vegantrash

HOT TOFU HUGGING ACTION! Today, is ‘Hug a Vegetarian Day!' 

I’m not lying! Click here for proof, doubters.

'Hug a Vegetarian Day’ was created for hugging the people who love animals the most: VEGETARIANS and VEGANS!!! So demand a warm embrace from everyone around you for being so damn compassionate towards animals & spread the love!

Feel free to reblog, tweet, forward, and/or fax the 'tofu on tofu, no meat allowed’ graphic to spread the awareness of this ever-so-important holiday.

COOKBOOKS YOU SHOULD ALREADY OWN: COLOR ME VEGAN  

Color Me Vegan is a beautiful cookbook that consists of healthy, vibrant recipes inspired by the color spectrum. There are over 150 antioxiadan-rich, fiber-packed and colorful recipes to maximize nutrient intake and optimize health (their words, not mine). The chapters are dedicated to specific colors, and contain helpful information about what nutrients are found in foods of specific hues. The recipes are easy to prepare, wholesome, healthful, encourage your palate to experience new and unique flavor combinations and textures. The recipes are not typical and you will not find instructions on how to make common, everyday vegetable based vegan meals… but that is what makes this collection of recipes so special. I love to use this particular cookbook when cooking for company, because when you choose items from each chapter, you can present a truly remarkable looking and tasting meal that shows how exciting vegan eating can be. Some of my loves so far include:

  • Carrot Puree - A simple purred carrot dish with a touch of cloves that remind me of a sweet potato mash. A wonderful accompaniment to a meal or if you are me, you can eat all 4 servings as a meal. God, I love carrots.
  • Curried Cauliflower Soup - I think this is my favorite so far. It is a creamy, spicy soup that consists of cauliflower, onion and apple, providing a unique and satisfying soup that is crazy-low in calories and oh, so filling!
  • Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Pecans - The name basically explains the dish, but this is a great way to enjoy the not-so-popular brussels sprouts. Warm, wholesome, and unique, this melange of flavors makes a great vacation from a boring salad.
  • Walnut Basil Pesto - I love basil, I love walnuts. I knew this recipe would be a win-win before I even tried it. This pesto makes a great pasta sauce substitution, sandwich spread, or pizza sauce. You can make it in bulk, freeze it, and enjoy often.
  • Edamame Soup - This is a beautiful olive colored, potato based soup that has a hidden source of protein from the edamame. I tend to make this often for company, because it just looks so damn beautiful. The recommended drizzling of toasted sesame oil is a MUST when garnishing, it truly makes the soup even more delicious.

If you are looking for new and exciting recipes that don’t include typical, boring meals, Color Me Vegan is highly recommended. You can learn more about this amazing cookbook and even try out several recipes here.

COOKBOOKS YOU SHOULD ALREADY OWN:
VEGAN WITH A VENGEANCE

Being a vegan isn’t hard, you just stop eating animals. But, if you are looking for killer ways to not eat our furry friends, then Vegan With a Vengeance is a great place to start.

Author Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a goddess. If you don’t already know this, you will soon learn. She has created a collection of recipes that are neither time consuming nor complicated, consist of common ingredients, & are absolutely freaking, drop-dead delicious. VWaV is can attractive for new and wanna-be vegans, because amongst the recipes are: tips and tricks, basic pantry stocking suggestions, vegan substitutions and variation ideas. But do not fret, experienced vegan chef, this recipe collection will still be exciting and appeal to you as well.

Vegan With a Vengeance was one of my first vegan cookbooks and it is still one of the most frequently used cookbooks I own. Recipes cover a little bit of everything, including: brunch, muffins and scones, soups, sandwiches, pizza, pastas, tofu, seitan, cookies, and pies, & everything that I have made thus far has made my stomach satisfied, heart happy, & my meat-eating friends swoon. True stories.


These are some of the recipes I absolutely love & frequently make:

  • Chickpea Broccoli Casserole - A creamy, omnivore approved, veggie-packed casserole that proves that cheese isn’t necessary to succeed when making a casserole. This is probably my favorite recipe from VWaV that I have made thus far.
  • Basic Pancakes - You don’t need eggs & dairy to produce amazing fluffy golden pancakes. This easy and adaptable recipe will prove that and help make mornings worth waking up for.
  • Black Bean, Mushroom, & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - I used to love stuffed peppers as a kid & this recipe helped me reconnect with wonderful childhood memories of home cooked dinners. This is a great and “meaty” dish that will satisfy your palate and fill your belly.
  • Basic Maranated Tofu - A basic baked tofu recipe that I make often. A balsamic, garlic, & thyme marinade makes a flavorful tofu base for salads, sandwiches, & stir frys. It’s super easy to prepare too.

So hey slackers, if you don’t already have this cookbook, you should. Order VWAV here & start cooking for your carnivorous, doubter friends. They will be amazed by your newly found awesomeness. 


Tree Nut Cheeses from Dr-Cow. 
Organic - Raw - Unpasteurized - Gluten & Dairy Free - Vegan.

I have been eating as pure and raw as possible, switching my focus from fake or faux to plant based. No more frozen fake meat strips, pre-packaged sugar ridden cookies, nor sprinkled cheese substitutes for me. More salads, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, and grains. I want to eat food from the earth, not from the laboratory. 

Just because I have chosen to evolve my diet, doesn’t mean that I consistently and boringly eat veggies, nuts, seeds, and fruit. The vegan/raw food world is flourishing and we, the real-food vegan superstars, get to benefit from it! When I first went vegan, the only non-dairy cheese available was a tasteless, paste-like substance that didn’t even consider melting. Now, I’m eating raw organic, artisan nut based cheeses on raw rosemary-sage flax crackers… Real food is amazing!

Now let’s talk about this cheese…

I saw a post on facebook that Whole Foods Market Pittsburgh received a shipment of new products, which happened to be the recently sought after tree nut cheeses from Dr-Cow! The next possible chance I had, I went to pick some up (along with 5,243 different things… damn those impulse purchases). Just when I thought I tried everything that the vegan food world had to offer, these amazing morsels came across my palate; my life has been changed once again. The three varieties (pictured above) were the available offerings that I was blessed to experience:

  • Cashew Nuts & Kale Cheese
  • Aged Cashew & Blue Green Cheese
  • Aged Macadamia Nut Cheese

The Aged Cashew & Blue Green cheese was my absolute favorite. Sharp firm, and pungent, it’s perfectly aged and ever-so addictive. The Cashew Kale is a close second, slightly less-sharp then the Blue Green cheese and with a hint of earthiness from the kale. My least favorite, but still delicious, is the Macadamia Nut. It was much softer with no sharpness nor any pungency, at all. The Macadamia Nut would please the larger masses while the other two are suggested only for developed palates. My wife challenges my opinion. She liked the Macadamia Nut but couldn’t stomach the Aged Cashew & Blue Green or the Cashew & Kale.

Do be aware, these products may not appeal to your tastes, and they do carry a hefty price tag. Ask your local Whole Foods if you can sample one before you buy it. Whole Foods Pittsburgh actually offered to open one up for me (true story) and I appreciatively accepted. 

Dr-Cow products are amazing because they aren’t filled lame ingredients such as: palm, canola and/or safflower oils, preservatives, stabilizers, artificial ingredients or additives. I am aware that there are faux cheese brands, like Daiya, that taste great and have revolutionized the dairy-free cheese universe, but they do typically contain a lot of oil… and no matter what way you look at it, oil is 100% fat.

Plant-based foods are the future!

Anticipating “Isa Does It.”

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, vegan goddess, started to share some behind the scenes photos of her highly anticipated new cookbook again, “Isa Does It.” The beautiful works of art that have been making me drool over my phone/keyboard lately have been taken by the amazing vegan food photographer Vanessa Rees. Serious, just look above… they are stunning! The idea behind “Isa Does It” is vegan weeknight cooking from scratch…made easy. SOLD. This will be Isa’s first hardcover/full-color cookbook and I simply just cant wait. It’s expected to be released this coming fall, so if we can just finish up winter and breeze through spring, all will be right with the world. 

*photo credit: v.k.rees

A Welcomed Accident:  Healthy PB&J Ice Cream!

I recently returned from the gym and wanted to make a protein shake. I grabbed couple of frozen bananas, some un-sweetend almond milk, & my VEGA Sport Performance Protein powder. My previous smoothie I made was a bit too thin for my liking, so I decided to be extra careful when adding the almond milk this time. What I soon discovered was that by reducing the amount of liquid, the bananas and powder blended so beautifully, it resulted in a silky smooth, ice cream-like texture. I sampled it and woah

It was delicious, but it was missing something. Peanut butter. 

I grabbed a spoonful of PB and plopped it in the blender. After a second taste, it was ready perfect. The berry flavor of the protein powder, the smooth roasted taste of the peanut butter, and the subtle sweetness of the frozen bananas melded into a beautiful symphony reminiscent of the beloved PB&J sandwich. The best part? NO GUILT! This protein packed frozen treat contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners & has a whopping 29 grams of protein.  Dare I say it? You could even eat this for breakfast.
 

Protein Packed PB&J Ice Cream 

  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 scoop of your favorite berry flavored protein powder (VEGA Sport)
  • unsweetened almond milk, to thin.

Place the frozen bananas into a high-powered blender and drizzle in a small amount of almond milk.

Blend on a low speed until the bananas start to break down and become smooth. (You may need the assistance of the blender’s agitator, or a spatula, to help the banana chunks get to the blade.)

Add the protein powder and peanut butter and blend (now on a medium speed) to incorporate, scraping down the sides often.

Carefully drizzle a little more almond milk (if necessary) to reach a desired, ice cream-like consistency. 

EAT & NEVER SHARE.
 



Now I wonder… what other flavors could be used to create a healthy protein-packed ice cream?

The Best Non-Dairy Beverage Yet!**

So did anyone know this existed? I usually hear about this stuff weeks before it is available, but this new product was ever so sneaky. My goto non-dairy beverage is usually unsweetened almond milk, either the Almond Breeze or Silk varieties (usually whatever has a better promotional price at the time). Soy is soooo 2011 & I tried unsweetened coconut milk, not once… but twice, because everything deserves a second chance. I was disappointed (twice) by its bitterness & lack of coconut flavor. Shame on you SoDelicious brand… double shame!

I recently stumbled upon this beautiful tropical oasis of a package and decided to give a coconut/almond milk hybrid a try. Expecting the worst, I took a swig and hot damn, I instantly was in love. A perfectly smooth consistency, slightly nutty taste, with a hit of coconut flavor…this non-dairy delight made my eye-lashes flutter as I saw visions of glittered bunnies, flying tofu angels, & everything else that is right in this world.

My most genuine applause to you Blue Diamond Almond brand…this beverage is simply brilliant. 




Let us discuss:
What’s your favorite non-dairy beverage? 


 

**This is only my opinion, therefore it’s a fact.

Meet the Ugli.

Recently, I have started a little “game” that I play when I go grocery shopping. I am required to return with a fruit or vegetable that I have not tried before. Then, I take it home, look up what the hell I should be doing with it, and try it out for myself.

Ihave read that our openness to try new foods shuts off around the age of 39 years old, and although I still have a quite bit time until I reach that age, I want to use this willingness to it’s greatest capacity. 

My first experience in this new adventure was with: The Ugli Fruit

Although unattractive, this exotic Jamaican fruit was DELICIOUS. It’s easy to peel and eats like an orange. The taste reminded me of a tangerine, grapefruit, and lemon hybrid but with a very low acidity and mild tartness. The white membrane was a bit chewier then I would have expected, but I actually preferred it over the membrane of an orange or a grapefruit. My favorite part about ugli fruit though is how amazingly juicy it is! I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this fruit was & I will be buying it again.

 

Have you tried ugli fruit before?

Starbucks Announces the Removal of Cochineal Extract After Angry Vegans Go Batshit!

Vegans rejoiced once Starbucks gave customers the option to customize the ever-so-popular Frappuccino. Soy-based blended icy goodness for the win! Then, Starbucks recently and sneakily reformulated the once vegan-friendly strawberry sauce by adding cochineal extract (an “all natural” dye made from crushed red bugs). Lame sauce!

Shortly after, vegans went on a technological rampage, blogging, tweeting, and writing about their disappointments with the change. This rampage sparked a public concern (from both vegans and non vegans) of why bugs are being used in our food in the first place.

Now, Starbucks has decided to, once again, reformulate any items containing cochineal extract by replacing it with lycopene (a natural tomato-based extract). You can read the official announcement from the Starbucks blog here.

My thoughts? I think it is pretty of badass that the public spoke-up and action was taken. So the moral of this story? Never Be Silent!



(image source : www.frappuccino.ca)

Cruelty-Free Chocolates.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about love. It’s also about eating chocolate and not feeling guilty and utterly terrible about life. If that chocolate is cruelty-free, then my friends… consider it a double bonus.

These are my favorite sweets to reward my good awesome behaviors. 

**eat responsibly.
 
 

SWEET & SARA

Their Story:
A 100% vegan online bakery focusing mostly on gelatin-free marshmallow-based treats.
Chocolatey Offerings: 
 Original Smores, Peanut Butter Smores, Rocky Road Bark, Organic Macaroons (w/ chocolate drizzle), Mocha Almond Biscotti & Limited Valentine’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hearts.
Top Prize: Original Smore. They consist of a crunchy graham cracker topped with a delicately fluffy vegan mallow and thinly coated with organic Belgian dark chocolate..AMAZING. 
(website)
 

Rescue Chocolate

Their Story: A 100% vegan chocolate company that donates 100% of their net profits to animal rescue organizations across the US.
Chocolatey Offerings:
Peanut Butter Pit Bull (a crispy peanut butter bar), Wild at Heart (heart shaped chocolates), Bow Wow Bon-Bons (self-explanatory), Pick Me! Pepper (sweet and spicy bar), Foster-iffic Peppermint (minty chocolate bar), The Fix (66% dark chocolate bar), Mission Feral Fig (fig, cranberry, almond bar), & Fakin’ Bacon (sweet and salty faux bacon bar).
Top Prize: Peanut Butter Pit Bull. Creamy smooth peanut butter, with crispy rice & and a dark chocolate exterior. Damn, it is freaking wonderful.
(website)
 

Fearless Chocolate

Their Story: A vegan-friendly chocolate bar company that uses raw cacao and donates 1% of its annual profits to change makers suggested by its customers.
Chocolatey Offerings: 
 Dark As Midnight, Matcha Green Tea Peppermint, Super Seeds Hemp Chia Flax, Exploding Coconuts, Sweet and Hot Hibiscus Ginger. 
Top Prize: Matcha Green Tea Peppermint. Cooling peppermint, milky matcha & delicious raw chocolate? Talk about antioxidants! 
(website)


Go Max Foods

Their Story: A vegan family-owned and operated candy bar business that makes ridiculous vegan versions of classic candy bar flavors.
Chocolatey Offerings: 
Buccaneer (like 3 Musketeers), Twilight (like Milky Way), Jokerz (like Snickers), Mahalo (like Almond Joy), Snap! (like Nestle Crunch), Cleo’s (like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups)
Top Prize: I honestly can’t choose. They are all so delicious and oh so precious.
(website)





What are your favorite cruelty-free chocolate companies?

Don’t Forget About Celery!  

Although the taste and flexibility of celery may be considered lackluster by some, don’t turn your back on this super stalk!  Celery is a grand source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, & vitamin K - a decent source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium & phosphorus - and is super low in calories, saturated fat, & cholesterol!! So next time you are not even hungry but still feel the need to put something in your mouth, be sure to grab some sexy celery so your diet won’t hate you! 

Oh, and beware…when you do choose celery, make sure it is organic. Celery is considered a high-pesticide produce item so don’t buy conventional celery! (Unless you actually like eating a ton of chemicals and pesticides.) 

Need some low-calorie ideas to dress up your celery? Try using salsa, mustard, hot sauce, non-dairy cream cheese, hummus, smoked sea salt, a light salad dressing, and/or soy sauce… that is, if you must.

TROPICAL OVERNIGHT OATS
Makes one complete, no-cook breakfast @ 520 calories.

Oh overnight oats, how I love thee. Here is a delicious, no-cook recipe for all of you nay-sayers who think it is “too hard” to eat a great breakfast. Everything is done the night before, so I don’t care how rushed you think you are in the morning. Wake up 5 minutes early and eat damn it! Oh… doughnuts, cake, scones, and all the other sugary shit are not good breakfast choices, ok? Ok.

-What you need:

  • 2/3 cup oats 
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened dried coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 40 grams of dried tropical fruit (I used banana, mango, & pineapple)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup water 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • a medium-sized glass jar (like a reused glass peanut butter jar)

-What you do:

  • Combine oats, chia seeds, coconut, dried fruit, and cinnamon into a glass jar. 
  • Store in refrigerator.
  • Before bed, add liquid ingredients & stir well.
  • Return to fridge.
  • When ready to consume, add walnuts & enjoy straight out of the jar!

You can use fresh fruit instead, but I personally love how the dried fruit plumps while bathing in the liquid overnight. If you choose to use fresh fruit, add the next morning with the nuts. If you add the nuts and/or fresh fruit at night, they will become too soggy. These are great to take with too! If you have to work early, grab a spoon and take the jar with you. And don’t discriminate. Overnight oats can easily become afternoon oats, or later-in-the-day oats too. Have fun.

Useful Icons When Shopping for Vegan Shoes. 

I would die for these vegan boots from MooShoes, but I don’t have the income to provide such lovely, cruelty-free covers for my feet. Without being too depressed over it, I have discovered that there are vegan-friendly shoes out there that are easily accessible and reasonably priced. For instance, I personally have had luck at major retailers such as: Target, Payless, and H&M.

Yes, there really are shoes out there for us in the real-world, but they are not clearly labeled as “VEGAN,"so you have to do a bit of detective work to make sure. First, look behind the tongue or inside the shoe. If it states "ALL manmade materials” then you are safe… No dead animals here! Otherwise, it may say: “genuine leather”, “leather upper”, or “cow’s leather.” If that is the case, put the shoe back and realize how ugly it is.

If there is nothing inside the shoe, look on the bottom. You may see some hieroglyphics that nobody has ever explained to you… until now. There is one symbol that is a definite no-go and two that are quite visually pleasing.

The bottom of the shoe will symbols that indicate the materials of:

  1. the shoes’ upper
  2. the inner lining
  3. the shoes’ sole

If all three indicate either the diamond & crosshatch icons, you have found yourself a pair of conscious and kind shoes! Buy them and tell everyone that complements your choices in footwear that they are vegan friendly & they kick-ass!

A Colorful Perspective.

For the same caloric content as a (2.17oz) bag of original Skittles, you could eat:

  • 45 grapes
  • 15 strawberries
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange


That line up is much more attractive compared to the ingredient list on the back of the bag…

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Apple Juice from Concentrate, Citric Acid, Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Coloring (Includes Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 1), Ascorbic Acid.


By simply replacing the bag with the same fruit flavors, imagine all of the nutritional benefits you will be gaining as well as all of the S#!T you will be leaving behind.

I predict a skittles inspired fruit salad in my near future.