Monday, August 6, 2012

Best Muffins EVER!!!

“A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say, ''Oh, I don't like it'.' One might say it's the best muffin ever made. One might say it's an awful muffin. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin.” -Denzel Washington

Muffins are awesome, especially these! Using a small amount of pure maple syrup instead of sugar and the high fiber/ protein ingredients included, make these a healthier alternative that just so happen to be Naughty enough to strike my fancy. Serve these warm (or lightly toasted if having them the next day for breakfast) with a spat of vegan butter and you have a satisfying treat that was super easy to make.

Bake and Enjoy My Delicious 'High Fiber & Protein Trail Mix Muffins'

Makes 12 muffins.

1 cup flour (of your choice)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 trail mix
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 apples, grated
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven 350 degrees and grease or paper line your muffin pan. Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl. Scoop even amounts into cups. Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until clean when pricked. Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Beauty and Fitness Favorites

Happy Spring! Spring is in the air and now that the cold winter is over, we want to be out and about in minimal clothing, at least I do! Two important factors in looking good in warmer weather is your skin and your body. So it makes sense that everyone is thinking about skincare and fitness. Over the winter I tested two products to see if they worked and share them with you. I wanted to use them most of the winter in order to prove that they work, and for me they did. So here is my opinion on a couple cool products that are getting me ready for beach and bikini season.

For skincare, I've been using products from Juice Beauty and I am pretty impressed! For one, they are a 98% organic skincare line and they do not test on animals. Also, it looks like pretty much everything they offer is vegan-friendly, or at least the stuff that they sent to me. I'm loving their Cleansing Milk and am almost done with the bottle. I use this as a cleanser and also as a makeup remover. It removes better than any other makeup remover I've used before and is tough on eye makeup but gentle on your skin. Other oil-based removers have made my skin breakout in the past, but after using this vegan cleansing milk this winter, my skin has stayed hydrated and clear. I also used my samples of their serums (I love their Soothing Serum), cleansers, and moisturizers and love them! So if you are looking for gorgeous glowing skin this spring, Juice Beauty just might be for you.

For fitness, I have been using a workout DVD from Collage Video. They offer a HUGE variety of workout videos that can satisfy anyone's fitness needs, no matter what your taste or fitness level is. The workout I've been hooked on is Ellen Barrett's Live, Grace & Gusto. And what this workout is, is pilates and ballet with a little bit of yoga. In my opinion, this is the perfect workout to achieve a toned and lean figure, along with your vegan diet. In fact, my body has responded so well to this workout and I have not changed anything in my Dirty Vegan diet and lifestyle. I have been doing this workout consistently for about one month (I wanted to be sure I tried it in order to give you guys an accurate review), and I have seen changes in my weight (small loss of a few lbs - but I would probably see more if I replaced my cookies with salads, not happening!), in the way my clothing fits, and in the way my body looks. I feel great and look toned and leaner. I love ballet, pilates, and yoga; this workout is perfect for me for this reason! It is also important to do something you truly enjoy, or else you might not stick with it. So be sure to check out because they really do have everything when it comes to fitness. The prices are awesome too. I plan on doing an update sometime this summer because I plan on stepping up my game with this workout and will let you know if I see any more results, maybe even a before and after picture, we will see. Here is a video clip of this workout so you can get an idea of the exercises and energy. I really like Ellen Barrett because she is not annoying, which is also another important thing to me in a workout DVD.

What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming skin-baring seasons? Have any good tips? And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Namaste.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Ramblings: Aliens Eating People

I have a tiny cold today. Vegan colds don't last very long, in the rare cases that we get them, so don't feel sorry for me. It will be gone in a second. I like tea, but especially when I'm not feeling very well. I sat down this morning with my Yogi Tea (I included the link just in case any of you don't know what that is). Now I love Yogi teas for their taste, flavors, varieties, and holistic benefits...however what I love the most is the little fortune on the tea tag. They were smart marketers those Yogis! I rip open a Yogi pouch every chance I get to see what today's insight will be. Today mine read...

The art of happiness is to serve all.

I smiled. That is kind of what I do. Serving animals and sharing my blog with humans. Blogging about both animal and human rights and also about the environment. Being an activist everyday, in everything that I do. Pretty cool. And then, I thought, remember that Twilight Zone episode, To Serve Man???!! Oh yeah, ya'll thought I was totally normal-blogging with this cold and I totally just threw a curve-ball atcha!

Here is a clip from the Twilight Zone episode, To Serve Man, set to some cool trippy music:

Basically, what happened was when communicating with space aliens, humans were averse, but then after humans were able to decipher the title of the aliens book, "To Serve Man", they thought that was really nice of the aliens. The episode is really great and you must see it if you haven't already.

Side Note: I watch these on Chiller network and for free on CBS online. Also, since I was a tot, I've been watching the holiday marathons that come on television at Fourth of July and New Years. I've also been on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. All of which are pretty neat! It happens to be my dream to own the Twilight Zone series, The Complete Definitive Collection. Yes, ALL the episodes ever made. Then no one will ever be able to pry me away from the tv and you'll be getting a lot of weird
posts from me that are Twilight Zone related but somehow connect to veganism. And perhaps some odd recipes as well.

In a nutshell, the black book is a preparation of how to serve man as a meal. I thought this was funny that I thought of this while I was drinking my Yogi. Humans have been eating animals without a care for years, what makes us think we are the highest on this so called "food chain"? I have always been interested to know who else is out there in other galaxies, dimensions, and spaces. We would be foolish to think we are
the only ones. And also slightly arrogant. We are minor specks in this vast universe, but we think we are so big, so mighty. I am happy I am vegan, and if we were ever to run into space aliens, perhaps they would spare us, perhaps karma would kick in at that very moment. I'd also be interested to know if aliens would even want to eat us at all. And I would want to know what the heck they eat!

So what are your thoughts on extraterrestrial life? Comment below; let me know what you think, or if you have been on the Twilight Zone Disney ride, or if you watch these shows, or whatever. Or you may just want to know where I purchased my satirical coffee mug, who knows. Talk to me. Don't leave me alone with my cold and my madness. And for now, the Dirty sci-fi Vegan is signing off.

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Are a Vegan? Why Do You Look So...Normal??

One time I was doing a Dirty Vegan Foods event and I was approach by a gentleman who looked quite confused. His wife was trailing behind him. I thought he was probably going to ask me where the ATM or restroom was located. To my dismay, he wanted to ask me about my veganism. He said, "You are vegan?". I replied, "Yep!". He asked me how long I have been vegan. I answered, "About a decade.". This man looked thoroughly confused. He then proceeded to say, " look so, so, healthy. You have color in your face, your eyes look bright, your hair is shiny and bouncy, and you are not skin and bones!". So to break the ice I said, "Well I am an Italian vegan...I don't particularly shy away from food", and we laughed. Now after breaking the ice, I knew there would be questions. I answered all his burning questions about veganism. Where do we get our protein from? Lentils, tofu, beans, soy products, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and many vegetables contain high amounts of protein, such as peas. I told him how I practically slather all my food in Braggs Liquid Aminos, which contains 16 out of the 20 essential amino acids that your body needs to function well. I told him that I take a daily vegan multi-vitamin, although I don't have to, all my food is nutrient rich and my vegan milks are enriched with vitamins and minerals. He was an overweight man and so was his wife, and they couldn't believe that our vegan sweets could taste so delicious and be cholesterol, trans-fat, preservative, and artificial free. They wanted to know more about my lifestyle and were now interested in veganism for their own lives.

I am glad that I met that man and his wife. I'm happy to have answered their questions in a non-defensive manner, even though he came off a little unwilling. Being approachable is something that being vegan for a long time has taught me. See, at first I was a vegan warrior...I still am, but in a different way. I used to approach people in a defensive way like, "Do you know what you are eating right now, that is a dead baby chicken, are you out of your mind?!?! Murderer!!!". And guess how many people I turned vegetarian back then. You guessed it. Zero. Now, everyone I meet wants to be vegan. I lead by example now. But I never withhold the information and facts. I tell it like it is; statistics ready to slip off my tongue at any moment, but I have learned a special way to approach the issue and answer people's questions. I notice that people approach me rather defensively, and not the other way around (you know the old stereotype about how us vegans supposedly act), and I always manage to change their mind and make a new friend. No matter who they are, people want to be that beautiful, happy, healthy person. Since becoming vegan, I am all those things. I float around with happiness in my heart and it radiates out. Every problem or issue is minor when it used to seem so major. I can sleep at night knowing I did a good day's work and didn't contribute to another's misery. I attribute this feeling of peace to my veganism. I no longer consume an animal or an animal's products, in which that animal was held against his or her will, abused, tortured, and then killed. That animal either fought for it's life or was too sick and weak to do so. That animal was most certainly scared and didn't deserve this life. That animal was a child to a mother.

Before I was living a plant-based lifestyle, I would often be sad, or anxious, or upset, or even mad...for no reason at all. Do I think that was directly affected by my diet? Absolutely. As I was transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, I paid attention to what I ate and how I lived my life. I also paid attention to how I felt and what happened in my world. Back when I even ate a little honey, I felt frenzied and on edge. When I became full vegan in everything that I did, I sat back afterwards and realized that I felt better. I became vegan for the animals, and the bees, and the bugs...then my heart and soul became happy and light. If I didn't believe in karma, I sure believe in it now. Karma has affected me first hand and I get some good karma returned to me regularly.

I was able to have a really nice and pleasant conversation with that reluctant man and his wife and completely change their minds about veganism. In a not-preachy-whatsoever way, I was able to convince them to consider a plant-based lifestyle, just by chatting and by them observing ME. So YOU should lead by example too. If you are a nasty vegan, people will think veganism is mean and nasty too. If you are an open and welcoming vegan, people will be drawn to you and the vegan lifestyle. So give it a try; try to infect everyone you meet with happiness and positive vibes! They may just go vegan!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Questions That I Would Ask Famous People

I meet "famous" people. In fact, tons of well-known vegans at benefits, parties, galas, etc. I say famous in quotations, because I believe famous people are just like you and me...except someone decided to make them "famous" for whatever reason. Sometimes fame comes from talent, sometimes from looks, sometimes from being original or being the first person to do something weird and be eaten up by the public (i.e. the Chocolate Rain guy), and many other reasons. Some may even call me a little "famous" - hey I've been addressed as the Dirty Vegan by people while shopping in Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. People tell me all the time that they read my blog or know me from being co-founder of Dirty Vegan Foods, from being in the newspaper, or in an online article, or someone's blog, or just as a local entrepreneur and socialite who likes to spread veganism, meet people, and network. Therefor I now answer to Dirty Vegan and barely anymore to my name that I was born with (Do you have any idea how funny it is when I make a business call and say I'm calling on behalf of Dirty Vegan Foods and I hear, "hey it's the Dirty Vegan on line 1"?). Now I just go with it, what the heck else can I do? I imagine this sort of thing happened to Carrot Top or maybe even Weird Al. So, I don't get all starstruck when I meet a public figure. I consider myself equal to "famous" people, even though I am on the Z-list. You should consider yourself no lower than a "famous" person - because after all, we are all only human.

So as I was thinking about "famous" people, I thought, boy would I love to meet certain "famous" people, to ask them certain questions. You always hear the question asked, "what celebrity would you want to meet?", or hang out with, or spend a day with, etc. So here are some people I would want to meet, and questions I would ask them...

My Questions For "Famous" People

Alica Silverstone - Who, what, why, and how??? Who do you think you are? What makes you vegan? Why do you wear vintage wool and leather, and eat fish and dairy on "occasion"? And how do you profit off being vegan when you are sometimes a vegan and sometimes not? Girl, I just want to call the Vegan Police on you (like in Scott Pilgrim VS. the World)!

-Recently someone on Twitter called me an "Elitist Vegan" because I drank a fair-trade iced coffee with soy milk from a chain coffee house. Now, can you think of better people to call elitist?
-I actually did meet Alicia at a book signing and told her all that I do in the vegan community and she wrote something nice in my book. She wrote, "thank God for you". So I don't want to bash her, I just want to ask her these questions and most certainly will if I ever canoodle with her again.

Kathy Freeston - How do you figure honey is vegan-friendly? And, are you crazy?

Rachel Bilson - You have such amazing style. Why can't you be a vegan-friendly fashionista and save a whole lotta animals' lives? If you did become vegan I would propose marriage to you. Sorry hubby, its vegan Rachel Bilson! She is basically my girl crush.

Stella McCartney - How did you become some sort of ambassador for veganism when you recently hosted a party and served duck and dairy and your clothing line is also full of silk?? Yes you have vegan pieces and I commend you for it, but why not go all the way and really make a statement?

Woody Harrelson - You are awesome! Just the fact that you wouldn't even take a bite of a Twinkie in Zombieland and they made you an almost inedible vegan substitute for the filming, is just great and makes you such a cool vegan! My question is, why haven't you tried my Winkie yet?!??

So have you ever met a "famous" person before? Yeah, who? And also, what question(s) are you longing to ask your favorite star?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cramazing Meal Idea

We've all had those days...short on time, short on food, even shorter on ideas, which really sucks. So you basically have to make the best of what you have. When I have a refrigerator and pantry that's crazy stocked, you guys get three course meal recipes that include things like Tofu Scallops. On other days, you get ideas like this meal you see now - which is me making the best with what I have today.

We needed dinner, and we needed it fast! I look in the refrigerator....almond milk, purple stuff, Soyrizo! I look in the freezer and I have Gardein's Seven Grain Crispy Tenders and a bag of frozen green beans. So I had to get started! I basically cooked the green beans in a saute pan with olive oil, after a few moments I added the Soyrizo, and then the Gardein, added a splash of terriyaki sauce, and a few seasonings, and Cramazing was born! A dish that is crazy...but ended up tasting amazing. I threw this Cramazing over some leftover brown rice that was also in my fridge, and we were good to go!

I hope this gives you inspiration for when you have one of those dinners of desperation. You may even want to try this Cramazing dish for yourself! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Tootles!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's All Greek to Me

"I fear the man who drinks water and so remembers this morning, what the rest of us said last night." -Greek Proverb

The Greeks are pretty smart. And they just so happen to be a culture as obsessed with food as us Italian folks. So I took a traditional Greek dish, veganized it, and possibly slightly Italianized it. Sorry to all my Greek friends, its in my blood and I can't help being Italian in everything that I do.

About the dish: this is my vegan take on a Greek dish called Kotopoulo me Bamies, or otherwise known as "Chicken" and Okra Stew. Its pretty delicious and I'm quite addicted to the simplicity of the ingredients as well as the mega-amazing taste! I tried this two ways, as stew and also over brown rice. It was really yummy either way, but I liked having it without the rice for a real stew experience. Read on to find out how you too can easily be eating vegan Greek food in practically no time! Sta arxidia mou!

DV's Greek Inspired "Chick'n" and Okra Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 sweet potato, cubed
26 oz tomato sauce
2/3 cup water
2 cups okra, cut
10.5 oz vegan "chick'n" strips (I used Gardein's Mandarin Orange Crispy minus the sauce packet - the texture of this product is perfect for what I wanted in this dish!)
1/2 lemon (just the juice squeezed from it)
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, and sweet potato for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add tomato sauce, water, and okra and heat for a few moments until thoroughly combined. Add "chick'n" strips and squeezed lemon juice, simmer on medium-low heat for about 15- 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft (time will also depend on how small you cube them). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as stew or over rice, noodles, pasta or with bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fast, Fun, & Delish, High Protein Snack

"We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are." -Adelle Davis

Here is a fun and fast snack idea that I eat all the time, especially when I know my body needs some protein. This can be a great pre or post workout snack, or just a fun way to "indulge" because these roll-ups taste seriously naughty. Have fun!

Tofurky Roll-Ups

What you will need:

5 slices of Tofurky Deli Slices (I used Hickory Smoked)
2- 4 tbsp hummus (I used garlic flavor with little bits of fresh garlic in it)
1/2 tomato, cut into 5 wedges
fresh herbs (optional)

Step 1: Lay out Tofurky slices.
Step 2: Place dollops of hummus and tomato wedges in the center of the slices.

Step 3: Roll up using hummus to stick slices together and top exposed hummus with fresh herbs. I used dill.

Cool Variations of this snack:

-Use avocado instead of tomato
-Use bell pepper instead of tomato to add some crunch to this snack
-Use different types of deli slices and hummus for some variety

Comment below or holler at me on Twitter and Facebook if you have any neat suggestions for variations of this snack. I love hearing them!

Protein Breakdown:

5 Tofurky Deli Slices - 13g
2- 4 tbsp hummus - 2 to 4g (depending on brand)
1/2 tomato - 1g (depending on size/ type)

My snack that I just ate contained a total 18g of protein. Quite good for just a mid-morning snack, especially since I eat vegan protein with each meal. Feel free to share this post with anyone who thinks that plant based diets equate to lack of protein. Dirty Vegans are definitely proof that we love our food, and we don't skimp! Hope you can fit a fun roll-up into your day (or at least your week)! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Get Fit for the New Year

This is the time of year that everyone is thinking about getting healthy. The holidays are over (for the most part - hello, yummy vegan Valentine Chocolates!), and people are back at the gym in full force and wanting to eat a little healthier.

Pure Fit Nutrition Bars was kind enough to send me some of their yummy fitness bars to try and here is what I think.

I received Pure Fit Bars in the following flavors: Granola Crunch, Peanut Butter Crunch, Berry Almond Crunch, Chocolate Brownie, and Almond Crunch. The bars are vegan, gluten-free, and contain a ton of nutrition, including 20% iron and a whopping 18g of protein!

When I was in high school, I was very athletic, active, and health conscious. At that time, I was not full vegetarian yet, I ate protein bars, ran track, and went to the gym. My fitness level and figure was not near as amazing as it is today, as a Dirty Vegan. I eat pretty Naughty now, but am in the best shape of my life. Back then I was all into health and fitness, but could not attain the levels of fitness and make my body look the way it looks right now, as I live a completely Dirty Vegan lifestyle. I think that is quite funny for all those naysayers who have negative things to say about veganism.

Now, as a Dirty Vegan, I want to be back in the health freak club sometimes. I sometimes miss that whole gym-going lifestyle of grabbing a protein bar that had that specific taste, and going to the gym. Just the act of it, for me is nostalgic to my teenage years. Even though I wasn't at peek fitness level (or what I would even consider acceptable by my current standards) back then, it was the motivation that I held and having these supplements and products behind me was important.

So when I took one bite of the Pure Fit Berry Almond Crunch bar, I felt like I just took a bite of my adolescence. I felt the sudden urge to hit the gym (which you all know is very unusual for me). To have a vegan bar like Pure Fit that contains a great amount of protein and nutrients, be gluten-free, and be extremely competitive to the non-vegan bars out there, is really cool to me. Most of the competition is junk - Pure Fit is like winning the vegan health lottery.

So if you are looking for a product to help you reach your 2012 fitness and health goals, I would definitely recomend these bars.

Peanut Butter Crunch are my favorite flavor from the line! Yum!

So what are your New Year's fitness plans? What is your resolution this year? Are you sticking to it so far?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Being Vegan at the Melting Pot Restaurant (Fondue Me!)

It really takes my mother thinking I was dead because I wasn't blogging regularly, to be the push I needed to get back in the game. I thought, gees if this is what my mother thinks, imagine my poor readers! Ha!

Without further adieu, Happy New Year! This is what my New Year's Eve partying consisted of...

So, based on the title of this post, you are probably thinking, "Dirty Vegan, why must you tease us about vegans being able to tango at the fondue restaurant?"...well tease I don't. When the Dirty Vegan dines, she receives plentiful amounts of delicious vegan eatables, and the Melting Pot in Providence, RI was just the place to wine and dine this Naughty lady! Check out the multi-course vegan meal I was accommodated with!

To start, sesame crusted tofu, mandarin, and teriyaki sauce!

Some of the fine foods that I got to cook in a scrumptious vegan broth then dip in an assortment of sauces. Prior to this, I had yummy fruits and veggies to dip in a generous pot of vegan spinach and artichoke cheese fondue! Yes, the motherload!

Vegan Chocolate Fondue!!! To dip...

Fruits, cookies, cake, and my personal favorite...pieces of Go Max Go candy bars in each assortment!!!

While I cannot promise the red carpet treatment that I received dining as the Dirty Vegan (i.e. my favorite food group, Go Max Go), I can say that yes this restaurant offers vegan options, and they are amazing. I always recommend calling ahead and letting them know you are vegan when making your reservations. The Melting Pot is definitely versed on the vegan lifestyle, as their manager Tyler has experience with vegan diet, cooking and lifestyle (and is such an awesome person! Love him!). This definitely should change the minds of your friends and families who think that us vegans cannot possibly dine with the rest of society (which statistics are beginning to prove that very soon vegetarians will no longer be the minority, we'll be the majority!). The Melting Pot did such an awesome job and I left the restaurant fat and happy!

Hope you have a vegan fat kid kind of day. Oh, and stop drooling at your computer! For now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.