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!
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!
Update: Signup is complete! Thanks for all who signed up – see you at the con and in the future!
The 2013 Vida Vegan Con BlogFeed has arrived!
Bookmark it, subscribe, or download the OPML file to import into your reader of choice right here.
We’ve made it public via Google Reader for ease (which will fortunately, exist until July, as Feedly does not offer publicizing bundles…yet!).
Get to know your fellow attendees and the speakers of the upcoming con, and most of all, enjoy!
P.S. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here. Please leave a comment below so we can add it quickly. Remember…This is totally opt-in and not required. We do ask that only registered attendees sign up (this is also open to sponsors and speaker blogs, of course), that all blogs are vegan in content, and that you’re comfortable seeing your website on a public feed.This won’t be a blogroll or contact list, it’ll simply be a feed of your latest posts to share.
Note: If you haven’t yet posted to your blog, you won’t be seeing it on our feed until you do, as it won’t be recognized by Google Reader just yet – so get working!
P.P. S. If you see any issues with your blog or someone else’s, simply email Vida Vegan Headquarters and we’ll take a look. Feeds can be a tricky business.
Check the 2013 Vida Vegan Con agenda right here.
UPDATE: The 2013 Feed is live! If you’re attending and haven’t added your blog yet, please leave a comment when you do so we can update the feed ASAP. We will be removing signup on Sunday, May 19 so we can focus on the busy week ahead.
Update: Signup is complete! Thanks for all who signed up – see you at the con and in the future!
With the end of Google Reader (and all the associated gasping and groaning that came with the news), comes the quick rise of Feedly, the official replacement for all your up-to-date blog reading. And with Vida Vegan Con II rapidly approaching, it’s time for even more to peruse.
So, we’re putting together a list of all Vida Vegan Con II blog feeds for ya—one big feed of excitement and plant-based creativity!
The 2013 VVC II Blogfeed.
Simply fill out this form with your URL feed information, and we’ll debut the list shortly. Stay tuned!
We do ask that only registered attendees sign up (this is also open to sponsors and speaker blogs, of course), that all blogs are vegan in content, and that you’re comfortable seeing your website on a public feed.This won’t be a blogroll or contact list, it’ll simply be a feed of your latest posts to share.
Let’s get to know each other, shall we?
Jason Das, the co-founder of both SuperVegan and Vegan Drinks, is returning to Vida Vegan Con this May to share his expertise and thoughts in a few of our exciting panels and classes: Ethics Beyond the Plate, Vegan Invasion: Community Building, and Tech for Effective Web Presence.
For this third class, Jason asked us if he could solicit some ideas on just what *you* would like to know more about.
This is your chance to design his class. It’ll be more than a mere general presentation with some handy tips—Jason wants to address your concerns!
Here are some topics being mulled around for the Tech-orientated class:
- Intro to CSS
- Responsive Web Design
- Best SEO practices
- Tumblr theming
So, what interests you? Let’s make the most of his versatile expertise and innovative planning—it’s now in your hands!
Be sure to check out the full agenda for Vida Vegan Con II here.
It’s the return of our blogging Q & A! This time, we’re joined by the super talented and lovely Amey Mathews. We are so excited to have Amey return as a speaker for Vida Vegan Con 2013—whether you can make it or not, check out her blog, Vegan Eats & Treats. We love Amey for her positive, genuine attitude. She is smart as hell and is an endless font of adorable little drawings.
Where do you see blogging going?
It’s amazing how many blogs there are now—which is really great. When I first started blogging, there were just a small handful of vegan blogs. Today there are so many, that everyone can find a sense of community for exactly the way they enjoy eating and being vegan. There are all the PPK community blogs, all the raw date-ball blogs, the no-salt-oil-sugar blogs, vegan athlete blogs, and so on. Sometimes I’ll stumble onto a new blog that’s outside of my usual favorites, and find a whole sea of comments from other bloggers I’ve never discovered before… It’s pretty amazing.
Also, I was just looking at some old posts the other day and looking at how crappy my pictures were. Ha ha! There are a handful of bloggers like Hannah at BitterSweet, or Susan at Fat Free Vegan, or Allyson at Manifest Vegan, who take SUCH great pictures—I think they’ve really helped raise the bar for the rest of us. Even if you’re not gonna spend 30 minutes staging your picture (I gotta eat dinner, man!), you’re also not going to be satisfied with a yellowish picture with dirty dishes in the background.
One last thing, is how many bloggers are turning their blogs into cookbook deals. It’s amazing and exciting! I wish I could write recipes, but it’s really not my strong point. But if anyone needs little doodles for their cookbook, I’m here to help.
What’s your favorite photo editor?
I use ArcSoft Photo Studio if I want to actually cut and paste and combine my doodles and photos and all that, but usually I just use PhotoShop for simple things like brightness or color balance. The best is making dinner before dark so I can just use natural light, and not need a photo editor at all.
What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
Liking: Great photography—especially the folks who really take photography seriously. I love that blog writing is evolving into something much more focused and not just “I had some seitan and broccoli for dinner,” like it was in the old days of blogging. I’m LOVING all the mofo themes, and people who are doing a different theme every day for the whole week. It’s a cool idea even for non-mofo-season! In general, I love that the blog designs seem to be getting more attractive, more classy, and more appealing to look at. I love that Blogger—my old faithful blog host—has really improved its design options…and I LOVE that we can finally respond to individual comments on Blogger!
Disliking: my number-one blogging pet PEEVE is the whole weird giveaway thing that is going on. Kittee calls it “Like Gate,” which I think is hilarious. This is the situation where someone says “I”m giving away a free pizza coupon”…”but first you have to ‘like’ me on Facebook, and ‘like’ the company on Facebook, and tweet about this contest to everyone you went to kindergarten with, and leave 10 voicemail messages on your parents’ answering machine, and leave a comment for every single thing you do, so that I have 1,000,000 comments by the end of it!” It makes me grumpy, as you can tell. For me, it makes the blogosphere feel crass and corporate and pander-y, instead of having it feel like a community of friends who want to do something fun like have a giveaway for the fun of it. I feel that as vegan bloggers, we should be serving one another (our fellow vegans or aspiring vegans), and not serving the companies. I don’t mind product reviews or cookbook reviews, because I think that’s news everyone can use…but I think some discretion is needed. Changing the whole tone of your blog post into something with an advertising tone just so someone can win something worth $5 isn’t worth it to me.
What blogs/websites do you read?
I read so many blogs! I usually read anything in my blog crawl on the side of my blog. I love reading randomofo.com SO MUCH—I’ve marked so many new favorites this mofo season. A few of my standby favorites are: ColdandSleepyCooks, Meet the Wikos, Cake Maker to the Stars, Tahini Too, Manifest Vegan, Julie Hasson… But gosh, the list goes on!
What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?
I actually lived in Seattle, for 2½ years after I graduated college. Back then, I was just a vegetarian—not yet a vegan, and Seattle had only a couple of all-veg spots. But halfway through my Seattle stint, a beautiful veg spot called Carmelita opened up, quite near my house. I was a pretty poor youngster back then, working part time for minimum wage…so I only went to Carmelita once, when my aunt took me out for dinner. I haven’t been back to Seattle in years, but next time I go, I’d really like to go back to my old neighborhood and try out Carmelita again. For old time’s sake!
Oh Portland! I love Dovetail Bakery and Back to Eden most of all, because where I live (in Santa Cruz), no one is making delicious vegan baked goods. I usually load up, and come home with a huge supply that go straight to the freezer for the times when I want a baked treat and I don’t want to bake it myself. For proper nutrition, my two favorites are Native Bowl and Blossoming Lotus. I love the bowls at Native Bowl—so full of flavor and veggies and proteins…filling and fun! I also really love the food at Blossoming Lotus—so far I haven’t ever had a dud there. Once I got to go there for brunch, and that was totally amazeballs!