Author: jess sconé
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):
- 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.
- 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.
- Go big and go garlic. Roasted garlic lasagna and garlic bread sounds lovely. It’s called intimacy, right?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- We Get You. Seriously, have dinner with your cat. Serve everything in wine glasses.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Seitan & Waffles with Pomegranate Syrup via The PPK
- Shaved Brussels Sprout with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce via Vedge Restaurant
- Candle 79’s Vegan Paella via City Spoonful
- Allison Rivers Samson’s Double Cheese Lasagna via VegNews
- Portobello’s Cashew Cream Pizza via Serious Eats
- When in doubt, just beet it. via Pinterest
- Ancho Chocolate Pie via Vegan Secret Supper (Jess note: this book is mesmerizing!)
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!
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!
Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
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!
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.
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 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!
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
- Veganize family favorites and share the recipe and the memories.
- Homemade gifts ideas. That’s right, go get fabulously lost on the DIY Xmas Gifts-land that is Pinterest this morning.
- Holiday meal planning: the classics and the brave new dishes.
- Kindness. Spread the cheer & pay it forward.
- DIY decorating: Hello, Snowman fridge.
- Winter picnics with chocolate chip cookies and mugs of mulled cider or peppermint candy cane vodka-infused hot cocoa.
- 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.
- A new round-up of the best soups in town.
- Tips on throwing a themed holiday party…Festivus, anyone?
- Wool-less winter looks.
- 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.
- Vegan nog-off (or hot chocolate-off) It’s a tough job, but…
- Eco-wrapping. One more intense round of Pinterest to explore.
- Talk about your favorite nonprofits (Holiday season is also tax write-off season — find out who’s got fund-matching!)
- 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!
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.
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:
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.
Michele’s cozy picks:
While I’m just as likely to make pizza or pasta, here are some more traditional holiday dishes:
Manifest Vegan’s cranberry upside down cake works for dessert, but leftovers for breakfast might be even better.
A veganized version of the Astro Weenie Christmas Tree will do for any gathering.
Vegan Dad’s nugget recipe is my go-to for seitan cutlets of all shapes and sizes.
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.
If you’re in the Portland area like us, here are some suggestions:
Downtown’s Vegetarian House seems to be open normal hours.
Papa G’s is taking special orders for both dine-in and carry-out vegan feasts
Whole Foods offers online and in-store ordering for their 4-person Vegan Thanksgiving set, which includes a Wild Rice, Yam & Pear Roast, Vegan Mushroom Gravy, Pumpkin Pie and 5 other holiday dishes.
- Back to Eden is taking special orders
- Sweetpea Baking Co pre-ordering information
- Petunia’s Pies & Pastries ordering information
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?
Lazy Smurf’s Vegan Thanksgiving round up
Super Vegan did a New York City round up last year
Red Tricycle’s Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving spots in Los Angeles
Vegan Thanksgiving dinner menus at Upstairs on the Square in Boston
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.
Stay tuned for more from our Vida Vegan holiday guides & news on our holiday events.
The early bird discount for our upcoming holiday celebration ends next week!
My, how time flies! We started this Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters heading into September’s VeganMoFo, and since we received such great feedback and responses from our alumni, we’re excited to continue with a few more final installments. These special interviews offer a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds.
Our next interview is with one of our furthest traveling guests for Vida Vegan Con, (mostly) Australian-based author, international speaker, activist and blogger, Leigh-Chantelle of Viva La Vegan! and the Green Earth Group.
What were you up to this Summer? I travelled to the USA for my Australian Winter. I spent 9 weeks in America, travelling all over the country for vegan/Animal Rights events, visiting friends and, one of my favourite things – road trips. When I was in the USA I had an interview with CHRY105.5FM in Toronto, Canada and had a lovely article written about me in the Examiner.
Talks, Panels & Workshop Videos:
- Vida Vegan Con panels: Ethics Beyond the Plate, International Activism and Vegan Invasion: Community Building.
- Talks at the Anti-Fur Society Conference: Australia’s Progresses & Challenges and Promoting Veganism.
- Workshop on Staging Effective Events & Engaging Volunteers at the Critical Animal Studies conference.
- Engaging Abroad panel at the Animal Rights Conference.
I then spent a month in Cambodia, specifically Phnom Pehn, Battambang and Siem Reap before coming to Indonesia. I spent the last few weeks in Magelang, Central Java and then Surabaya, East Java before returning to my beloved Ubud, Bali where I’ll be until the beginning of October when I return home to Brisbane, Australia for aunty duties. I did a lot of media interviews when I was in Java – you can view the articles on my blog, FaceBook or Google+. One of the articles is online – use Google Translate for English. (see the photo attached – Focus Jateng) I’ve just launched 3 new vegan dessert e-books and 1 raw recipe e-book. I’ve completed the text for my upcoming recipe book due out the end of the year and am now compiling my vegan athletes interview book. As always, I have many different projects going.
Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?
VVC is my favourite vegan event – and I’ve been to a great deal of vegan/AR events. I was asked to speak again for the second year, immediately accepted and was excited about the new topics I’d be speaking about.
Looking back, what was the most memorable class? I really enjoyed being a part of the Ethics Beyond the Plate panel and had a lot of great feedback about it. I thought 5 people on the panel was too many, but Jason did a great job of directing questions and keeping the topics on track. It’s biased, but I always love hearing my close friends Jasmin and Mariann from Our Hen House as well as Ryan Patey from TOFU Magazine speak.
What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging? One of the things I say in just about every talk I give – especially here in SE Asia – is that veganism is not a diet and it’s not a religion. Diet in particular seems to be the main focus for a lot of blogs. I’d like to see more people write about the fact that veganism isn’t the first and last step towards compassion and living ethically. We are here on this earth to learn and there’s just so much to absorb. I also don’t like reading about how veganism is a “cure all” for all of the diseases and environmental catastrophes we are experiencing – it’s a massive help, but it’s not the be all and end all.