Vida Vegan

Vida Vegan Member Spotlight: Kat Mendenhall

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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!

 

Vida Vegan HQ’s *Vegan Halloween* Inspiration!

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Artwork by J. Legume

Hey, ghoul. Hey.

Halloween season has arrived and the pumpkins are out!

Whether you’re picking up some sweet confections for your own kids, the neighborhood, a rather mature costume party or it’s the combination of childhood nostalgia + all those dang candy sales getting to you, it’s time to consider your vegan options this week!

As vegans with internet access, we should all know by now that PETA offers this here list (make sure to double and triple check, you know, do the vegan thing, for confectioner’s glaze and sneaky, sneaky things like that) and recently spotlighted these 25 Vegan Halloween Candies. And VegNews jumped in on the fun just last week with their own 2014 Vegan Candy Guide for the festivities, which can only mean one thing…it’s our turn!

From eyeball-inspired sweets to the contemplation of pumpkin hot toddies, we’ve been poking around the internet again and are ready to share some Vegan Halloween inspiration at Vida Vegan Headquarters (including a bunch of folks from our VVC family!)

Vida Vegan HQ presents: 18 Vegan Halloween Ideas

First up, something classic, yet veganized, this way come…

Image source: blog.freepeople.com

1) DIY Vegan Candy Corn, Freepeople.com

Next up, let me give a little “omg omg” and send some thanks to the folks at Vegan Cuts for pointing us this way!

Image source: coracaoconfections.com

2) Pumpkin Spice Caramels (& more!), Coracao Confections

Naturally ⸺ or, not naturally, that is ⸺ it’s certainly not Halloween without some creepy edibles:

Image source: urbanvegan.net

3) Witches’ Fingers, Urban Vegan (2011 speaker!)

Are there vegan gummy worms at the bottom of this bucket of candy? Or more importantly, does anyone make vegan gummy worms and have a bag they can send me for some chocolate dirt & worms action? Mmm, yuck, mmm, yuck.

4) Halloween selections from Sjaack’s Organic Chocolates

Ah, something healthy to sink your teeth into, ba da bum:

Image source: ohsheglows.com

5)  3 Ingredient Halloween Apple Bites, Oh She Glows (2013 attendee!)

These are really cute.

Image source: surfsweets.com

6) Trick or Treat Pack, Surf Sweets

Moving on, would you prefer the following with or without booze?

Image source: Justthefood.blogspot.com

7) BOO-Berry Jiggers,Joni Marie Newman’s Just the Food (soon to be 3-time VVC speaker!)

I must have this in my life. It’s utterly adorable.

Image source: marthastewart.com

8) Shrunken Heads in Spiced Apple Cider, Martha Stewart

Also adorable? (…and this could be my years of obsessive Anne Rice reading talking)

Image source: kokoskitchen.com

9) Vegan Vampire Cupcakes, Koko’s Kitchen

Speaking of…

Image source: veganheritagepress.com

10) Vampire Tacos, Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick via Vegan Heritage Press

There’s at least a few of you planning on (blooooody) pumpkin tacos, right?! I wouldn’t doubt it.

Let’s get to the point:

Image source: veganyackattack.com

11) Stuffed Mushroom Eyeballs, Vegan Yack Attack

The one thing I’ve crossed off my list this week so far:

Image source: earthbalancenatural.com

12) Halloween Sugar Cookies, Earth Balance Natural

Did pumpkin finally sell out? Maybe. But do I still have pumpkin fever? Yes.

Image source: oregonlive.com

13) Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce, Julie Hasson’s Vegan Casseroles via Bake and Destroy (Julie joins us for a 2nd VVC in May, phew)

Hello, thematically-inclined bubble tea:

Image source: dabbled.org

That calls for some sake in there, if you know what I mean (which to clarify, is exactly what I said about wanting sake).

14) Creepy Bubble akaTapioca Pearl Cocktails, Instructable via Dabbled.org

Real food below! Not candy! Keep going!

Image source: bittersweetblog.com

15) Halloween Wild Rice, Bitter Sweet blog (3 timer!)

Yeah, pumpkin, we heart ya still.

16) Spicy Pumpkin Soup (video episodle!), The Sexy Vegan (2015 VVC Speaker!)

One more from Jackie, ’cause, breakfast:

Image source: veganyackattack.com

17) Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, Vegan Yack Attack (2013 attendee & 2015 speaker!)

And for a post-breakfast treat this week, you know what fits the bill:

Image source: vegancrunk.blogspot.com

Hi Bianca! Hi ice cream!

18) So Delicious Halloween Ice Cream Bars on Vegan Crunk (soon to be 3-time VVC speaker!!) 

Store locator here.

Oh, yes:

What do you have in store? Have a creepy, crawly vegan-tastic blog post or idea to share? Let us know, and we just may include it over on our Instagram!

Got your homemade nooch monster costume ready? Pics or it didn’t happen.

It’s a 4-Burner Summer at VVHQ: Membership Drive, Registration, G-Hangin’ & More!

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We’re a few weeks into our Membership Drive, and on behalf of Vida Vegan HQ, I’m so happy to welcome all who have signed up. We’ll start sending out welcome packs to those eligible in just a couple of weeks. So far we’ve got great stuff from Field Roast, Obsessive Confection Disorder, Peanut Butter & Co, and Tofurky…and there’s more to come! And we’ll be running our first member feature on the blog this month—we can’t wait!

Really, we want to thank you for the support. We don’t have angel investors or corporate backing or anything, so it’s between you and us to keep this going and to launch new projects. We considered doing a crowdfunder but figured this would be the better route, just grouping the fundraising with our Membership launch and Early Bird ticket sales, which we’ve wanted to do for a while now.

We’re learning so much about you through those profiles of yours: what kind of tech equipment you’re into, favorite classes of past VVC’ers, and how many of you are already vegan or workin’ on it—super helpful as we build our VVC III agenda, but also for future programs and projects. Again, we’re only here because of you, so the more we can connect with you the better.

For those who haven’t signed up, you’ve got until July 31 to grab these bonuses. But be warned: Some of the perks are limited and close to selling out…like the Early Bird registration spots and individual inclusive packages did. We do still have a couple of the double-inclusives left, so if you’ve got a friend registering and would like to share a 2-queen-bed hotel room, check it out. (And if that’s not going to work for you, mark your calendar: Regular Vida Vegan Conference registration opens August 1.)

If you can’t attend the conference but still want to support what we do, we’ve got benefits like online shout-outs, e-books, blog features, and postcards with love from Austin. Or you can check out our online store and pick up a t-shirt or water bottle. Thank you!

Other pots on the stove:
Don’t forget, this weekend is our first Vida Vegan Google Hangout. Sunday, July 6, at noon PST, join us online for an hour of chit-chat. We want to see new and old faces! Connect with each other. Let us know what’s happening with you. Hit us up with questions you have about VVC or anything else we’ve got going on.

Oh, and our open speaker application period ends July 9—so if you’ve been working on your idea, time to button it up and send it on in! We want to hear from you!

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.

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!

Month of Memories: Vida Vegan at the Office

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Yeah, we don’t have an office. Our HQ is a P.O. box and a collection of living rooms, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and bars. It’s a little challenging at times, sure, but it also allows us to try new spots around town, curl up with cats, and stay limber, so we can dream up lots of fun stuff for the likes of you.

Here’s a look back, via our Instagram feeds, at what a Vida Vegan meeting looks like!

Working on the schedule in Michele’s living room, from @janessapk
Early VVC floor plan sketching, in Janessa’s coffee table, from @vidaveganhq
Bagels and coffee and notebooks and laptops, at Ford Food & Drink, via @vidaveganhq
A blank slate, ready to be filled with classes. Another living room shot, from @jdfunks

And for you Portland folks, just a heads-up, we signed a contract for a little event space for early December. We’ll try to get details together for you soon. We’re pretty excited about how it’s shaping up.