was excited to be able to review and dine at the Providence, RI opening weekend. This was my first time at P.F. Chang's. They have an entire vegetarian menu, but I was really impressed with the restaurant's partner Brian for coming by our table to tell me that everything contains sugar, and that he is almost positive its a bone char processed/ containing sugar, and he can substitute the sugar for a vegan cane sugar or agave nectar for me. That right there was damn impressive and told me that Brian knows a lot about food and the vegan diet. The decor was modern and contemporary. The service was wonderful, especially since it was a crazy-busy Saturday night on their grand opening weekend. We had a great time and our server was so funny! We had a lot of fun joking with her and felt like we knew her forever. You know someone is an experienced server when you feel like they are one of your pals.

P.F. Chang's Ma Po Tofu and you get to choose white or brown rice; I chose brown rice!

For a starter, we had the Chang's Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps that they made vegan by using the same sauce as in the Ma Po Tofu. The wraps were very tasty and had little cubes of tofu in them. Those also went right into my belly, too quickly to even snap a photo of them!

As you can see in this post and in so many of my previous restaurant reviews labeled under "Review", dining out as a vegan is quite easy. I've never had a problem dining out, no matter what type of restaurant, no matter what veggie dishes they do or don't have on the menu. This is why it baffles me when people say they are or have been vegetarians with dining out issues. I find decent to amazing vegan food at any type of eatery, no matter where I go. All you really have to do is ask. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off! While dreaming of Safari Fries! Tootles!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Take a Walk on the Wild Side!

"Art may imitate wild nature; less often does it dare to place itself in the midst of it, and when it does, it may come out second best." -John Hart

One of my pals

When we moved from the city to the country, I had one condition - the next place we would live must be just like camping. The scenery looked just right and I was pleased to see wild bunnies upon moving in. I got more than I bargained for, but I couldn't be happier. Here is a look at the crazy critters that live in our trees, shrubs, bushes, and even underground in the neighborhood. I call them my friends.

Chipmunk. I see this little one and his/ or her mama all the time.

Squirrel eating some food.

I call this squirrel Donut. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but I do. We have a bond.

Can you spot the little birdy?

Please, please National Geographic, stop calling me for this picture. Just kidding.

I thought it was funny that this bird likes to sit on St. Francis's head. And ironic too.

"We don't communicate through words, but yet the time I spend observing wildlife, is the best conversation."
-the Dirty Vegan (that's me)

Another shot of this gorgeous bird sitting atop St. Francis. Look at the pretty coloring, feathers, and tail. Again, NatGeo, I'm all booked up! Gosh!

Bird scoping out the seed situation.

Two birds singing.

Uh oh, they caught me! I'm like the Critterazzi!

Two squirrels foraging.

We think this handsome darling is a woodchuck!

One of the resident bunnies. There are a few of them that live in the neighborhood. One was abandoned because its mother was killed by probably a cat, so I introduced the baby bunny to a mother bunny who gave birth and made an underground nest in our yard. Luckily, the mother accepted the abandoned baby, and now it is alive and healthy (and pretty big now - juvenile size). That very same bunny can be seen laying in patches of grass in various yards and also hanging out with another bunny of similar age.

It was funny when we accidentally discovered the nest, my husband was mowing the lawn, went over a patch of overgrown grass, and saw a bunch of bunnies pop their heads up out of a hole. It was funny to see a bunch of babies that looked the same and then this different looking wild bunny that Mama Bunny decided to care for. I'm grateful she did.

Funny, Mama was always so large, I thought sheesh this bunny looks more like a giant cat! Then she didn't come around for a bit. Next time I saw her, she was noticeably smaller. It finally dawned on me that this large rabbit was not overweight, just very pregnant!

Note: Its best to just observe wildlife; you should not feed wild animals. I never do while hiking, and during camping animals will only get what we happen to drop and not end up picking up. We don't want to mess with their natural ability to forage and survive. These animals live in the yards in our neighborhood. They reside here and procreate here. So our little community is all that they've ever known. If you've ever been to Boston or NYC and have seen the squirrels in the parks there, you will know exactly what I mean. You know when your strolling along and these squirrels just come right up to you? It is kind of like the Enchanted Forrest where I live. Or Disney World, except here we have to clean up after ourselves, no magical brooms. But I still do not get too friendly with my wild animal pals. I do not want them to trust people, because there are people out there that might be mean to them. Also, I put out bird seed, bird baths, fountains, and Apple Feeders only) especially now since Shirley got sprayed by one of the resident skunks, which I am told by neighbors is old and has been around many years carrying on his evening ritual of visiting yards at 8:00 pm. We have rescheduled Shirley's bathroom visits and no leaving out trash or sweets; skunks are known to have a sweet tooth. In addition to skunks, we have been visited by raccoon, possum, so many wonderful birds (ducks too and even an owl!), and bats too! I also love to observe the insects; I love to watch the dragonflies dance. Dragonflies do not fly their entire life. They fly for only a period of their life, usually brief. That is why when you see a dragonfly, they normally do not take breaks - they fly, fly, fly with not a care in the world. If only everyone could see that life is too short, so the time you do have to fly, go for it, fun and breezy, and don't sweat the small stuff. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. 


"Want to know a secret? Promise not to tell? We are standing by a wishing well. Make a wish into the well, that's all you have to do. And if you hear it echoing, your wish will soon come true." -Snow White


Friday, September 16, 2011

VeganMofo Starts October 1st!

The Dirty Vegan will be participating in VeganMofo. This is a blogging event that vegan bloggers partake in, in which we vow to blog about only vegan food for the entire month. That means, I will be getting all my non-food vegan talk out of my system the rest of this month, and only blogging about food for all of October. My focus will be on Comfort Food, which is not a stretch from the recipes I do on here all the time. However, I'm going to get extra Dirty with it, think Vegan Paula Dean! These are going to be the type of recipes that will carry you into the transition from summer to fall. These recipes will be perfect for and complimentary to cool autumn weather. Thirty days of awesome and comforting vegan recipes that are perfect for fall; who is as excited as I am??!!


In November I will resume my combination of recipes, food talk, animal talk, product reviews, and also all things non-food vegan! Until then...get ready to eat like a Dirty Vegan baby!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wanna See My Apples?

Have you ever found yourself with too many apples? Maybe you aren't in the mood for apple pie. Who isn't in the mood for apple pie? Well, maybe you aren't in the mood to make apple pie. Why not make bird feeders with all those extra apples?!

What you will need:
-Apples
     -Wire Ties

-And a helper!

What you will need to do:
String apples with wire ties. As you can see, the square connector part at the end, holds the apple on. You can string as many apples as you like and connect them tightly onto trees. Aim for a tree branch high enough where cats will not likely be able to bother the birds while they are eating. Basically, high enough when you are standing and reach your hands up, that should be fine.

Voila! Birds and Squirrels can now enjoy some fresh and beautiful autumn apples! Send me pics of yours!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Adversity

This Chris Crocker video inspired me to write on this particular blog topic. I've written a lot of inspiring posts and I also stand up for the rights of animals, vegans, vegetarians, gay and lesbian community, people of all races, shapes, and sizes, victims of bullying domestic violence, and anyone who needs me to be a megaphone of a voice for them until theirs can be. If you check out the labels "Lesson" and "Rights" on this blog, you can see some past posts where I address these topics and help to provide some hope when you feel that you need it the most.



Today I wanted to address the adversity vegans and vegetarians face. But first, I wanted to give you some background on Chris Crocker, a pioneer for social movements. Chris Crocker is a YouTube sensation, and probably made famous for his well known video LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!, which has been seen by millions and surfaced all over the internet. If that is the only Crocker video you have seen, you have been missing out. Crocker is entertaining and humorous, but also teaches a lesson within each video, if you are open to seeing it. Whether Chris is inspiring confidence with his Bitch Bell or giving advice on Dealing with Unsupportive Family, like in the above video, his videos reach people who need to hear his advice. I've seen Chris spreading important messages like, confidence, to be strong, to work it, and also speaking on various social topics; I think he is fascinating. There really isn't a topic that Crocker hasn't spoken on. His messages about gender equality and being different, remind me of issues I have faced being different myself.

At any age, especially young, vegans live a constant battle. We try to surround ourselves with like-minded people, but sometimes that is just not always possible. We face adversity, criticism, and debates (sometimes arguments) about our moral choices. For being good people with good hearts, we face consequences, sometimes negative ones, from people who are close minded and that don't want to accept people for who they are. Sometimes the source of stress is from the ones that we love, and should love us back unconditionally. I am telling you today that no matter what battle you are fighting for - animal rights, gay and lesbian rights, racial equality, anything - you are not alone and it will get better. It does get better with age. When I was younger, I was simply inexperienced. When someone would say, "You need meat, meat is good, vegans don't get protein...", I would freeze up, be at a loss for words, and lose all of the vegan knowledge I had swirling around in my head. Now, I am still faced with so many people like that at events I do for Dirty Vegan Foods and various life situations. However, now I can spit out knowledge, statistics, and facts like you wouldn't believe and my ability to have a smart and true answer for everything has enabled me to not care about the haters, put them in their place kindly, politely, and with poise, and also enable me to change people's minds about veganism through knowledge and leading by example.

Anyone who has a struggle, knows the struggle that animals face. Voiceless yet beautiful and fascinating, we must be their voice for them. To all my young readers, please know that I have been in your shoes. Family who thinks I'm not getting enough protein (most days I eat more protein than I should), vitamins (DEVA makes vegan multi and even vegan glucosamine - so eat that haters), and the feeling of being left out or shunned. We have either been invited or not been invited to uncomfortable outings (things like fishing, pig roasts, crap like that), been criticized, scoffed at, or people being overly mean because they are intimidated by our lifestyle and that we have such a great time doing it (its a peaceful way to be). We also have to deal with people who think we eat fish, dairy, eggs, seafood, and offer it to us on a regular basis - seeming to ignore that we are vegans and ignore what we are doing in the Animal Rights world. I continually get offered non-vegan food, goods (like leather), etc. and people seem to ignore the fact that not only is it not suitable or appropriate, it is offensive to me and all that I believe in! Ignore these people, focus on the good and the mission. The mission is equality for all. And also, try and give people the benefit of the doubt; not everyone is being mean on purpose, sometimes people just don't realize. Just because you are an aware and accepting person, doesn't mean everyone else is. So just do your best to lead a happy life and always put thought into your actions. Pass it along to whoever you can - kindness is contagious!

I like Chris Crocker's message and it is similar to mine. Its basically, live your life, don't let haters get you down, don't get discouraged because the best is yet to come, use common sense, and stand up for yourself. Like Crocker, i am out here getting the message out about peace - peace for ALL. I really feel if we brought together all the social rights activists, we can work together on turning this place around for the good! Let's team up, Everyone!

Chris will be coming out with a documentary in 2012 and I'm psyched for it. He has a good heart and big personality. His message and making light of heavy situations, is just the kind of social crusader we need and I think he is a positive voice in the gay and lesbian community. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Peace.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Spicy and Sweet Stew with a Twist!



Cook Up My 'Spicy and Sweet Soyrizo & Sweet Potato Curry Stew' Recipe


2 sweet potatoes, cubed
32 oz container Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Soup
2 cups water
3/4 cup red peppers, chopped
3 tbsp Earth Balance
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 cup portobello mushrooms, cut into chunks
12 oz package of Soyrizo
1 bay leaf
1 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
sea salt to taste


Bring first four ingredients to a boil in a large sauce pan on medium high heat. Next saute Earth Balance, onion, mushroom, and soyrizo in a saute pan until onions are translucent and ingredients are nicely combined. Add the soyrizo mixture to sauce pan and allow to boil for a few moments. Then reduce heat and add bay leaf, curry, maple syrup. Let simmer on low for 2 hours. Season with sea salt and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!


Wowzers! Probably my fave soup that I've ever created!

What's your all time favorite soup or stew?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What to do with that leftover Tofutti and Daiya?


Are you wondering what to do with that leftover tomato paste, Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, and Daiya Mozzarella from last night's Sicilian pizza recipe? Well here is another Naughty one!



Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan & Whole Wheat Garlic Toast Wedges

For the Eggplant


1 eggplant, sliced into four thick slices
4 tbsp olive oil
4 oz vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds (I used Daiya cheese)
3 oz tomato paste
Italian Seasoning to taste
Sea salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to Broil. Place eggplant slices in a pan and drizzle the olive oil on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Broil for about 5 minutes, then remove. Mix Tofutti, tomato paste, and seasonings. Flip over eggplant and spread mixture evenly. Sprinkle Daiya cheese on top. Broil for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

For the Garlic Toast


2 whole wheat pitas
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
garlic salt to taste


Cut pita in half, then half again, to make four triangles (eight in total). Mix last five ingredients in bowl then spread mixture on pita wedges. Place in toaster oven until toasted.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

An Easy Gourmet Recipe!


This is the easiest and probably the most gourmet vegan pizza recipe out there! With pre-made dough, and natural Sicilian toppings that are available in can or jar, this is definitely a convenient way to impress your family, friends, guests, etc.! I hope you love this authentic Sicilian recipe as much as I enjoyed creating and eating it! Mangia!


Savor My 'Easy Artisan Sicilian Pizza' Recipe

What you will need:


1 lb refrigerated pre-made/ prepared pizza dough
4 oz vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti brand)
3 oz tomato paste
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8.5 oz quartered artichoke hearts
6 oz roasted red peppers
10 Kalamata olives, pitted & sliced
2 tbsp capers
1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya brand)
1.5 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt & pepper to taste


What to do:


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out and stretch dough on a clean, floured surface, to desired thickness. Place in floured or greased pizza pan of your choice. Let dough rest for 3- 5 minutes while you make the spread for the first layer, by mixing Tofutti, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Spread evenly on top of dough. Top pizza with artichokes, red peppers, olives, capers, and Daiya cheese. Drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle on some sea salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 10- 15 minutes (depending on thickness of your dough/ crust). It will be ready when dough is golden and the cheese is bubbly and melty, also depending on your preference. Let sit to settle then slice and enjoy!

Oh yum! So delicious!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Get Ready To Party!!!

Disclaimer: this post is ONLY intended for kids who are age 21 and older.


Vegans love to party. Too bad all these years we were deprived of “Jello shots”. Well not anymore because Party Star has done it folks! I am happy to report that Party Star Jel Shots are vegan-friendly Jel Shots and come in crazy awesome flavors!


Party Star Jel Shots come in all the seven flavors you see here, some of which are strawberry, grape, cherry, orange and other fun flavors. These shots come ready made, so no prep work. They do not need refrigeration, but you can chill them prior to enjoying them; you don’t have to, either way they taste great! The flavors are natural, the colors are certified. The “jel” is plant based with no animal products or bi-products used. They also have a 1 year shelf life, but I doubt you can keep these fun shots in your kitchen for too long without getting the urge to pop one in your mouth. You can find these 24 proof (12% alcohol by volume, per shot) in your local liquor store. If they do not carry these yet, they need to totally get on it! These shots are a really cool and exciting vegan discovery. Thanks Party Star, you guys rock!

Vegans like to party like rock stars too!