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Posts Tagged ‘VeganMoFo 2009’

Okay, guys. I’ve been pretty busy lately, so it’s time for me to post a really quick & easy dessert-type tortilla recipe. I get home from dance pretty late on Wednesdays (usually around or after 10:00 pm), and am always hungry for something quick & easy after all my dancing.

Tonight we had one tortilla left, so I decided to take a tip I heard a while ago and make cinnamon tortilla strips. I smothered the tortilla in Earth Balance margarine and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, then broiled it. I took it out of the oven and cut into strips, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. I bet it would’ve been awesome with some strawberry sauce or something, but I didn’t have any and like I said… I was looking for something quick and easy. Strawberry sauce is easy, but I was feeling lazy.

 Tortilla Strips

Hopefully soon I will have more time to make more exciting foods, but this shows that it can be really easy to make simple, tasty, vegan food. Simpler can be better!

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As you know from my previous post, I went to Washington, D.C. this weekend for the National Equality March with some friends (another vegan and 2 omnis). I’ll talk more about the march itself in my next post, but first I want to just talk about all the awesome food I had while down there.

Our first stop was Rockville, MD to visit Pangea. They’re an online store that sells lots of awesome vegan stuff, and they have a small storefront in Rockville. I got some vanilla chai body lotion & chai chapstick (I love chai!), mozzarella Teese to make tempeh wing pizza (hopefully Friday!), some chocolates, and a button that says “Vegan girls rock.”

They also had a free booklet, “The Vegetarian Guide to Washington, D.C. and Surrounding Areas,” that had more than 350 listings and really came in handy when we were deciding where to eat.

California Tortilla

We ended up eating dinner at California Tortilla in Rockville, which from the description sounded a lot like Cali Burrito back home (mentioned in my top 10 restaurants entry). Verdict: Cali Burrito is WAY better. This place wasn’t horrible or anything, just nothing awesome. Jen, Rob, and I got veggie burritos with guacamole. Rob’s was so big, it stood up by itself! (*sigh…* insert obligatory “that’s what she said” joke here)

 

Breakfast on Sunday morning was a Sticky Fingers cinnamon bun and coffee. My mom is always looking for coffee in a real mug when she goes out for coffee, so she would’ve been happy here!

Sticky Fingers Bakery
Sticky Fingers Bakery case
Sticky Fingers Sticky Bun

All day Sunday was spent marching and rallying, so we didn’t have time to eat again until a late dinner. The rally ended at about 6pm, and Jess and I were both hungry for Pizza so we went back to Columbia Heights for some Pete’s Apizza. The four of us shared a soy cheese pizza with eggplant, and everyone (including the omnis) loved it!

Vegan Pizza

The eggplant on top was crispy, like eggplant chips. I didn’t ask, but the cheese tasted just like Teese… making me thankful that I bought some Teese at Pangea with which to make pizza, since I experienced how awesome it was. Go Pete’s!

Pizza slice

When we got back to the hotel, it was time for some gaycake. I already posted this in my previous entry, but for good measure I’m going to post another one here. See, this is the gaycake actually in DC! Errr… Arlington, anyway.

Gaycake

It was enjoyed by all, and Jess even had some for breakfast on Monday morning.

On Monday we checked out of the hotel and drove into DC for lunch. We found ourselves in Georgetown, so ate at Harmony, a pan-Asian restaurant. The menu was awesome, because practically everything could be veganised by replacing the meat with faux meat. I got sweet & sour “chicken,” which was the only Chinese food I ever ate back before going vegetarian (I was never a big fan of Chinese), and it was awesome!

Vegetarian sweet & sour chicken

We then hopped on the metro at Foggy Bottom and went back up to Colombia Heights to visit Sticky Fingers again, because Jen wanted to buy some Teese (which she ended up not doing, even though I told her she’d regret it and she told me today she wished she’d gotten some). I got a mocha cupcake, which was really good.

Mocha cupcake

I also got a cranberry orange scone, even though I don’t generally like cranberries. Lisa is always raving about the scones at Sticky Fingers, so I wanted to get one, and this was the only kind they had. I took it home to eat, and had it earlier today with some Earl Grey and it was to die for! Moral of the story: Always listen to pandas with cookies (and scones).

Sticky Fingers scone

On our way home, we decided to stop in Gettysburg, PA for dinner because we were running rather late. We stopped in a used car parking lot to decide where we would go, but when we tried starting the car again… it wouldn’t. We ended up walking down the highway a bit to Ruby Tuesday, because it was a hell of a lot better choice than McDonald’s. The waitress was really nice, and put up with all our questions even though she had only been working there for 2 weeks. We found out that the guacamole was vegan, so Jen & I shared the appetizer. It was really good, but I was tired & worried about Chloe (my car) so it didn’t even cross my mind to take a picture.

There was so much vegan food in DC we didn’t get a chance to eat (including quesadillas at Sticky Fingers or being able to visit Soul Veg at all), but I had such a great time & love activism so much that I have a feeling I’ll end up going back to DC sometime! Although, maybe I’ll take a different car (in case you were wondering, Chloe eventually made it home okay, just a little later than the rest of us did).

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Where would Kanye interrupt me? When I’m making a gaycake. “Yo, I’m really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but… nahh girl, you’ve made the best vegan gaycakes of all time. Nevermind.”

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I just finished decorating my latest gaycake. I’m spending the weekend in Washington, DC with my friends because we’re going to the National Equality March on Sunday, so of course I had to make a gaycake for the occasion!

Soon after I decided to go, I knew I had to make some sort of gaycake for the event but didn’t know how I wanted to decorate it. Then suddenly one day as I was in the bathroom (best thinking gets done in that room, I swear… especially in the shower!) it dawned on me: Make the gaycake be an image of the National Equality March Logo!

National Equality March logo

So that’s what I did. I may or may not have more pictures later, but like I said it’s 2:30 in the morning… so this is what you get. I’m very happy with the cake.

Gaycake IV: National Equality MarchCake

I’m thinking of having a gaycake decorating contest on my blog.

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This must be good, because I set off the smoke alarm making it! It startled me half to death, even though I knew there was no fire and I was just setting it off, and when I told my dad (who had been outside and didn’t hear it beep) he was just happy to hear the smoke alarm still worked. Yay broiling!

I’m in love with Katie’s tempeh wingz, but am much more likely to have tofu in the house than tempeh. So I decided to make buffalo tofu that is very very loosely based off the tempeh wingz recipe. I’m also striving for like this buffalo tofu I had years ago at Whole Foods that was really good. So in essence what I came out with is a non-breaded buffalo tofu bite.

Buffalo tofu

Ingredients:
1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 C hot sauce (I use Texas Pete’s)
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp Earth Balance margarine, melted
2 tsp ketchup
salt, to taste
Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces. In a shallow bowl, mix hot sauce, thyme, and garlic powder. Marinate the tofu in the bowl for about an hour or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the cubes on a lightly greased or sprayed pan, setting aside the marinade for later. Bake tofu for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for 10 more minutes. Broil 3 more minutes for extra chewiness.

While the tofu is baking, mix the Earth Balance, ketchup, and salt with the reserved marinade. When the tofu comes out of the oven, mix it with the sauce and serve.

Buffalo Wing Wrap

These are really good on wraps–I had mine on a wrap with Veganaise, spinach, tomato, and onion. Enjoy!

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I keep meaning to veganize some Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, because it’s pretty much the least vegan-friendly food out there, but instead I’m finding myself cooking Mexican food. I’ve got one parent who grew up in Pennsylvania around PA Dutch cooking and all, and the other grew up in Tucson, Arizona eating lots of Mexican food. I love Mexican-style food, but not so much the authentic stuff… when I actually visited Mexico I couldn’t really find any food that I liked (and that was pregan, even).

So here is one of my favorite quick gringa Mexican dishes, recipe courtesy of Kittee (who is also the wonderful person who did most of the organizing for VeganMoFo! Go Kittee!). They’re no-queso quesadillas, made with a cheezy nooch (nutritional yeast) sauce. If I’m looking for something quick and junk food-y to eat, I’ll make this. The recipe can be found here.

No-Queso Quesadillas

I had some cilantro that needed to be used up, so I made a cilantro sauce to go on top. I just threw cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, and garlic in the food processor until I reached some sort of thick sauce-like consistency, and spooned it on top of the quesadillas. I could hardly taste the cilantro though, because I put too much garlic in so the garlic flavour overpowered everything else!

 

My other Mexican go-to meal is veggie fajitas. Like I said yesterday, I like to go to Fiesta Ole for some good ones, but yesterday I didn’t know what to make and my mom had bought this really pretty colourful pepper so I decided to use it in fajitas.

Pretty Pepper

Basically, I just sautee onions, garlic, and red pepper (or in this case orange/green) in olive oil, then add some spices (cayenne, chili powder, cumin, oregano) and maybe some lime juice and/or hot sauce. If I’ve planned ahead I’ll also have a jalapeno to add some extra southwest spice, but this time I didn’t. Mushrooms are also good in fajitas. Then just serve on a plate with some tortillas. Optimally, again, I would’ve had an avocado or two with which to make guacamole, but I was out (I bought some today though, so all is well again in my kitchen!).

 Veggie Fajitas

Muy bonita, ¿no?

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Image from emmausmarket.com

Image from emmausmarket.com

An all-vegetarian and mostly vegan restaurant, this is the lowest on my top 10 list because they currently don’t have a location. Word through the grapevine says that the proprietor, Wendy Landiak, lost her lease at the building in Emmaus and that she’s moving back to Bethlehem. The website just says “our secret new location will be disclosed within the next several months.”

Balasia uses local, organic ingredients in all its menu options. Since the food is local, availability of ingredients changes seasonally so the menu is everchanging. Choose carefully though – a lot of the options are pretty hit or miss, and sometimes you’re left paying a higher price for something you could’ve made better yourself at home. Balasia calls itself a cafe, but it’s more of a higher-end cafe/sit-down restaurant.

9. Fiesta Olé

Image from mariachiorodemexico.com

Image from mariachiorodemexico.com

I’m including this on the list because it’s Mexican (unlike all the Mediterranean places and cafes) and it’s in Emmaus (whereas most of them are in Bethlehem). I enjoy veggie fajitas off the vegetarian section of the menu, but beware: The guacamole contains dairy. Buncha gringos.

Fiesta Ole is located on Chestnut Street in Emmaus, right by a 7-11, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s. So if you’re on this block and looking for some vegan restaurant food, this is your best bet. According to their website, they will be opening two more locations: One on MacArthur Road in Whitehall, and one on Linden Street in Bethlehem (there goes my inclusion of a restaurant that’s not in Bethlehem).

8. Johnny’s Bagels & Deli

Image from mcall.com

Image from mcall.com

Good ol’ Johnny’s. This is a wonderful place to satisfy the vegans as well as picky omnivores. There are now 3 locations, all in Bethlehem: Main & Market Streets on the north side, Campus Square (Morton & New Streets) on the south side, and a new location on Rt. 512 (which I’ve never been to). The location in Campus Square seems to have more sandwich options, and is a larger location.

When on the south side, I always get the Veggie Delight sandwich: Grilled veggies and a light layer of hummus on your choice of bread (I like focaccia). On the north side, even though they also have the Veggie Delight, I’ll opt instead for a plain bagel with hummus… Johnny’s has wonderful homemade hummus, and wonderful homemade bagels. Their coffee is also a really nice, fair-trade Colombian, which I enjoy every morning in August before starting my long day of working at Musikfest.

7. Foods of the Mediterranean

image from roadfoods.com

image from roadfoods.com

For the best hummus and falafel in the valley, visit Foods of the Mediterranean at the Allentown Farmers Market lower level. You can either eat there or get freshly made Mediterranean foods to go. If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself there when they have vegan baklava! Other popular dishes include baba ghanouj, tabouleh, and other wonderful cold dishes.

6. Wildflower Cafe

image from facebook.com

image from facebook.com

Located on New Street in South Bethlehem, Wildflower Cafe has a good selection of vegan foods, including their renowned vegan chili and homemade vegan cookies. Walk into Wildflower and you’ll see the atmosphere reflects the name–lots of flowers and artwork decorate the place. Wildflower Cafe is a very artsy place, hosting 3 nights of live music every week (open mic 2 nights a week) and showcasing local artists’ work. On the outside is a mural done last year by the Community Artists of Bethlehem. Wildflower is completly volunteer-run.

5. Betty’s

Image from bettyswraps.com

Image from bettyswraps.com

Okay, this technically is not located in the Lehigh Valley but on Main Street in Kutztown. However, most items on the menu at Betty’s are vegetarian and they even say on their website “we can accomodate vegans or those with food sensitivities; just ask one of our staff members to help guide you.”

4. Nawab

Photo from Kelly

Photo from Kelly

Yes, really. Another restaurant in South Bethlehem. I guess that’s the place to be if you’re vegan in the valley! Nawab is an Indian restaurant on Fourth Street in South Bethlehem. Like any standard Indian fare, most of their food is vegetarian and egg-free, and you’ll just have to ask what does and does not have dairy in it (especially if you, like me, are unfamiliar with Indian food).

3. Petra Mediterranean

image from 2cheese.blogspot.com

image from 2cheese.blogspot.com

Petra is a relatively new restaurant with amazing Mediterranean food. All the vegetarian and vegan options clearly labelled on their menu. The entrees are a tiny bit pricey (well, for a teenager like myself anyway), but the appetizers, which are still good for meals, are nicely priced. The people who work here are really friendly and helpful, too.

2. Cali Burrito

Image from caliburrito.com

Image from caliburrito.com

Voted “#1 vegetarian restaurant in the valley” from Morning Call’s reader choice awards! While not completely vegetarian, Cali Burrito has lots of yummy vegetarian burritos on the menu that can be easily veganised by removing the cheese and sour cream. My favorite is the Humbolt, which has smoked tofu in it. You could also get tofu scramble, falafel, beans, or grilled vegetables. Sometimes the week’s special will be some other flavour of marinated tofu. If you don’t want a burrito, you could always get a rice bowl instead. Cali Burrito is located on Hamilton Blvd in Allentown, near Dorney Park.

1. Vegan Treats

Photo from Kelly

Photo from Kelly

Voted “Best Dessert in the Valley” by a bunch of omnivores in the Morning Call’s Reader Choice Awards! Known by vegans all across the country, Vegan Treats is a bakery on Linden Street in Bethlehem that sells their mouthwatering treats to restaurants as far as NYC, Philadelphia, and even DC. Owner Danielle Konya started the business not expecting it to grow as much as it did. Vegan Treats has so many amazing baked goods, I can’t even pick a favorite. I’ve been there many times, and still have a hard time choosing what I want whenever I go. They even have homemade soft serve, you just have to ask what flavour they have on whichever day you go in… although the best is, hands down, Peanut Butter. Vegan Treats Bakery For The Win.

Photo from Kelly

Photo from Kelly

Photo from Kelly

Photo from Kelly

Photo from Kelly

Photo from Kelly

Yes, they sell underwear. And yes, they (used to) have it hanging above the counter.

On that note… MoFo out. ‘Til tomorrow!

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Technically these ‘shakes were made and consumed on Saturday night, but since I’m blogging about them today and am hopelessly in love with alliteration, I’m calling it Milkshake Monday.

Chocolate Cookies 'n' Cream Milkshakes

A few weeks ago, a few friends and I got together to watch Breakfast At Tiffany’s at my friend Jen’s house, and she made vegan milkshakes. We decided to make it a weekly movie night, and have since watched The Graduate, Fight Club, and Guys & Dolls.

Milkshake Making

Chocolate Cookies ‘n Cream Milkshakes
Serves 4
We never actually measure, so all measurements are approximate!

1 qt vanilla soy ice cream (we used So Delicious)
4 C nondairy milk (we used vanilla soymilk)
1/4 C chocolate syrup
Lots of oreos or oreo-type cookies

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, checking for consistency and taste and making adjustments as needed. Pour into 4 cups and serve!

Wegman O's

Last week instead of having milkshakes we had cookies (I brought Terry’s Favorite Almond Cookies from Veganomicon and Jen made chocolate chip cookies) because there were a few more people than usual, but the first week of our movie night we had chocolate mocha milkshakes made with instant coffee powder in place of the Oreos.

Not only are vegan milkshakes good enough to rock your socks off, they can be enjoyed while hugging an (omni) friend!

Jen & Amber

Our friend Julie decided she wanted a sundae instead of a milkshake.

Ice Cream Sundae

Next week’s movie is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I can’t wait!

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Kiwi berries!

The other day I was at work and noticed something new and different on our produce manager’s cart. I asked her what they were, and she told me they were kiwi berries and told me to try one. So I opened the package and picked one out, wondering how to eat this little thing… was I supposed to just pop it in my mouth? It looked like a little, fuzzless kiwi, and most people don’t eat the skins of kiwi.

Kiwi Berries

But Mel told me to just eat the whole thing, so I bit into it and it looked just like a miniature kiwi… tasted like one, too. The berries were a little underripe, so it was tart like a kiwi, though once they ripen they become sweeter.

Kiwi Berries inside shot

Mel then told me that she had ordered them on a whim, without asking our boss, and he was a little annoyed about this. So I decided I’d buy a package and took it upon myself to get other people to buy some too so that the boss couldn’t have anything to complain about. They weren’t hard to sell, because people saw something new and unusual in the produce case and were eager to try it out. In fact, when I went back to work today I wanted to buy some more but we were all sold out! Take that, Mr. Skeptic Boss Man.

I decided to look kiwi berries up online, since I had never heard of them before, and see what kind of nutritious value they had. The label on the package called them a “nutrient-dense superfruit,” so I wanted to find out just what they meant by that.

According to oregonlive.com,

“a 6-ounce portion contains significant amounts of 20 nutrients, including twice the vitamin E of an avocado, with only 60 percent of the calories. They have five times the vitamin C of an orange and more potassium than bananas. Kiwi berries are also high in fiber and rich in folic acid.”

Wow! If Mel decides to order more, I will definitely buy some to cut up and put on top of pancakes.

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Let me start off by welcoming you to the first day of VeganMoFo! VeganMoFo is a grassroots event that evolved from a community of vegans who love to cook, love to be vegan, and are passionate about sharing their love of vegan food with the rest of the world.

Now down to business. I promised last time that this post would be happy and uplifting, and I will follow through with that promise because I have a few items of wonderful news to share!

1. Remember Almost Heaven Kennels, the puppy mill about 2 miles down the street from my house? The PSPCA raided them a year ago today, and the owner Derbe Eckhart has been on and off of trial ever since then, appealing every charge and denying ever treating his animals poorly regardless of the horrible pictures proving otherwise.

About a week ago, Eckhart FINALLY pleaded guilty to counts of animal cruelty. When my dad read this aloud from the paper, I had to run out from the kitchen and ask him to repeat what he just said, because I couldn’t believe my ears! Now he can finally be sentenced and rightly punished for all the grief he’s caused the animals in his kennel.

Eckhart’s sentencing date is set for November 16. He can get up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500, and I hope he gets the full sentence possible because the man deserves it. It’s not like this has been his first time on trial for animal-related charges… it’s actually his third. Multiple animal welfare activists (including myself!) are saying they hope he gets treated in jail the way he treated his dogs in his kennel.

Now, let me ask you something. Would you want the man responsible for this dog to be grooming your dog? When Eckhart pleaded guilty, he asked that he be allowed to continue grooming dogs at a business in Fogelsville. Thanks to the detective work of Bill White, we now know that this business is Wentz Canine, a place notorious for selling dogs from puppy mills and often targeted by the Lehigh Valley Puppy Mill Watch. The owner, Thomas Wentz, isn’t exactly advertising the fact that Eckhart is now working for him… why would he want to?

 
2. On to our next good news, and the connection of this blog entry to day 1 of VeganMoFo. My mom, the ultimate meat-eater, has been reading up on how animals are treated on factory farms (currently reading “Dominion” per recommendation from a coworker), and told me that she would consider going vegan if only she could find vegan food that she liked! She’s a really picky eater, so she challenged me to find vegan foods that she will like. She also requested that I make her a stew for dinner yesterday, so I did:

She shot down any ideas I gave her for a more interesting stew such as squash, black bean & chipotle, or roasted eggplant & tomato, opting instead for a basic veggie stew. It contains onions, garlic, celery, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, roasted red peppers, and tomatoes. She never really liked beans, but for the sake of veganism wants to try incorporating more into her diet so there are some red kidney beans in there as well. I made whole wheat biscuits to make the stew a complete meal.

Yesterday was the perfect day for me to make stew for my mother, because about 10 minutes after I started making it she came home sick from work, so it was good that she didn’t have to worry about making herself something for dinner and would have a healthy, freshly made veggie stew to help her feel better. She was napping when I finished cooking the stew, and then I left to go to dance so I wasn’t there when she ate it, but I got this text message from her:

“Stew is delicious! I’ve packed some 4 lunch. My coworkers will b jealous.”

Success!

My mom has also started eating the vegan bread I eat instead of what she used to get, and using Earth Balance margarine instead of butter! She even had me pick up some canned pumpkin so that she can make pumpkin cake with the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. She still eats meat, but has cut back drastically… she hasn’t bought any from the grocery store in two weeks!

I’m so proud of how far she’s come since I first told her I was going vegetarian, and look forward to keeping this blog updated with her vegan ventures. Although I doubt that she will ever become full-on vegetarian or even vegan, every little bit counts!

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