Tips

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

Posted on Updated on

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!

Holiday Blogging Ideas!

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on

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

Dawn & Helen’s Very-Vegan Instagram Musts (Cat Ladies ‘R’ Us)

Posted on Updated on

One of @jdfunks’ roommates being such a cat.
A few months ago, our friends at VegNews issued a list of vegan Instagrammers they simply “can’t get enough of”, which naturally, inspired us to contemplate our own. Your friendly VVC organizers quickly scrolled through our own feeds and so many eye-catching, appetizing, adorable and quirky photos popped out at us. It’s no surprise that Instagram may undeniably be the social media medium of the moment, and that encouraged us to hand this notion over to our own social media mavens, Seattle vegan bloggers Helen Pitlick and Dawn Quinn, to get the list even more relevant. Trust us, they know what’s up.
social media dawn quinn helen pitlick vida vegan tech
Best.

Dawn and Helen are seriously super and super serious Vida Vegan alumnae, with a joint presentation on “Effective Social Media” already under their belt from this past fall’s first-ever  VVC Tech Seminar in Seattle. The lovely power duo is back again this upcoming weekend (!!) with “How to Use Social Media to Win (Vegan) Friends & Influence People”  on Sunday afternoon. From the sound of it, you’re in store for a lot of discussion – and time for questions – about social media tips, photography, relevancy, community, practices, promotional disclosure, popularity, balance, and more – so, stay tuned, listen up and ask those question!

Case in point: darling Eva VonSassipants of the @VidaVeganHQ household

We picked all of these people because they’re all real people (minus the cat, and not professional photogs) who take photos of their food, adorable pets, travels and vegan lifestyle in a way that’s relatable, sometimes funny and always super delicious-looking. We also have representation from raw-friendly and gluten-free pals. They’ve got good followings for good reason and are all super down to earth and cool. They make you want to be their friend with their pictures. - Dawn & Helen

Without further adieu, here are six vegan folks that Dawn and Helen dig on Instagram, and think you may, too:

@RyanPatey: Ryan frequently shares what he’s eating, from wraps to soups to restaurant experiences, which makes veganism seem really easy. Everything he eats looks delicious, but he’s certainly not a professional chef (in the best possible way!). He balances this out with his cat, shows, and other randomness. @food_and_cats: You just want to be Michelle’s friend. Her profile description says, g”uess what I mostly post about,” and while it’s true that her feed is largely devoted to the delicious meals she cooks up and the adorable Pekoe and Tetley, Michelle also gives insight into her life outside of veganism by posting pics of her partner, adventures, and the occasional PBR. @Amanda_eats_slc: Dog owner and feral cat whisperer of Salt Lake City, Amanda makes being vegan look easy. In addition to adorable animal pics, you’ll find healthy vegan lunches, highlights of veg-friendly SLC restaurants along with travels, friends and her vegan lifestyle. Her profile tagline of “will write for cat food and vodka” seems it up in the most endearing way. @Pjrvs: Paul is a vegan who makes things happen. A vegan cookbook author and designer, he’s made a name for himself in terms of being a successful guy. You want to follow him everywhere just to see what makes him tick. In addition to being awesome, Paul uncooks a lot of amazing raw (sometimes cooked) meals, adventures in the great outdoors and hangs with two adorable pet rats. Seriously, come for the gorgeous outdoor scenery and mouthwatering meals, and stay for the sweet rats. @Albert_Weskie: Move over, Maru — if you’re a fan of fluffy orange cats with sweet faces and a penchant for naps and mischief, follow Albert. (If not, you’re probably a horrible person — JK!). Albert may not be vegan, but we have it on good authority that his parents are. JL of @jlgoesvegan: JL is as lovely in real life as she is online, and her Instagram account showcases bits and pieces of her very vegan life: her speaking engagements, cooking for clients, exercising and of course the delicious, healthy meals she has dining out and at home. Expect a plethora of smoothies, colorful salads and some wine and treats thrown in for good measure.

What they like about Instagram:
-
  • Makes anyone a better photographer
  • Hashtags are great potential for discovery and community

Their habitual hates:

  • Accounts that are all or predominantly selfies
  • People who share their Instagram photos on every social media account (!!)
To follow along with our two mavens, check out @hpilick and @veganmoxie

While we’re here, the ladies of Vida Vegan Headquarters (meaning @VidaVeganHQ, @janessapk and @jdfunks) would like to throw even more love to some of our favorite Instagram accounts (which comes with a bunch of duh’s, no doubt): @IsaChandra, @Lechousauvage, @Prfctpineapples@Lazysmurf, @animalkind@vegankitten, @lagusta@redhotvegan, @jayastafa and @inmypiesClearly, we’re enamored with vegan Austin!

Jess would also like to throw out a little public plea about her own Instagram pet peeve numero uno - Please, please, stop with the blatant screen-caps of your own blog posts and facebook updates  – it’s so not necessary (and frankly, an obnoxious overstep into marketing land on a casual medium)….We come for the vegan tacos and cats, pls!

Let’s spread the vegan inspiration!

Want to share your own Instragram account or a favorite? Leave a comment – and of course, hashtag ‘con happenings with #VVC2013 and #VidaVeganCon.

VVC 2013 Expert Corner

Posted on Updated on

expert

By now you’ve all seen the agenda, but we figured we might as well pack as much as possible into this weekend. To that end, in addition to all the classes and workshops and discussions, we netted some really fantastic talent together for an Expert Corner. They’ll be in the Kridel Ballroom, our home base for the conference. Stuff your brains with all their know-how!

Photography • Marika Collins & Kate Lewis
Two of the most exciting vegan photographers out there, Kate and Marika can school you on composition, lighting, editing, and even what all those buttons on your camera actually do.
Friday, 1:45-3:45 • Saturday, 3:15-5:00 • Sunday, 9:45-11:00

Nutrition • Ginny Messina
Ginny Messina’s been studying and writing about nutrition since you were in short pants. You can’t get more thorough, reliable advice.
Friday, 4:00-4:45

Marketing & Social Media • Helen Pitlick & Dawn Quinn
Dawn and Helen live and work in social media. These savvy ladies will get your online peripherals (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, whatever else was invented last night) in order.
Saturday, 9:30-10:45

Business • Nicole Sopko
As Vice President of Upton’s Naturals, Nicole Sopko is pivotal in its growth. She knows how a vegan company can succeed ethically. It’s possible!
Saturday, 11:00-12:00

Tech • Jason Das
Got a question about your blog or website? Ask web developer and designer Jason Das, founder and publisher of Super Vegan.
Saturday, 2:15-3:00

Business & Culinary Arts • Julie Hasson
Julie Hasson has decades in the food industry and has run her own food cart, written more than a handful of books, and is starting a line of baking mixes—pick her brain!
Sunday, 11:15-12:15

Vegan Pregnancy & Raising Vegan Kids • Sayward Rebhal
Having a kid? Thinking of maybe having a kid? Don’t miss this chance to sit down and chat with Sayward Reghal, an intelligent, open woman who’s been there and studied that.
Sunday, 1:45-2:30

The 2013 Vida Vegan Con BlogFeed is here…

Posted on Updated on

Let's read more!
…and welcome to vegan summer camp!

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.