31 May 2010

Ask A Vegan Pt. 4

Happy Memorial Day to everyone out there in blog land! Today was a pretty typical day for me, woke up before the sun, biked to work and schlepped a large quantity of groceries and came home. I was planning on settling my tired and a bit hung-over body on the couch for a nap when I remembered today was Monday, Ask A Vegan day and my energy was renewed. I have quite an extraordinary chap who is my Vegan of the week who I met through the wonderful photo sharing world of Flickr. It is always nice to see some one's life in pictures and Kieth impressed me from day one. It may have been the photo of his Bonsai plant or maybe his guess what this photo is game. Either way I knew one day I would make a trip to London and have a couch to crash on. (: This guy is my Flickr soul mate. I hope you enjoy hi responses and as mentioned before if you would like to see any new questions of have any ideas on how to improve my Ask A Vegan feature, I am all ears.

isn't he adorable?

Name: Keith Dickinson
Age: 36
Location: London
Website: www.mybrandnewlife.wordpress.com

How long have you been Vegan?
I've been vegan for about 2-3 years now. Before that I was vegetarian for a year or two, and before that piscatarian (a fish eater) for a couple of years.

What made you decide to go Vegan?
Well, it was as I got into Buddhism that I realised I had to go veggie, when I decided to follow the five precepts for the lay Buddhist, one of which being 'no killing'. Becoming vegan was kind of an extension of that, as I realised by drinking milk and eating eggs I was being complicit in the mistreatment of animals, and karmically that ain't good, so I didn't feel like I had any choice; I had to go vegan.

How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
I feel great about it. I've never had any negative effects from being vegan, though I am mindful of including a variety of foods in my diet.

Are you open about your Veganism?
Absolutely, but I don't bang on about it. If people ask I'll answer their questions, but usually I just do my thing and let other people do theirs.

If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…
Not really. I prefer Gandhi's philosophy of "be the change you wish to see in the world". Hopefully as people see the positive effect being vegan has on me, and all the lovely food I still get to eat, they'll decide to give it a go themselves. Kind of like changing the world one cupcake at a time, hahaha.

What does your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
Some are bemused by it, and one or two think it's a bit extremist, but mostly they're quite supportive and genuinely interested in what it's like to be vegan.

What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
Go for it! And above all else, be forgiving of yourself when you slip up. The first six months I kept buying stuff that had little bits of milk or egg hidden in them way down the list of ingredients. Eventually you'll get used to what to look for, you'll know which products are 'safe', and you won't have to think about it most of the time, it'll become second nature.

Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?
Hell no! I stopped eating there even before I gave up meat. In fact I don't think I've been in a McDonald's so far this century, that's how little I rate their 'food'.

What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
"What do you eat?" I mean for crying out loud, what do you want, a list?
Also, when I tell people I'm vegan to "not bring harm" to anything, they take great delight in bringing up the "harming" plants. What do you say to that? These days, unless they've managed to eliminate plants from their diet, I refuse to discuss it with them.

What is your favorite dish?
I'm British, so anything involving chips is fine with me. But if I was on death row I reckon I'd ask for a proper English Breakfast: Linda MacCartney sausages, hash browns, mushrooms, beans, scrambled tofu, facon (see recipe at end), onion, fried bread! Aawwww yeah!!!

What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
We don't do the Thanksgiving thing over here, but for Christmas dinner I do an nut roast with roast potatoes, roast parsnip, carrots, brussel sprouts, stuffing and onion gravy. It's the business.

If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. I'm a man of simple pleasures. :o)

Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.

This isn't one of my own, but it was the one that made me think I'd be ok going vegan (Christmas dinner and bacon butties being the two things that trip most people up). It's for tofu fake bacon, or as I like to call it... Facon!



1 lb firm Tofu, cut into strips shaped like bacon
2 tblsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tblsp tamari/shoyu sauce
1 tsp Wright's (or other brand) liquid smoke
1 tblsp oil (something neutral, not olive or sesame)

Fry tofu strips on low or medium heat until they are crispy on the outside. The best way to do this is to lay them in the pan in the oil and let them sit for at least 10 minutes, simmering. They should turn easily after that. Turn them and give them another 10 minutes on the other side.

Mix the tamari/shoyu soy sauce with the liquid smoke first, then take the pan off the heat. Pour the liquid smoke/tamari into the pan and stir the tofu so all sides are coated, then sprinkle the yeast over all, stir some more, over the heat, until the liquid is gone and the tofu is covered with sticky yeast. Try it. It tastes EXACTLY like bacon.

30 May 2010

Post 51 Pancakes

Good morning all of you dewy eyed children. Today is a weekend day and I have it off! Brilliant! This never happens, normally I wake up at four A.M. every weekend and get ready for work, by get ready I mean drag my butt all across the house nearly knocking anything in my way over, putting my shoes on the wrong feet and forgetting something of importance every time I leave for work. My brain is inoperable until around six A.M. so morning time equals clumsy time for me. Today I was relieved when I got to sleep in until 5:45 (yep, that is sleeping IN) and I got out of bed well rested and ravenous.

I decided to make a cheerful breakfast and having been inspired by a random photo on Tumblr I made rainbow pancakes. I am still beaming from their happiness in a round doughy disc. The recipe is the basic pancake recipe from VWAV but with an added banana, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour. Yum!

here I go...

so fun to eat!

nom nom nom

oh so good,




27 May 2010

Random Food Photos

This is what I have been eating and baking for the last week...

Lemon cupcakes with fondant bow for recent event

Cupcakes for Dani's birthday

Grilled artichokes

cherries! yummers!

brown rice with avocados, tomatoes, "chicken" and a home made "cheese" sauce mixed with black beand and chilis. This was crazy delish

I have been on a black-eyed pea kick. Thi is black-eyed peas with tomatoes, spinach and a veggie broth

Watermelon with sea salt and rosemary

Today I am going to make a raw cherry pie and some more black bean burrito goodies.

24 May 2010

Ask A Vegan! Pt. 3

Today for our Meatless Monday I am going to introduce all of you to Janet Hudson. I have been a fan of hers for quite some time now. The first time I "met" Janet was on Flickr. She had posted a photo of one of her cupcakes and I was floored. The flavor combinations and the decorating was astonishing. I immediately clicked on her profile and became infatuated. She had hundreds of photos of cookies, cakes, pies, salads and anything you could dream of eating was all there on her page. She is a goddess and bonafide wizard of the kitchen. I aspire to be one tenth the cook she is! That being said, I hope all of you check out her website and blog and discover for yourself the brilliant dishes she is creating.

Name: Janet Hudson
Age: Old Enough:)
Location: California

Check out....www.veganfeast.com, www.gonnagowalkthedog.vox.com, Wasabipeas@tumblr or tweet me.

How long have you been Vegan?
Since 1994

What made you decide to go Vegan?
Health reasons as well as morally.

How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
Never felt better. Ever.

Are you open about your Veganism?
Oh Yessssssssssss.

If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc
Sometimes as the need arises....probably should do more of that.

Janet's Norwich Terriers

What do your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet? Everyone respects it and I do what I can to be proactive about it with everyone.

What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
Take small steps...then you can realize the bigger ones aren't that big at all. Make small changes- margarine instead of butter, soy or nut milk instead of cow's...then go from there. Stay away from processed foods.

Black Bean soup

Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?

What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet? How do you do it, it is so hard.....IT IS SO EASY!

What is your favorite dish?
Wow, I can honestly say that I do not have one- I can tell you that I do not like peas or lima beans though. That is a texture childhood thing I am afraid....

What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
I do not care to much for Tofurky....give me fresh vegetables any day. You can check out my FlickR stream for Thanksgiving feasts at our house.

pucker up lemon cupcake

If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?That is hard because you should know how much I love cupcakes by now. Right now I would say vanilla or lemon.

Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.
Here is a great focaccia bread recipe I do all the time...great for all sorts of celebrations, etc.:

2 packages active dry yeast
1 tsp raw sugar
1 ½ cup warm water
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp sea salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp oregano, minced

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup warm water- allow mixture to foam.
In a second bowl, mix rest of warm water with olive oil and salt. Add in the yeast mixture. Slowly add flour until dough forms. Transfer onto a floured board and knead 15 minutes until smooth. Place dough into an oiled bowl, turn to coat well and cover with towel- place in a warm area and allow rising until doubled, about an hour.

Pinch dough and knead 7 minutes. Add onion and oregano, mixing well. Roll out onto cookie sheet, cover, and allow rising again one more hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drizzle dough with a little olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Bake 15to 20 minutes or until brown. Cut and serve warm.

Janet with husband Tom

20 May 2010

Live Chocolate Mousse

As I mentioned yesterday it is heating up here in the desert and the thought of turning on the oven to bring sweet treats to my grumbling tummy is not a pleasant one. Sometimes I imagine my famine filled face passing out as the oven heat waves leave me light headed. From there I fall gracefully into a heap on the kitchen floor and my dessert, my master prize, burns to a blackened mess all the while I dream of butterflies. I will awaken to the smell of burning delicacies and cry my weak heart out as I find my pie, my chocolate cake, my sweet tray of cookies have become inedible. Though this has never happened, I fear it. I have haunting nightmares of burned sweets.

But I will not fear, there is hope that lies outside of the soul scorching oven, it is called...the refrigerator!

Okay, enough of the drama, yesterday I mad a delicious chocolate mousse out of avocados. It sounds crazy but it is not only a healthy treat but an amazingly tasty treat! The recipe is adapted from a simple recipe from the Vegetarian Times magazine.

1 1/2 avocados
1 banana
5 medium strawberries
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (you can use cocoa if you like)
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Additional fruit to top the mousse with (optional)

Toss all ingredients into a food processor or blender, mix until smooth and refrigerate for at least one hour. Enjoy!

19 May 2010

Bathing Suit Weather

It is happening, just as it happens this time every year. The desert is heating up and the weaker beautiful plants are wilting and dying. I say it every year, but I hate the summers in Arizona. As a wee lass I loved it, I would run barefoot on the sweltering, hot asphalt in my Wonder Woman underoos screaming out in joy. I never once complained of the discomfort of the heat, nor did I dream of bath tubs filled with ice and a car with air conditioning. Now as and adult-child (not quite a real adult) I feel the summer depression hit. No longer will I be able to go on my three to four hour bike rides (unless I desire heat stroke) baking will turn from a passion into a horrifying hellish nightmare as the kitchen heats up but never cools down and I will be sticky with sweat from now until October. I despise Arizona summers. So to cheer myself up from the inevitable discomfort that is vastly approaching I went online and found photos of what real summers look like, summers where people can go outside and play and I have also added a few photos of my own from the last week that will hopefully let Spring linger on in my heart a bit longer.

"oh woman, I wanna go surfing. I don't care about nothing"

her shorts are lovely!

and on to my photos

taken by Dani

17 May 2010

Ask A Vegan! Pt. 2

This week's Vegan is none other than the wonderful Katie at Unkamama. She is so friggen' cool and creative I had to feature her on my blog. I have a list of all the Vegans I want to feature and she was right near the top! I was introduced to Katie (via blogspot) by the amazing Courtney (also Vegan) and I have been one smitten kitten ever since. I hope you enjoy her answers and check out her blog. She is truly something special.

Name: Katie
Age: 29
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Website: kjjventura.blogspot.com

at an anti-fur protest with son John

How long have you been Vegan?
Since February 2009

What made you decide to go Vegan?
I had been a vegetarian for about 5 years. I knew that I needed to make the next step, but I kept talking myself out of it and just generally deluding myself about the egg and dairy industries. In February 2009, I saw a small documentary called Seeing Through the Fence. The movie really resonated with me, and made me feel like a hypocrite for being a lacto/ovo vegetarian. I really felt like I wasn't doing enough, so many animals are hurt because of the factory farming industries that I was still supporting. The next day I became a vegan and never once have I regretted it.

How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
I lost about 60 pounds after I went vegan. I feel much better, but I still have a long way to go. I am a strict vegan, but I am not the healthiest vegan. I am learning to be a better cook and to make my own stuff as opposed to buying pre-packaged stuff.

Are you open about your Veganism?
Totally, I am proud to be a vegan and love to answer questions for people. I just try very hard not to be too pushy and preachy.

If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…
I try to be, but this is another area that I know I can grow in. I enjoy going to protests and I am anxious to do some leafleting when the weather cools down again.

Farm Sanctuary walk

What does your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
Everyone close to me is supportive, but they all pretty much wish I wasn't a vegan. I know a lot of my family feels like it is inconvenient for them because meals are different now. My husband, who is not vegan is incredibly supportive, and supports raising our two year old as a vegan. Most other people are just very curious about the lifestyle.

What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
I would say not to worry about all of the things that you will be giving up because there are so many wonderful vegan options out there now. You can almost always find some sort of vegan substitute to replace a non-vegan option. Remember that you are doing something that is going to make and impact on countless lives, including your own, so you should be proud!

Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?
No way, I have major issues with McDonald's aside from just the food that they carry.

What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
I have two:
1. The famous, "Do you get enough protein?"
2. A lot of people ask me, "But you still kill plants, how do you know that they don't feel things?" I think most of the time people just to it to aggravate me, because no one could honestly believe that. (I get this same harassment. Plants have feeling too...give me a break!)

What is your favorite dish?
Veggie bake is a staple in my fridge. We just buy a bunch of veggies, prepare them, put a little oil and rosemary on top and bake it for 45 minutes or so. Awesome and easy!

What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
It is our new family tradition to go to ThanksLiving at green. Last year we had a breaded "chicken" stuffing, corn, salad, bread, pecan pie...and more that I can't remember.

ThanksLiving at Green

If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
Hmmm, is there such a thing as a vegan cheesecake cupcake? That sounds awesome :)
(there are cheesecake brownies, so a cheesecake cupcake is VERY possible)

Thanks Katie! You are super awesome!

13 May 2010

An Afternoon In The Park

Today I spent the day hanging out with my good friend Frank whom I have known for almost 10 years now. He asked me recently to take some photos of him practicing his Tai Chi form. He has just started a school to teach Tai Chi Ch'uan and wanted the photos for his website. Frank is very skilled at instructing and I have even taken a few classes. It was funny to see my friend very serious when teaching me the form. He actually smacked me a couple of times in order for me to stop looking at him as a friend during practice but as my teacher. Around the third or fourth smack I caught on and became a darn good student. That was over two years ago. Since then Frank has just been honing in on his skills and I am mighty impressed by what he can do. I have every bit of faith in him and I know his school will succeed. So needless to say, I was felt very honored when he asked me to take the photos for his site. We went to a park nearby and had a good afternoon hanging out at shooting some pretty sweet photos. When I came home I edited some of them and these are my favorites. Some are a little over the top, but all in good fun.

1960's Tai Chi master

my favorite

flying swordsman


holding his chi

moving the earth around him

I gave him a "mom" tattoo :)

10 May 2010

Ask A Vegan!

I have been wanting to do a weekly feature on my blog for a few weeks now and I wasn't sure if I was up to the Wednesday Wishes (I have more delusional fantasies then wishes)or enough tattooed friends to do the Tattoo Tuesday (most are prison grade tattoos...ha! just a joke) so I decided upon my own lil' awesome weekly thing-a-ma-bob. And now without further ado allow me to introduce...Ask A Vegan! *applause* (crowd goes wild, I think someone lost a shirt!) See what I mean by delusional? So anywho back to what I was saying, Ask A Vegan will be every Monday with a new Vegan giving me answers to some pretty rad (basic) and clever (basic) questions I have put together with my sweet and highly attune (delusional) brain. The answers will not be censored so I hope they do not offend. Since this is my very first Ask A Vegan there will definitely be needs for improvement so please if you have and suggestions or ideas please let me know. And if you are Vegan and you would like to participate, I would love it! Just shoot me an email and who knows maybe you will be next week's victim...er, I mean Vegan. (:

My first pick is my buddy Brian. He and his lady Erin are super cool! I met/stalked them at Trader Joe's. I rang them up one day and Brian was wearing this awesome Vegan shirt his friend in Phoenix made for him and it was like at first sight. We went out on our first double date not long after that, and the rest is as they say, history.

Name: Brian Straub
Location: Tempe

How long have you been Vegan?
12 years.

What made you decide to go Vegan?
I no longer wanted to participate in the exploitation of animals for food, clothing and other products.

How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
The same.

Are you open about your Veganism?
I am out of the closet.

If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…
Not currently, but I founded the Animal Welfare Alliance of AZ back in the early 2000's, which was a pretty active group for a couple of years. We did some cool demonstrations at rodeos, animal research facilities, circuses and other industries that exploit animals.

What does your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
I would consider this more than a diet, I consider veganism a lifestyle and belief system. many of my friends and some family think veganism is interesting.

What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
Avoid thinking that becoming vegan is a huge change and difficult. Transition by eating vegan meals here and there and then switch.

Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?

What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
How do you get your protein? If I become vegan, will I have a bodybuilder physique like you?:)

What is your favorite dish?
Not sure about a dish, but Asian food is my favorite.

What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?

Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. Last year I tied the veggie ham from the vegetarian house and it is great.

If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
Chocolate and peanut butter.

Please share your favorite Vegan Recipe:

It is not my favorite, but I love it.

Vegan chili

Green olives-one half 14oz jar, sliced

Morning star farms meat crumblers-1 bag

Green chilies mild diced-one 7oz can

Chili beans in sauce-one 15oz can

Kidney beans-one 15oz can

Pinto beans-one 15oz can

Plum tomatoes, whole peeled-two 28oz cans with sauce, tomatoes sliced up

Garlic-5 crushed/minced cloves

White onion-1 whole chopped

JalapeƱo pepper-2 peppers chopped



Cook onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients. Add ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, sriracha (hot sauce) sauce and cayenne powder to taste. Cook for approximately 60 minutes. Add cut cilantro to the top of chili once in bowl. Prepare for nose and rim singers.

Now, wasn't that fun?

09 May 2010

Chocolate Jalapeno Cookies

They sound strange, I know. When I started baking them Tim made the sound of a cat yacking up a hairball. But that is OK, "Whatevs," I said and dusted my apron off. I was curious about how these little guys would turn out and much to my surprise they are my new favorite cookie. I had them at the bake sale and they got many odd stares but those souls brave enough to bite into them smiled and licked their lips in approval. They are not spicy at all, but they do have a jalapeno taste, and if you are a fan of mole poblano sauce you will definitely enjoy these.

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup Earth Balance (squishy, room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground flax
2 T. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 jalapenos, finely diced
powdered sugar, to sprinkle on tops

Mix flour and baking soda together in bowl. In mixer beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy like a bunny. Add flax, water and vanilla and beat for about a minute. Add flour mixture to buttery gooieness and beat until smooth. Split into two sections and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about a hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease up your cookie sheets, cause' it is time to party!

Remove 1/2 of dough from refrigerator and roll out with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Cut into desired shape with cookie cutters (I chose stars)sprinkle on the powdered sugar and place on cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then place on cookie rack to cool completely.

Then eat until the cows come home!