VVC alum

VVC Alum Does Good: Carrie Forrest’s Vegan Delish App

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Carrie Forrest headshotVida Vegan is the best extended family ever! Our group is filled with so much creativity and productivity, all spreading the good vegan word through words and sights and sounds. VVC alum Carrie Forrest (Carrie on Vegan) has created Vegan Delish, a whole foods recipe app for Apple handheld devices. We wanted to know more!

You blog tons of recipes—what made you take the app leap? Was it just app or cookbook time?

That’s right. After blogging for over three years, I had amassed enough recipes and interest that it was time to organize them into something marketable. I had the opportunity to license software to create Vegan Delish, which is essentially a digital cookbook with cool features like a shopping list, social media sharing options, and recipe ratings. Besides the interactive features, I love being able to constantly add new recipes to the app to keep it fresh and relevant.

Vegan Delish iPhone screenshotWhat was the hardest aspect of development?

As a blogger, I wasn’t always consistent in my form, but when you publish recipes in the app, there are certain protocols you have to follow. That was a challenge, in terms of editing. I also felt pressure to increase the quality of my photos and take my skills up a notch.

And the most rewarding?

I’m like a proud parent when anyone tells me they use Vegan Delish. My ultimate goal with both my blog and my app has been to inspire people to try cooking easy, vegan meals at home, so I feel fulfilled whenever that happens.

Do you receive feedback from your users? Anything particularly surprising?

There is a recipe rating and review feature, and I read every comment on individual recipes from users. I’m sometimes surprised by the feedback. For instance, one person left a review saying her kids loved the Curry Kale Chips, which surprised me since I never would have thought to categorize that recipe as kid-friendly.

iPad screenshot

What’s your favorite recipe on the app?

Since my specialty is creating recipes that are super healthy and in general made with no oils, salt, or added sugars, I had to go and mess with the already-healthy black bean brownie and add spinach to it. Even though it turns the batter green, my Spinach & Black Bean Brownies still come out tasting awesome (and once they’re baked, they’re not green). Topped with my Vanilla “Cream” Frosting made with cashews and dates…mmmmmm!

Do you have future plans for Vegan Delish? How will it evolve?

My next big plan is to add recipes from other bloggers; I really want to grow the recipe base and include some of the fantastic healthy, vegan recipes that are in the blogosphere. In fact, if you’re interested in contributing, please email me at Carrie @ VeganDelish . com!

Returning to Portland for VVC, what’s a must-see/eat/do for newcomers?

I absolutely love visiting Portland, and I am thrilled to be returning in May. My favorite places to visit are the Saturday Market, Herbivore Clothing, the International Rose Test Garden, and the farmers’ market at PSU. My all-time favorite restaurants in Portland are Prasad (loved seeing it spoofed in this episode of Portlandia) and Blossoming Lotus.

Thanks, Carrie. We’ll see you in May!

Q & A with Ryan Patey of T.O.F.U. Magazine

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Woo-ee, look at that! The first-ever Vida Vegan Tech Seminar came to fruition last weekend, and just as we know our attendees are surely still thinking about the future of their own blogging (and as we’ve heard, already putting those plans into action!), so are the 2013 conference speakers.

Ryan Patey, T.O.F.U. Magazine

This time around, we talk advertising annoyances, Northwest vegan indulgences and share insight about the future of the internet with T.O.F.U. magazine founder and returning speaker, Ryan Patey.

T.O.F.U. is a Canadian based, alternative online entity with six issues under its belt. It features diverse stories and support for those who “dedicate their live to change”. The magazine’s goal is to consistently inspire their readers “to think for themselves in a world that so often hopes you do as you’re told”. 

Read more here and if you haven’t yet, do consider picking up T.O.F.U.’s latest issue.

Q & A with Ryan Patey

Where do you see blogging going?

I think blogging is headed to more of a short-form thing. With so many folks working/playing/living on their smart phones, content has to be more concise, and I think blogs will adapt to that somehow. Either that or you may see blogs addressing a more niche audience to entice them to break out the tablet or laptop for longer entries, which should be interesting since veganism is already a niche audience, albeit one that is becoming more mainstream.

What’s your favorite photo editor?

Unless I can get away with using Preview for something basic like resizing an image, I’m a sucker for punishment and I go straight to Photoshop. It’s overkill most of the time, but it’s what I know (sort of).

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?

I’m liking that I know of a lot more blogs that tackle vegan issues other than the next meal. Maybe I’m just getting better at finding them or maybe they’re getting better at being found, but either way, it’s great.

I’m disliking the advertising trend. Maybe it’s just the punk in me, but if you’re going to put advertising on your site, at least curate the companies that advertise there. Going the Google AdWords route can lead to some unfortunate associations, and approaching a business to advertise on your blog could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Yes, I went the Casablanca route.

What blogs/websites do you read?

I get most of my news/links from Twitter, so the blogs I read are more dependent on the ones people share, but it seems I spend most of my time on Sexy Tofu, The Gay Vegans, Sistah Vegan, and Queer Vegan Food.

What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?

Sadly, I’ve only been to Seattle twice, and both were brief visits. We hit a Thai buffet on the way to VVC, and then on the way back I ended up spending the night on a whim. I had some great Korean food at a small place with a vegan menu, along with their regular menu. Funny enough, I don’t think I had many of the things from that menu in Korea when I moved there soon after.

Note: Vida Vegan is delighted to clarify that this is surely the all vegan buffet known as Araya’s. The Korean restaurant was likely the mysterious Korean Tofu House on University Ave, which is now closed.

In Portland?

Do doughnuts count? If so, Voodoo Doughnuts. If not, you’re no fun! But if I have to go that route, maybe a food truck like Homegrown Smoker? Those places are dangerous, and I had to have a serious health food menu push when I got back to Canada after VVC. Sadly, I didn’t get to try the unicorn meat.


Thanks, Ryan!

Doughnuts totally, totally count, but unfortunately, the short-lived yet magical Unicart has also since closed. Let’s make sure you try even more new carts on the next visit.


For more of Ryan’s insights, check out his twitter, @ryanpatey, and the official T.O.F.U. Magazine facebook page. The magazine regularly seeks contributors.
Stay tuned for the full list of 2013 Vida Vegan Con speakers & class topics!

Speaker Q&A: Kelly Peloza of Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

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Kelly Peloza and Gnocchi

Welcome back to our ongoing Vida Vegan Q & A series, where we discuss snazzy tricks, tips, vegan food and the future of blogging with speakers from our upcoming, one-day intensive Tech Seminar (tickets available here) in Seattle, WA and the now three-day conference this May in Portland. Today’s insight comes from 2011 & 2013 speaker, Kelly Peloza, of Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and Seitan Beats Your Meat. Back when I was in college, my part-time jobs included selling over-priced movie tickets and angrily scooping ice cream. Kelly, on the other hand, works on her degree in the arts by day, while developing her second cookbook, set to star vegan cocktail-inspired desserts, by night. Kelly rules.

Q & A with Kelly Peloza

Where do you see blogging going?
It’s crazy how just recently, vegan food blogging was just a hobby for most people, but now some bloggers are turning it into full-time jobs, publishing books, and there’s a whole conference dedicated to vegan bloggers! WordPress, Blogger, and other services have become far more intuitive and well-designed, so it’s almost effortless to get the bare essentials of a blog up and running. I can only imagine this will continue and bloggers will take their food writing even more seriously, creating better content, connections, and ideas to share.

What’s your favorite photo editor?
I use Lightroom, then add any finishing touches in Photoshop if necessary.

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
I love how some bloggers bring unique elements to their blogs, like how Amey at Vegan Eats and Treats illustrates her posts and Hannah of BitterSweet posts her food-related knit and crochet projects. I’m not so sure about raw food or Instagram. Or Instagrams of raw food.

What blogs/websites do you read?
Vegansaurus is one of my favorites, plus the massive PPK MoFo feed! It’s fun finding new blogs to follow through Vegan MoFo.

What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?
I loved Highline Bar, and Mighty-O donuts for breakfast!

In Portland?
It was all about the food carts! You can’t go wrong with Native Bowl and a macnocheetoh burrito(seriously, see here) from Homegrown Smoker.


Thanks, Kelly!

For more information on November 3rd’s Tech Seminar, visit here. For information on our return to Portland, OR in May 2013 (tickets are already for sale) read this. To check out Kelly’s first cookbook, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, go here.

Speaker Q&A with John McDevitt of The Laziest Vegans

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In preparation for our upcoming Tech Seminar, we here at Vida Vegan HQ have been discussing blogging and the vegan internet non-stop (as usual), but with an even greater focus on the technical side of things; pondering just where we all see both long and short-form blogging evolving in the future. It’s a curious topic, to say the least. Since it’s so heavy on our minds, we reached out to our own experts, including speakers from November 3rd’s event and our 2013 roster*, to weigh in with their own thoughts on the state of blogging, technical insight, and their favorite Pacific Northwest vegan options. Of course.

First up, is the dedicated blogger who’s your go-to-guy for the latest on vegan snacks, and someone to ask for vegan survival thriving advice if you’re ever in Nebraska: 2011 & 2013 Vida Vegan Speaker John McDevitt of The Laziest Vegans in the World, where he’s currently featuring his thoughts on pumpkin spice coconut milk, and local vegan community hub, Vegan Omaha. John shares his honest thoughts on Tumblr, monetizing trends, the blogs he actually reads, and love for the vegan fishwich.

Q & A with John McDevitt

Where do you see blogging going?
I’m not a big fan of Tumblr, but it’s probably going more in that direction. Micro blogging or whatever is mobile friendly. I would probably blog more if Blogger had a decent app.

What’s your favorite photo editor?
I’m pretty boring, Picasa.

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
I like that more people are getting into it. I dislike the ad/monetizing thing, it’s pretty annoying. If you get tens of thousands a views a month, ok, but most bloggers don’t. Has anyone ever clicked one of those ads? No.

What blogs/websites do you read? I don’t look at as many as I should. My favorite blogs are Post Punk Kitchen, Vegansaurus, Vegan Crunk, and The Gay Vegans.

What do you want to learn more about at the Tech Seminar?
How to monetize!?!?!?

In Portland?
Vita Fishwich

Thanks, John! Keeping it real.

Want to chime in with your own thoughts? Please do so below, or email us at VidaVeganConference [at] gmail.com

*full 2012 line up being disclosed soon!

Speaker Spotlight Thursday: Dawn Quinn and Helen Pitlick

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For VVHQ’s first special speaker spotlight during Vegan MoFo, we thought we’d pick two ladies dear to our collective hearts.

Dawn Quinn of Vegan Moxie and Helen Pitlick of Vegtastic!, both hailing from the Seattle, WA area, are speaking at Vida Vegan’s first ever one-day seminar in Seattle this November, focusing on technical aspects of blogging (their specialty: social media, naturally) AND at Vida Vegan Con 2013 in Portland.

Dawn is an expert in social media, copy editing, and champagne cocktails; so naturally we love her and want her involved in whatever we do as much as possible. She’s also adorable and is starting the  MCDM program at University of Washington this fall, so she’s suuuper smart and stuff.


Dawn in the kitchen..


Helen is a social media maven; her tweets could make me want to attend a golfing conference with glee, which is saying a lot, considering golfing is like the boringest.

She has a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington, Instagrams a lot, and even has time to blog. She’s got the smarts and the drive, and we’re super thrilled to have her involved with Vida Vegan for two different events.


Helen in the kitchen too!

For the One Day Tech Seminar on November 3 in Seattle, Helen and Dawn will be speaking on Next-Level Social Media:

How do you connect your blogging goals with social media? This intermediate-level session for people already active with Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks will explore the use of these tools to build community and craft your personal vs. blog identity. We’ll look at identifying and utilizing emerging social media platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest. We’ll also touch upon best practices for sharing content across these different platforms.

{Tickets available here}

For Vida Vegan Con in May 2013, you’ll have to stay tuned to the blog to find out what they’re speaking about (schedule coming soon!). Rest assured, everything these ladies do is wicked smart, organized, enthralling and educational.

We love Helen and Dawn, and heck, all of our speakers, and are super proud to have them involved with Vida Vegan.


Guest Post: The Healthy Voyager’s Vida Vegan Adventure

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Our next guest post comes from Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, aka The Healthy Voyager. Carolyn’s expertise will be featured at the grand Travel panel and during a handy travel-orientated cooking demo at Whole Foods (which will be open to the public—stay tuned!).

I’m so excited to be attending the 1st annual Vida Vegan Con as well as to be speaking! As one would imagine, I’ll be taking on the travel panel, but as an added bonus, I’ll be conducting a cooking demo on how folks can cook in their hotel rooms while traveling to save time, money, and of course, be sure it’s healthy and vegan!

I can’t wait to hang out with friends and meet new faces, all in the name of promoting the vegan movement. I adore Portland (check out my Healthy Voyager Portland episode if you haven’t seen it yet), and I am stoked that the con is being held there.

I’m already dreaming of the yummy food, the new friends, and helping other vegans (or those dabbling with the idea) how to live and travel as a vegan with zero problems at all. Additionally, I’ll be promoting the pre-sales of my cookbook due out this holiday season, The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen Cookbook.

See you in just a few short weeks!

The Healthy Voyager