VVC family

Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas from Vida Vegan & Friends!

Posted on Updated on

You like fluffy biscuits? We adore fluffy biscuits! You like gravy? We lo-o-o-ve gravy! Here at Vida Vegan HQ, Janessa’s daydreaming of mashed potatoes and pie, Michele is gonna get down with some stuffing in a very special way, and I’m seriously craving sweet potatoes, which can only mean one thing: let’s talk Vegan Thanksgiving recipes! It’s last minute, for sure, but there’s always time to add another pie to the menu. Sheesh.

With the need for an assortment of pies, savoury stuffing and whatever seitan/tofu/en croute is the latest and greatest or best of the rest, let’s grab a plate, enjoy with loved (or liked!) ones, and keep menu planning for one delicious American Thanksgiving afternoon!

And may we suggest, if your American T-Day celebration isn’t as cruelty-free as you may like (oh, family), we recommend you find your local veg group, or start your own vegan potluck with friends, and veganize the heck out of your family favorites on another day. Enjoy!

Check out these Vegan Thanksgiving photos & holiday tips from our own Vida Vegan Con 2015 Speakers & Friends:


Starting things off with a little something something…

Image source: Vegan Yack Attack

Apple Pie on the Rocks, via Vegan Yack Attack. Cheers, Jackie!

Image source: Food52
Image source: Food52

Perhaps the ultimate fall comfort food, we have a legit Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Parsnip and Potato Mash, courtesy of Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw, via Food 52. Check out Gena’s tips on veganizing your own Thanksgiving, including her “perfect vegan pie crust“, over here.

For even more tips and on all things mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing, check out The Sexy Vegan’s latest holiday episode. He’s quite the informative fella!

This one has definitely become a new Vegan Thanksgiving classic: Joni Marie Newman’s Seitan en Croute from 500 Vegan Recipes. Mmmm, “en croute”.

Joni Marie Newman’s Seitan en Croute

It’s quite the savoury masterpiece. The recipe is up on Just the Food. You know what to do.

Here in Portland, Oregon, we look forward to food writer Grant Butler’s holiday recipe guides in The Oregonian every year. I seriously found my new favorite pie thanks to his pieces last year, veganizing Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie for the second year in a row just yesterday.

Image source: Oregonian FoodDay

Check out Grant’s most recent, talking all things cranberry sauce (with some recipes, of course): 7 Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, relish and chutney recipes, via Oregonian FoodDay.

Another holiday favorite goes to Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Chickpea Cutlets:

Image source: The PPK

Since Veganomicon’s release in 2007, I have been to so many potlucks and dinners that have starred these great patties (okay, fine, and last year she made them inside my apartment. Wowzers.)

Okay, we’ve got the seitan, so don’t forget the biscuits!!

Fluffy Biscuits & Creamy Sage Gravy, Vegan Diner

Fluffy Biscuits & Creamy Sage Gravy, Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner

Frankly, it’s almost time for pie, so let’s get down with some sweet potatoes as a stepping stone. The aroma of mashed sweet potatoes, cinnamon & pecan is my ultimate holiday food nostaglia, and this one looks deeeee-lightful:

The Blissful Chef’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecan Topping

Want your mashed sweet potatoes to be SWEET potatoes? Er….yams? Sayward’s got ya covered with these Traditional “Dandied” Yams:

Image source: Bonzai Aphrodite

If you’re like me, you’ve been known to insist on mac & cheese as part of your Vegan Thanksgiving spread.

Image source: Brown VeganBWc]

Monique over at Brown Vegan knows what I’m talking about, and is a fellow lover of the non-traditional VegNews recipe that made waves a few years ago. She’s got it posted up over here.

You made it through! It time for pie!

First up, this absolutely gorgeous chocolate pecan pie from chocolate guru Fran Costigan:

Image source: Fran Costigan

And goodness, gracious: Maple Yam-Ginger Pie from Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen.

Image source: FancyFoodFancy

You can find that recipe up on FancyFoodFancy.

And when in doubt, both the Voluptuous Vegan and Bryanna Clark Grogan have epic offerings of their own. Isa has the first recipe up on ThePPK.

Image source: The PPK

And hey, both Hannah Kamsinky and Dynise Balcavage have released exclusively vegan pie cookbooks in recent years.

Image source: Hannah Kaminsky

What a beautiful time for veganism.

And because some of us really like to go back for more stuffing, we’ve got two more for ya, of the cornbread persuasion:

Image source: Vegan Latina

Cornbread Sofrito Stuffing with Veggie Chorizo, courtesy of Terry Hope Romero on Vegan Latina.

And one more for the road: Vegan Southern-Style Cornbread Stuffing, courtesy of Susan Voisin on Fatfree Vegan.

For more ideas, check out these real life Thanksgiving Feasting recaps from our friends Bianca Phillips, Sayward Rebhal, Lisa Coulson (aka Panda with Cookie) & Jackie Sobon:

Thanksgiving Recap, or, Tale of Unturkey, via Vegan Crunk

What we ate Wednesday: THANKSGIVING!, via Bonzai Aphrodite

All things Vegan Thanksgiving on Vegan Yack Attack

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes & Plans, via Panda with Cookie

Plus, Vegan Cuts has this awe-inspiring Vegan Thanksgiving Pinterest collection.

Go team, go!

One small thing that makes a big difference? Print out or hand write a nice menu for your delicious spread, and post it on the wall. We bet it’ll get your company even more excited!

As for us, Janessa’s whole family will be together for the first time in years! Their plans include pumpkin pie, pizza and going outside to play “Leaf Extreme”. Michele is gonna be getting down with some of these, and I’m bringing Shiraz, chocolate cream pie and biscuit dough (Dude, you better believe it’s homemade!) to a small get-together (while craving Thai food, no doubt). My evening plans include relaxing with my partner, more pie, and Skyping my sister and her new dog.

And if you need an idea for staying in and avoiding the world, may we suggest keeping calm, picking up some Pad Thai and Pumpkin Curry, and relaxing with some quirky science fiction on Netflix. Nice.

Vida Vegan Member Spotlight: Kat Mendenhall

Posted on

Hi Kat!

We ♥ our Vida Vegan members, and we bet you will, too!

It’s time to catch up with another featured member from our Vida Vegan Membership collection, and this time we’re talking with Kat Mendenhall, the multi-talented creator of Kick Butt Boots! We’re sharing just what this vegan lifestyle coach, culinary nutritional expert and boot maker’s been up to lately & excited about—and just what restaurant she’d pick to dine at for the rest of her life. Let’s be real: It’s a great one! Recently, Kat was the first vegan chef to provide a demo at the Texas State Fair’s Celebrity Kitchen, and had her own booth at the epic Texas Veggie Fair in Dallas!

So, Kat, what excites you most about veganism today?

I’ve been vegan for five years and the explosion I’ve seen during that time is simply unbelievable. From new vegan food products, clothing, shoes, cookbooks, etc. The awareness of the cruelty to animals is more visible, including the health hazards of consuming animal products. In addition the rise in environmental efforts to control, stop, and change the food industry from poisoning our planet and the environment. Minds are being open, people are demanding change, and the world is beginning to improve for the better. That is super exciting!

What have you been up to lately? Any projects you’d like to share?

I teach cooking classes at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville, Arkansas twice a month. I also hold monthly workshops in Dallas based around specific themes. [Recently, it was] all about the guys,”Tailgating Without the Meat”. I also continuously work on the development phase of creating a Texas designed cruelty-free cowboy boot.

Have any critters at home you’d like to brag about?

A 4 1/2 year old rescue dog, Izzy, my grand kitty Abbott, and a 1 1/2 year old pit bull we recently picked up wandering out on a country road in Arkansas, Belle.

If you were suddenly transformed into one creature, what do you think it would be?

Is this a trick questions? A “cat” of course!

If you could have a sanctuary for any creature in the world, what would they be?

Cows with plenty of dogs and cats around to keep them company.

What’s your favorite breakfast to make on a day off?

Vegan biscuits with ‘sausage” gravy; cruelty-free comfort food at it’s best.

What is your favorite word?

Ridicalickanoculous, my own creation!

We’re taking Vida Vegan Con on the road! How has Austin, TX caught your eye?

Caught my eye and my heart! I love that it is unique and holds tight to its Texas roots despite its growth.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

Italy, on the calendar for next year!

All right, if you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Candle Cafe in New York City

Hellooo, legendary porcini-crusted seitan, and thank you for the answers & cravings, Kat!

You can follow along with Kat on her website’s events page, her Facebook page, with @katmossmendenhall over on Twitter, and hopefully at Vida Vegan Con III this May!


Member Spotlight: Crissie of RunCrissieRun

Posted on Updated on

We ♥ our Vida Vegan members, and we know you do too! So we’ll be chatting with a  new one each month to see what they’re up to and excited about—and steal their breakfast ideas.

First up is a VVC’er who’s been with us since the beginning: Crissie of RunCrissieRun. She’s a mom in a mixed-dietary home (her daughter did just ask for a Tofurky roast for her birthday dinner!), and a full-time career woman, lifelong learner, and wannabe athlete (workouts of choice are running and yoga). On top of all that she tries to travel, read, write, and have as much fun as possible.

Here's Crissie (center) with fellow VVC'ers Molly Caple (left) and Dawn Quinn (right).
Here’s Crissie (center) with fellow VVC’ers Molly and Dawn, hanging in Seattle.

Who would you want with you on a stranded island? And what board game would that person surprise you with?
My husband Derek. Cribbage!

If money were no object, what would you like to do all day/what would your ideal day look like?
I would want to sleep in, volunteer at women’s and children’s shelters leading running groups, yoga classes, and vegan cooking classes!

What dinner would you cook to really impress nonvegan family & friends?
A big Indian meal! In fact, that is my plan when my parents come to visit in a few weeks. And a build-your-own taco bar always does the trick.

If you could have a sanctuary for any creature in the world, what would it/they be?
Only one??  Elephants.

What is your favorite word? Your least favorite?
Favorite is “love.” Least favorite is “can’t.”

What’s your favorite breakfast to make on a day off?
Sprouted grain bread with Daiya cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, and a green smoothie.

Would you rather be able to teleport or fly?
Teleport. Why waste the time it takes to fly??

Have any critters at home you’d like to brag about?
Three! A 12-year-old pup named Sammie, a 14-year-old cantankerous cat named Bumble (at least she wants us to think she is), and a 1-year-old fluffball named Ginny, who has helped Bumble realize she’s not as old and cantankerous as she’d like us all to believe!

What excites you most about veganism today?
People no longer find it cultish or weird, and as a result there’s much more interest and acceptance.

What have you been up to lately?
Trying to keep my head above water between work, taking classes, and living my life.

We hear ya! Thanks, Crissie—we’re off to teach ourselves Cribbage.

You can keep tabs on Crissie on Twitter & Instagram!


Want to be a featured member? Check out our Membership Drive, open through July 31!

Virtual Hangout Coming Sunday, July 6th!

Posted on Updated on

Hey, you know that Google Plus thingy that attempts to get your attention when you log into your gmail? Look, I’m not trying to convince you to “circle” us over there, promise (although you totally can if you reaaaaally want to). You’re likely elsewhere, refreshing your adorable Instagram, tweeting news links and sharing things on your Facebooks (plural, for sure), and don’t wander into Google-social land much. It’s cool, I sorta dig how  elusively odd and still it remains. I’m not asking for much here: just a little visit!

On behalf of your friendly organizers here at Vida Vegan Headquarters, I sure do hope you can click on that top right corner and join us (hence our sharing this on our *other* social media channels and this here blog) for a special get-to-gether. If you have a gmail, you’re almost there already!

Here’s the deal: Google Plus is great for hangin’ out. So, we’re having a big Vida Vegan reunion hangout on Sunday, July 6th at 12pm PST/3pm EST.

Simply click here to RSVP (and then, mute the post if you like) and get ready to jump in via video or chat for our big virtual hangout.

Everyone is welcome!

Come say hello to old & new vegan friends, whether you’ve attended a Vida Vegan Con or not!

Let us know if you questions for the next Vida Vegan Con, or any ideas for classes, speakers or new vegan-friendly companies you want to see.

Learn about the very latest plans for our third conference, and the brand new Vida Vegan Bazaar, set to take place on Friday, May 29 (which friends & family and anyone else in town is encouraged to attend!)

Did you grab one of the coveted Early Bird tickets already?

Were you thinking about capping off an epic vegan road trip with the conference?

Perhaps you’re thinking about attending but wanted to see who else was.

Maybe you can’t make it and wish you could. Hey, stop on by!

Save the afternoon (or whatever time it’ll be by you!) of July 6 and get to know the Vida Vegan family some more.


P.S. As of this post, 15 early bird tickets remain!

Catching up with Vida Vegan Alumni: Q & A with Leigh-Chantelle

Posted on Updated on

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.

Leigh-Chantelle, Viva La Vegan!
Leigh-Chantelle, Viva La Vegan!

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:

LC’s USA Adventures & photos
LC’s USA Adventures & photos

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.

You can follow along with Leigh-Chantelle’s travels and vegan journey by following her  Youtube channel, VivaLaVeganDotNet, Twitters, @VivaLVegan & @leighchantelle and Pintetest page, Viva La Vegan.

Stay tuned for the final installments of our Q & A series and some vegan-friendly entertaining tips for the holiday season here at Vida Vegan Headquarters.

Month of Memories presents: Q & A with Jojo! (aka dear Vegan.in.Brighton)

Posted on Updated on

Greetings! Welcome to the latest edition of our ongoing Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. 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. 

It’s now time to catch up with first time, wonderfully enthusiastic Vida Vegan alumnae, Jojo Huxster, better known to vegan bloggers (and readers!) around the globe as the longtime blogger behind “Vegan.in.Brighton“. Jojo’s currently across the pond once again, exploring and documenting even more of what the United States has to offer vegan visitors.


Hi JoJo! Just what have you been up to this summer? 
After Vida Vegan Con I travelled around the Pacific Northwest a little more and then popped home and quickly turned around for Spain where I celebrated my 30th birthday with my besties. After that I popped to Zagreb to hang with some more wonderful vegan friends.
Since I’ve been back in Brighton I’ve been eating all of the gelato, planning my next trip (see ya soon San Francisco!) and baking cupcakes for Operation Icing, my not-for-profit bakery.
Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II? 
After reading everyone’s write ups of the first conference in 2011 how could I not? The speaker line up was amazing and it was a perfect opportunity to meet up with online friends from all over the globe. I finally got to meet Mandee from Cupcake Kitteh and we had a ridiculously fun time sharing a room together for a whole week.
Looking back, what was the most memorable class? 
This is a tough one but I’d have to say Isa’s iPhone photography class, she’s completely hilarious and awesome and I have been using many swatches in my photographs ever since!
How has your blog changed since the three-day conference? 
I am making a concerted effort to take better photographs whenever I can, but, y’know, sometimes I’m just hungry so don’t hold me to it!
Who were you really excited to meet? 
Wow, so many people. I’ve been talking to so many PPKers and bloggers for years and years without ever having a chance to meet them in person so it was a total whirlwind and I loved meeting everyone.
So, have you started reading any new blogs? 
Yes! I have two new favorite blog discoveries, one was Bonzai Aphrodite, I’d never heard of this beautiful vegan lifestyle blog before and I love it. I had also never realised that VVC organizer Janessa had a blog, I know right, duh, and I’m loving following her on her travels around Eastern Europe and SE Asia.
Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? 
Can I have more than one favourite meal in Portland? (Note: Duh) I was there for almost two weeks – I seriously had to keep extending my stay because I didn’t want to leave! I loved everything I ate at Back to Eden and if I could I would smuggle Ms Panda with Cookie across the ocean (y’know, if she wants to) to come and live with me so that she can cook me her famous biscuits and gravy every day.
Another meal I keep thinking back to is the Mac ‘n Cheese burger at White Owl Social Club, I ate that thing four times in a week – no regrets!
White Owl’s Mac & Cheese Burger with shoestring fries. Photo via Vegan.in.Brighton

In short, Jojo rules and all of us at Vida Vegan Headquarters are in awe of her Mac ‘n Cheese dedication. Come back this way soon — they’re calling your name!

You can read more about Jojo’s take on VVC2013 right here on her recap and stay tuned to her blog updates & travels (she’s recently been spotted in Las Vegas) over at Instagram, @vegan.in.brighton and ditto on twitter

Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into the end VeganMoFo and beyond.