Author: jess sconé

Things We Loved: #VegansatExpo (Vicarious Vegan Highlights from Expo West 2014!)

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via @creestaal
via @creestaal

Team Vida Vegan HQ has a dream (okay, and at least 107 projects in the works), and that dream is to one day attend Expo West. From the looks of the Internet and all the jealousy-inducing photos we’ve seen, this year was bigger, better and more vegan-friendly than ever. I mean, it had its own vegan-specific hashtag, #VegansAtExpo. That’s really saying something. Like I said, one day, the sampling will be ours, because it looked like a blogger-hopping blast!

To tide ourselves over until we bring on the exhibitors at the next Vida Vegan Con, we put together this hashtag roundup from the tradeshow.

Hint, hint, we’d love to see all these folks and products at VVC2015*! Right?! Let’s make it happen.

*Dude, the much-anticipated VVC2015 city & dates are  seriously, seriously coming your way early Spring, which means oh, so, soon. I hope you subscribe to our official Vida Vegan HQ newsletter! (because it’s an infrequent, imperative source for these things).

Enjoy these highlights via Instagram & Twitter, some thoughts from Michele and myself, and prepare to contemplate: Is 2014 the year of the vegan fish stick, or what?

Michele says: I am so G-to-the-D excited about these, and I can’t tell you why. Fish sticks were always the grossest, but I loved fish & chips—which now seem just as gross. So why do I want a vegan fakey fish? Whyyyy? 

via @faboofierce

…because who can ever get enough of JJ’s Cocomels?

via @LaziestVegans

Fan favorite! (And we’re talking about the bacon and our friend Jared)

via @phoneybaloneys

Speaking of bacon, we sure are A-OK with another nifty vegan seitan bacon hitting the market. Anyone seen this in Portland yet? Or better yet, we’ll come to you!

via @lifeissweetoc

Clearly a necessity with the non-stop sampling going on.

via @veganinyourcity

Everyone (okay, at least three people in Jess’ Instagram feed last week) are raving about these new Field Roast burgers! And breakfast sausages! For that matter, I must admit, I’m a little disappointed when I visit Seattle and every other restaurant doesn’t offer *something* Field Roast. Come on, home town pride!

@via spabettie

Cue freakouts. People have seriously been waiting for this. The year of the soy yogurt shortage even saw me breaking out my slow cooker and making my own. I’ve got Artisan Vegan Cheeses to make, people.  Fortunately, the WholeSoy factory is up and going and I can report that it’s recently been spotted at the Hawthorne New Seasons (again, here in Portland. Have you seen it your way yet? Do tell! People are depending on you. I had no idea this many people I knew ate so much nondairy yogurt).

via @insufferablevegan The Return of Wholesoy!

Looks like 2014 is gonna bring us even more vegan cheese. No issues here. Let’s push things forward and get some standards.

via @reikicreative

Okay, you know team VVC takes ferocious pride in the VVC Swag bags, but even we’re a little jealous here!

via @veggiefixation

What would you love to have from this pile of goodies? Personally, I want to get my eager little hands on this and plan on stalking the roaming SD truck later today:

via @littlemissangie

Michele says: So Delicious, I knew you were listening in on my dreams. 

Also ongoing:  The Vegan Ice Cream Revolution! I’m partial to coconut and soy, but keep the options coming. More for everyone!

via @vegangalfriday

Hello, Spork sisters (and hairstyling inspiration for the day)!

via @beinvegan The Ladies Spork!

Who’s down for some faux tuna? (Karla, I’m talking to you)

via @veganinyourcity

And ah yes, having tried Beyond Beef myself, I could EASILY see this fooling nearly anyone eating at Taco Bowl. I’m normally one for black beans, but if this is the future, let’s get started.

via @melisser

Fancy!

Michele says: Personally, creamy foods like mayo creep me out, but I love that there’s a gourmet/upscale vegan market. It’s products like this that help us broaden the perception of “vegan.” 

via @vegancuts

There you have it! Expect new cheeses, fishy stuff, crumbles and even more vegan bacon heading your way (or order it online through nice folks like Austin’s Rabbit Food Grocery and Portland’s Food Fight!).

And don’t worry, we’ll take one of everything for Janessa.

Some roundups for additional swooning:

And John, we are eagerly awaiting The Laziest Vegans recap!

Did you attend? Did you have a favorite? We’d love to hear about it!

 

 

10 Vegan Valentine’s Day Ideas for Blogging & Celebrating (or not)

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Love it or hate it, there are less than 24 hours to mentally prepare for another Valentine’s Day.

Whether you’re staying in with a mail order from Lagusta’s Luscious and Casablanca, off to a romantic dinner, attempting to say the phrase “Galentine’s Day” out loud, or making tots and deciding to conquer a few seasons of Game of Thrones, Valentine’s Day is about love and celebrating’ that special day with yourself, your loved ones, or your cat. In any case, we hope you spend the day in an enjoyable manner with only a smattering of pink confetti and a bit of thanks in your heart for the people you love.

Here are some ideas from all of us at Vida Vegan Headquarters on a variety of ways to make the evening special, and some topics to tackle blogging (whether you have a bit of spare time tomorrow, decide to Instagram dinner, or tackle writing about it all next week):

  1. Find those cookie cutters. Yes, you could easily make heart-shaped pancakes or a cake or even polenta/quinoa molds, but how about dinosaurs? Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?! Plus, it really gets you thinking about the past and future, so ring-a-ding-ding…or, just figure out how to make every single thing you eat that day heart-shaped.
    RSVP Cookie Cutters. Somewhere in the back of your drawer.
  2. Sneaky, sneaky. Does your significant other or bff(s) read your blog? Probably. Maybe (or maybe they say they do). Try posting about something TOTALLY different than what you actually have planned. Surprise, surprise.
  3. Go big and go garlic. Roasted garlic lasagna and garlic bread sounds lovely. It’s called intimacy, right?
  4. DIY V-Day Craft Ideas: Make your own science-y valentine, like these!  Subversive Cross Stitch is always there for you. Um…therapeutic pin cushion?
  5. You Time.Stay in, say screw it, and pop in (okay, stream) some cheesy ‘80s horror and actually pop some popcorn while you brush your cat’s hair. We know you have at least one cat.
  6. Date Night. Go on, go out to dinner at a vegan (or vegan-friendly) restaurant if you want to! Whether it’s a fancy date, take out, a dive bar, or a slice, you deserve it. 
  7. We Get You. Seriously, have dinner with your cat. Serve everything in wine glasses.
  8. Schadenfreude. Share your worst adolescent breakup story, that horrible Roxette song that was somehow “yours,” and recreate (veganize) the mall-food-court super deluxe cheese fries you shared on your first date.
  9. Your Soundtrack: Get down with your single self with Spotify’s ‘Singleton’ playlist. Or, if you’ve got a sweetie, annoy them with these Spotify love song playlists while makin’ dinner or makin’ out.
  10. Break Out the Candles. Any night’s an excuse for a lovely homemade, vegan meal for two (or three, or whatever’s your bag), V Day’s the big leagues. Here are some  romantic recipe ideas to get you inspired:
    1. Seitan & Waffles with Pomegranate Syrup via The PPK
    2. Shaved Brussels Sprout with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce via Vedge Restaurant
    3. Candle 79’s Vegan Paella via City Spoonful
    4. Allison Rivers Samson’s Double Cheese Lasagna via VegNews
    5. Portobello’s Cashew Cream Pizza via Serious Eats
    6. When in doubt, just beet it. via Pinterest
    7. Ancho Chocolate Pie via Vegan Secret Supper (Jess note: this book is mesmerizing!)
Ancho Chocolate Pie and Butternut Squash Ice Cream from Vegan Secret Supper. Image source: Alternatives Journal
Ancho Chocolate Pie and Butternut Squash Ice Cream from Vegan Secret Supper. Image source: Alternatives Journal

I know, one mere dessert recipe?! As if you don’t have something already up your sleeve.

Rest assured, #11 is an honorary mention (aka one big duh) for thematically-inclined bubbles, cocktails & mocktails, of course.

Enjoy your day, whatever you do, and feel free to share your ideas and plans in the comments!

Attention Austin: Vida Vegan Meetup this Thursday at The Liberty!

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Hello, hello! Team Vida Vegan HQ returned from Vegas less than two weeks ago, and as usual, we’ve been hard at work, seriously inspired and sketching out the next three years on our calendar (er, smartphones and Google docs). There is so much in store! It’s no secret that we’re looking at a few very special cities for the much-anticipated Vida Vegan Con III, and that’s in addition to our other events. Read up on this post from way back when, aka last summer, for a reminder on just what those may be: Team Vida Vegan’s Always Cooking Something Up!

It’s also no secret that we adored our first location scouting trip to Austin last February, and with the local vegan community and dining scene growing to epic proportions, including the Capital City storefront, Mr. Natural’s brand-new new vegan brunch, and the new Wheatsville location, we’re coming back in mere days!

0be04a028ad011e3911c127f85a62e1a_8All the Details:

Location: The Liberty & Eastside King 1618 1/2 E. 6th St

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 5:00pm-7:00pm

From the Facebook invite (feel free to RSVP over there, no pressure): Hi everyone! Gonna be in Austin next week? SO ARE WE. Come hang out with us and other vegans and we’ll discuss the finer points of breakfast tacos and just what cupcake flavor is your fave at Capital City. And other stuff, like cats. This time we’re meeting at The Liberty/Eastside King (thanks for the suggestions, guys!!)

Janessa, Michele and myself will all be there — coats, potential scarves and requisite sunglasses in tow — to hear your ideas for Vida Vegan Con III. We’d also like to know just what else you’d like to see and attend, and frankly, where we should get all those dang vegan tacos. All are welcome!

Austin is the best
Austin is the best

We do have a ton of appointments at event venues booked around the Austin area already, and are totally open to more suggestions. Please contact us with any tips!

And if you’d like to see more about our Vegas location scouting, check out the hashtag #VidaScoutsVegas. We’ll have a post up detailing the experience and a few of our favorite locations and meals up soon enough, have no doubt.

Vegan Drinks next week in Las Vegas at Bar & Bistro!

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This sums it up nicely:

Will you be in the Vegas area on January 16th?

Get ready: Janessa, Michele and myself, your friendly Vida Vegan organizers, will be doing some location scouting and vegan eating this winter across the US, and coming to a city* near you!

First up, we’re hitting Las Vegas, NV and wherever we go, we want to get to know the local vegan community. It’s what our growing series of events are all about, and for. If you’d like to talk about being vegan in Vegas, the internet, how to throw your own vegan events and festivals, where you’d like to see upcoming Vida Vegan events, or even where to get the best vegan tacos in town, come meet us for a ‘Vegan Drinks’-style Meetup on Thursday, January 16 at Bar & Bistro.

Vegan Drinks is a social, networking event held in various cities, and while Las Vegas’ is temporarily on hold, we wanted to host a “pop-up” Vegan Drinks evening, if you will, while we’re in town.

Here’s the official Meetup event (though please feel free to come if you don’t have an account) and more details:

Location: Bar & Bistro 107 East Charleston Boulevard #155, Las Vegas, NV meetup-logo-300x220
Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Time: 5:00pm-7:00pm in the lounge area

Bring an appetite, some cash (this is not a hosted event), maybe some business cards of at least your Twitter and Instagram handles, check out the Vegan Menu and we’ll see you there!

*Okay, two cities within North America, so far. Many, many more to come.  We’re open to suggestions!

Holiday Blogging Ideas!

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It’s that special time of year, where it seems like every other blog popping up on your reader is showing off the latest holiday gift guide. If not that, it’s talking about what cookies they love to make this holiday season, links of tried-and-true recipes in tow. These are both great ideas for seasonal blog posts, but there’s plenty more to talk about, and to make your own.

Here at Vida Vegan Headquarters, we’ve put together a list of 15 holiday-themed blogging suggestions to inspire you to inspire others, this winter:

15 Ideas to Get You Blogging This Holiday Season

  1. Veganize family favorites and share the recipe and the memories.
  2. Homemade gifts ideas. That’s right, go get fabulously lost on the DIY Xmas Gifts-land that is Pinterest this morning.
  3. Holiday meal planning: the classics and the brave new dishes.
    Gooey vegan cardamom-cinnamon rolls, Vegan Eats & Treats
  4. Kindness. Spread the cheer & pay it forward.
  5. DIY decorating: Hello, Snowman fridge.
  6. Winter picnics with chocolate chip cookies and mugs of mulled cider or peppermint candy cane vodka-infused hot cocoa.
    The Vida Vegan Hot Toddy kit: cinnamon, star anise, Stash tea, dried lemon peel and raw sugar, ready for whiskey & hot water. Image via @janessapk
  7. Speaking of mugs…… ‘Tis the season for warm drinks.Winter picnics with chocolate chip cookies and mugs of mulled cider or peppermint candy cane vodka-infused hot cocoa.
  8. A new round-up of the  best soups in town.
  9. Tips on throwing a themed holiday party…Festivus, anyone?
  10. Wool-less winter looks.
    Vegan Rapunzel Braid Hooded Scarf via ShopCheni on Etsy
  11. Sharing New Year’s resolutions that will seriously  help the world: organize a sanctuary work party; join in the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale; vow to compost, etc.
  12. Vegan nog-off (or hot chocolate-off) It’s a tough job, but…
  13. Eco-wrapping. One more intense round of Pinterest to explore.
  14. Talk about your favorite nonprofits (Holiday season is also tax write-off season — find out who’s got fund-matching!)
  15. Life lessons: share your vegan-through-the-family-holidays survival guide.

Or….Screw the seasons! Keep doing what you do!

Got something great in the works? Instagram it in-progress, giving a nice behind-the-scenes, authentic look at what you’ve got in store. If you’ve been posting about the holidays, we’d love to read about it. Leave a comment with a link and share your plans in the comments!

Vegan Thanksgiving at Vida Vegan Headquarters: Feast Ideas & Portland Dining Options

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Like every other friend we talk to lately, we’ve got homemade holidays on the collective brain at Vida Vegan Headquarters, and brainstorming and recipe testing for our upcoming Holiday Hors D’oeuvres & How-Tos! (aka our holiday entertaining class & cocktail shindig) is only making it that much more difficult to contemplate meals without grated nutmeg and cranberry.

Here are some last-minute, vegan Thanksgiving recipes and ideas catching your friendly organizers’ eyes, and some from our own archives and memories, for the fast-approaching Thanksgiving….Thanksliving…..Thanksgivukkah…..Thursday eats, whatever you’d like to call it.

Image via documentingreality.com

Janessa’s favorite picks:

  • Chive Mashed Potatoes I’ve made this recipe from Tal Ronnen the past three years. The secret is the cashew cream that adds an unbelievably rich creaminess.

  • Green Bean Casserole This recipe from Susan at the excellent Fat Free Vegan blog is an excellent base for that Thanksgiving classic. I usually fatten it up by adding those awful & delicious canned fried onions and cooking with lots of wine.

  • Artisan Bread Grant Butler recently posted this recipe on Oregon Live. It’s so easy and turns out the most delicious golden loaves of bread I’ve seen.

  • Parsnip Ribbons Vegetarian Times published this recipe in its November issue. They’re simple, tasty, and add an elegant touch to your mashed potatoes. I omitted the paprika and added dried sage for an even more Thanksgiving-y flavor.

  • Lava Lamp The Lava Lamp is my favorite seasonal bubbly drink.

1 bottle sparkling wine

1-2 pomegranates’ worth of seeds

12 oz pomegranate juice

Pour bubbles into a tall champagne flute. Add half dozen to a dozen pomegranate seeds, and top with a splash of pomegranate juice. The seeds bounce up and down in the bubbles, creating a Lava Lamp-esque effect.*Makes 4-6 Lava Lamps.

Jess’ tried-and-true picks:

  • Bryanna Clark Grogan’s definitive vegan pumpkin pie

    • For a twist, I made a last minute,  straw-decorated, Thai Iced Tea version a couple of T-days ago that I just fell in love with (which can happen with pie, of course).

  • Pumpkin Cheddar Biscuits, Vegan Crunk via Panda with Cookie
  • My mom’s Sweet Potato Pie Casserole via New York Newsday. My late mother had a clipping of this recipe from the newspaper, and the aroma of it coming out of the oven is my oldest and fondest culinary memory.  Besides the mashed potatoes, it was the one dish at holiday gatherings I can actually remember eating, and looking forward to, year after year. (Coincidentally, I have bourbon infusing for this very flavor right now).

  •  Chickpea Cutlets, The PPK. New classics. It’s no gravy, but I sure like these with a smokey BBQ sauce.

  • Cranberry Kir Royale, The Chew…because yes, I often watch The Chew, happened to soak fresh cranberries in cherry brandy and ginger the other day, and really, really want to make these this holiday season (or tomorrow).
  • Savoury Turkey Seitan Roast from Brian P. McCarthy via Everyday Dish. A few years ago, I slept through most of a Thanksgiving feast and having missed out, decided to make this baked seitan first thing the next day, and it was a brilliant, delicious decision.

    • And if you’re doing a classic Tofurky or seitan roast, I would like to recommend using sparkling apple cider or a hoppy beer, along with sliced garlic, shallots and fresh herbs, in that marinade. It’s where it’s at.
  • If you’re looking for something different or simply finger food-orientated, perhaps the first-ever documented Totsgiving can inspire.
Sweet Potato Pie….casserole

Michele’s cozy picks:

While I’m just as likely to make pizza or pasta, here are some more traditional holiday dishes:

Some of my favorites for which I’ve never had recipes are stuffin’ muffins (stuffing made in muffin tins), crispy baked chickpeas, roasted sweet potatoes, and any ol’ hunk of bread with roasted elephant garlic and parsley butter.

Vegan Thanksgiving in Portland & Beyond

And if you’re staying in, how about mixing things up and putting together a special Korean dolsot bibimap, Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian spread (from Vida Vegan Con alumnae Kittee Berns) or even picking up take-out from a vegan-friendly restaurant, grocery store or caterer open in your neighborhood? There’s often something extra fun about breaking tradition, and most importantly, creating your own.

Homemade Vegan Ethiopian Platter at Jess’, last Thanksgiving

If you’re in the Portland area like us, here are some suggestions:

The incredibly well-attended, 10th Annual NorthwestVeg Compassionate Thanksgiving Potluck is also happening on November 24th at Benson High School. Registration here.

Outside of Portland?

We’d love to hear about your own very special, traditional or otherwise, American Thanksgiving plans (or Canada’s earlier this year!) and tried and true recipes.

Do feel free to let us know of any other spots open in your neighborhood.

Happy Feasting!

Stay tuned for more from our Vida Vegan holiday guides & news on our holiday events.

holiday party revised

The early bird discount for our upcoming holiday celebration ends next week!

Eventbrite - Holiday Hors D'oeuvres & How-Tos