Welcome to In the Kitchen - a new series where I share some of my favorite recipes I’m making now along with the tools and gadgets I’m using to make meal prep a whole lot easier. Enjoy!Read More
Have you awoken yet from your Thanksgiving food coma? All I will admit to is a heaping portion of vegan broccoli casserole…well maybe some fried squash. Okay there was that adorable and tasty whipped sweet potato in orange rinds concoction, oh and greens beans…rosemary potatoes, pasta, chocolate tart, and all of that damn wine. Why am I writing this and not running a marathon right now?
Okay, I’m back.
The jingle jangling of holiday tunes reminds me that this is the perfect time of year to share vegan epicurean delights with your loved ones. Here are some of my suggestions for the foodie on your list!
Perhaps Mommy Dearest is still scratching her head over “What is there left for you to eat without the essentials of cheese, butter, and eggs?” She’ll happily accept a ride on the clue train when she unwraps Betty Goes Vegan ($15). From the adorable vintage inspired cover to the over 500 classic recipes, this one will result in a killer raw vegan pumpkin pie during Christmas break!
Does your stylist know how to throw down in the kitch? Hook her up with Top Chef (and one of my favorite Nashvillians) Arnold Myint’s Hickory Smoked Salt & Apricot Grain Mustard Flavor Pack ($23). I literally put the salt on nearly everything and even stick some in my purse.
If your Bestie is on a health kick or has been eluding to jump starting a detox program, snatch up 1-3 days of The Cleanse Kit ($36) from Juice. You’ll put some pep back in her step with this delicious yet thoughtful gift. Should I be hinting now that I’d love one of these? See paragraph one regarding Broccoli Casserole-gate on why I NEED some Juice in my life.
The renowned Babycakes in NYC is my all-time favorite bakery in the world. This sensational sweet spot specializes in vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free sweet treats. Your loved one can now bake the classics ranging from donuts to Snickerdoodles with this book!
If noshing is more their forte, bypass the book and do the doting instead with some special delivery Brownies, Skinny Buns, or Macaroons. Babycakes will happily FedEx a stash!
Every broad has a chocoholic in her clique so why not treat her to a decadent vegan truffle collection from Vosges Haut-Chocolate ($25)? The 12 pieces of dark chocolate ganache are blended with agave nectar and coconut milk and will rock your tastebuds. This is one of the very rare occasions where I would advise you not to share. Enjoy each and every last morsel your damn self!
Does your hostess with the mostess preach that cheese is a treat but has only experienced the slimy faux versions thus far? Gifting Dr. Cow’s Tree Nut Cheese Box ($85) is a game changer. Five aged gluten, dairy, and soy-free nutty cheeses and one cream cheese will proudly be paired with fruit, crackers, and wine of course!
Don’t feel guilty if you order one of everything for yourself. It’s a cruelty-free Christmas y’all!
See you next Sustainable Sunday guys and dolls.
Photo Credit: Cameron Powell
As the weather cools and I shed my Summer skin, I feel the overwhelming urge to smother on hydration to protect my face and body from the elements. Dry or chapped skin is never a good look lasses! I am smitten as a mitten over my recent discovery: Grown
Based in Australia, Grown is branded as a “Botanical Beauty” & “Organic Alchemist” product line. In addition to their incredible collection of skin, body, and hair care, I happen to appreciate their philosophy on their relationship with nature.
“Beyond our insightful knowledge of human biology is our profound belief in the power of natural alchemy. Unveiling the sophistication of nature’s infinite remedies of our passion. Proudly Australian made and owned, our ingredients are derived directly from nature… Grown, not manufactured. We source and use local ingredients in all our products. All our products carry a NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS logo as we do not test any of our products on animals.”
Beautifully written, eh?
Here are some of my personally picked products from this very thoughtful brand: Grown
I look forward to my morning shower ritual each day now due to the reviving benefits of this Chamomile, Bergamot, & Rosewood Body Cleanser ($28.95). This carefully curated concoction protects my skin from oxidative damage and premature aging while promoting new cell growth too. Yes, please!
Hands down my favorite body cream of all time! The Mandarin & Rosemary Leaf scent attracted me but when I read through the “Bio Active Ingredients” of this deep hydrating body cream ($67) … I was hooked! Check out the nourishment and restoration benefits here.
Is your skin aching for a new facial regime? Order the Grown Facial Kit for $59.95. This little darling handmade hat box will be on it’s way brimming with generous travel-size portions of the following:
Geranium Leaf, Bergamot & Rose-Bud - Facial Cleanser
Rose Absolute, Ginseng & Chamomile - Facial Toner
Camellia & Geranium Blossom – Facial Moisturizer
Radiance Restoring Borago, Rosehip & Buckthorn Berry – Facial Serum
See you next Sustainable Sunday!
Photo Credit: Cameron Powell
A few years back, I was a Grassroots Campaigner for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and day in and day out, I would travel across this country and meet animal activists who participated in our demonstrations and campaigns.
Although, I am no longer employed by PETA, I still keep in touch with some of the amazing people who I was lucky enough to meet in my journey. Vivi Peatman is one of them. We met during a demonstration down on Broadway that promoted a Vegan lifestyle and I was taken back by her sweet disposition yet powerful conviction. We casually kept in touch and I was elated to hear she launched a vegan bakery last year. Who says it’s no fun being a Vegan? Not, this broad.
Her incredibly delicious baked treats have converted many of my friends and guests into a different mindset of vegan dining. Are you ready to meet Vivi Peatman? Your tastebuds and soul will thank you.
You may make special request orders at veganvee.com!
SLYGAD: Share your story on what motivated you to create a new line of cruelty-free products and to expand your business?
Vivi: Growing up in Germany as the youngest of seven children, I was very fortunate to have had parents who loved animals. We were surrounded by dogs, cats, birds, horses and many others. Animals were my life, from volunteering at the local animal shelter after school, to caring for injured animals, to spending as much time as possible at the horse stables, to dreaming about becoming a veterinarian - everything that was really important to me revolved around animals.
I first made the connection between the food on my plate and the live animal on my 10th birthday while eating a chicken leg. I bit through a vein and realized that I was eating someone else's body. It did not turn me into an instant Vegetarian, but it did send me well on my way. By the time I was 16 I had stopped eating all meat except for the occasional fish and started collecting signatures for PETA in Germany.
Being a Vegetarian in Germany was fairly easy, as there were several health food stores around my city, but I could not really afford specialty products and had to start learning to cook vegetarian items for myself.
I moved to Nashville at the age of 20 and over the next several years I married, had 3 children (raised Vegetarian), went to Culinary school and worked as a personal chef.
Going Vegan 12 years ago, was not a very hard switch for me, as I never liked eggs or the taste of milk, but baking without them at that time was a challenge and took some getting used to. As I got better at it, I started baking for family and friends and donated to fundraisers/ bake sales etc.
People started asking about placing orders, so we permitted the kitchen in our office building into a commercial kitchen. While the kitchen was taking shape, I was fortunate to be able to bake out of The Wild Cow restaurant kitchen a couple nights a week and get feedback on my products through them. It took some time to get the kitchen approved and ready (including redoing plumbing, electrical, adding a wheelchair approved bathroom, ramps, etc.), but Vegan Vee officially opened in November 2011 as a special-order bakery! My husband and I are currently expanding the kitchen and are adding separate prep areas for our Gluten-Free and Raw products.
SLYGAD: What business owners or other people/brands in your industry motivate and inspire you?
Vivi: I would really like to bake/train with a woman called Kim Veganwondercake, who has a great looking cafe in Dortmund, Germany called Cakes 'n Treats. Her cakes look amazing! I would also like to meet Colleen Patrick-Gourdreau, because her book The Joy Of Vegan Baking was the first vegan baking book I bought and is still one of my favorites!
SLYGAD: What current food trends bring you glee? Make you shudder?
Vivi: Raw and Gluten-Free desserts! I really love the challenge of translating and veganizing traditional recipes and adapting those recipes to a Gluten-Free diet. I also really love raw chocolate and because it's getting more popular, the ingredients are now easier to find and (slightly) less expensive.
I was truly blissfully thinking that the world is starting to change and is moving more towards a Vegetarian/Vegan lifestyle with all these new amazing products popping up, like Gardein, Daiya etc, until we got cable for the first time two weeks ago and I started watching the Food Network! The amount of baby lamb being eaten on these shows makes me ill. Enslaving, abusing and then eating animals is horrible enough, but to take an innocent little baby away from its mom and slaughtering it so you can eat its little legs? Why and how people can do that is just beyond horrible.
Vegan & Gluten-free almond cupcakes are some of the many flavor options available here.
SLYGAD: What are some of the dining establishments and foods that are worth each and every calorie?
Vivi: Beans and Greens Buffalo style at the Wild Cow!!!! Also, vegetables and fried Tofu with peanut sauce at Siam Cuisine (hold the fish sauce)!
Vegan and Gluten-free cupcake assortment!
SLYGAD: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about being a vegan?
Vivi: The most obvious one would be that Vegans don't get enough Protein, or are all weak and skinny. Many people also think once they go Vegan they will miss out on old favorites, instead of getting excited about all the new amazing foods they will discover! Some people think if the meat they eat is expensive or has been given a fancy name it will be amazing, but it will always just be the flesh of another tortured, murdered creature. Nothing elegant about it! Vegan food is so much more elegant-with no bloody aftertaste!
SLYGAD: Share with us your favorite VeganVee recipe!
Vivi: Pains au Chocolat
1lb 2oz all purpose flour 2oz soft vegan margarine (earth balance only works for savory pastry-too salty) 9fl.oz cold water 9oz cold vegan margarine 2Tbls cider vinegar 7oz dark chocolate (about 2 bars) 3 Tbls vegan sugar melted margarine and extra sugar for brushing
- Sift the flour into a lg mixing bowl - Add soft marg. and mix it into the flour until crumbly - Pour in the vinegar, slowly add water while kneading (hands) - Knead until smooth and firm, wrap in plastic and refrigerate about 30min - Turn dough onto floured surface and knead again - Roll dough into a rectangle twice the size of the margarine and place marg. on half of the dough, fold other side evenly over marg. Press lightly - Roll out thinly. Fold both ends to meet in the center, then fold in two, forming four layers. Refrigerate if needed for a few minutes. - Repeat last step 7 times (dust with flour when needed) - From the rectangle cut 10 strips of dough - Place 2 squares of choc. along each small strip of dough - Roll in both ends of each strip until they meet in the center, turn over so flat side is on top - Transfer to baking sheet (parchment paper) and brush with melted marg. and sprinkle with sugar - Let sit in warm place for about 15min while preheating the oven to 400* - Bake for about 20min
So, who’s going to make a batch of vegan goodies today? Feel free to drop off a care package to your favorite blogger… just sayin’!
Do comment below any of your favorite vegan baked goods recipes.
See you next Sustainable Sunday!
Photo Credit: Cameron Powell