Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Organic Salad

I got an organic spring salad mix, organic yellow peppers, organic pre-shredded carrots, and an organic avocado from Whole Foods the other day. I mixed them up with Sunergia Soy Feta in Mediterranean Herb and topped it with a ginger miso dressing. So satisfying!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yummy Movie Night Snack

Sometimes I'm just in the mood for some popcorn and a movie. I have an air popper that has probably been with me for more than 15 years, and it still works perfectly! I pour a half a cup of popcorn kernels, which are easy to find on the bulk foods section of my favorite food stores, into the popper. As the popcorn is popping into the bowl, I drizzle teensy bits of olive oil into it, sprinkle a little salt, and add a bit of nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan to it (in this case, Parma! from Vegan Essentials). The results are delicious and fun to eat!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Humpback Whales

This is one of my favorite humpback whale photos, I took it when we were "mobbed" by a few humpback whales on a boat in between the islands of Kauai and Niihau. They swam under the boat and would surface a few feet next to us. They surrounded us and basically forced us to stop moving for about an hour and a half.

They are massive, yet gentle. They were methodical but playful. You could feel their power, as they could have easy overturned our boat if they wanted to. Instead, they simply swam and surfaced and sang. We had an underwater microphone on the boat that picked up their vocalizations. It was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced in my life.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vegan Cupcake Mania

I've become obsessed with vegan cupcakes. I blame Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. This was my Earth Day batch (blue and green!). They were so flippin' good it was hard to believe that I made them! It's really not the healthiest obsession, but rest assured I didn't eat them all! In fact, I find with cupcakes, it's more fun to make and share them than it is to eat them. Yes, I like one or two and I definitely like eating the leftover batter, but it's more fun to share my little artistic vegan and partially organic creations than it is to eat myself into a sugar-induced coma. I'll be making more soon!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Manufactured Meat?

The New York Times published this article titled Can People Have Meat and a Planet, Too? about manufacturing meat in a lab as an alternative to raising livestock. Apparently it's far from being an economically viable option, but it could be processed into a burger or nugget form within several years. The proponents of this "franken-meat" argue that it would be more humane and less polluting, but it seems like it would be a lot easier to be more ethical and eco-friendly by simply going veg!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rosewater Pistachio Cupcakes

The other day I followed the Rosewater Pistachio Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The food-grade rosewater came from Wegman's and the pistachios came from Whole Foods. I made it with rosewater glaze instead of rosewater buttercream frosting, since I didn't have any confectioner's sugar. The results were scrumptious!!! Licking the extra batter out of the bowl was probably the best part. It doesn't have an overwhelming flower-y thing going on, it's just a hint of rose and a subtle crunch from the pistachios. Here they are fresh from the oven:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

As vegans, we generally celebrate Earth Day every day. Vegans have a much smaller impact on global warming than their meat-eating counterparts (see The Carbon Footprint of a Cheeseburger). As a vegan, I also tend to buy more organic food because I shop in places like Whole Foods and health food stores. That said, there are always more ways to reduce your impact on the earth. One way is to reduce consumption of bottled water.

The other day I came across the website, Think Outside the Bottle. I had recently read an article in National Geographic's Green Guide about the safety issues surrounding plastic, so I googled reusable water bottles. Plastic comes from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. According to, billions of plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year. Even more disturbing is what happens to plastic when it ends up in the ocean. Plastic doesn't biodegrade, it photodegrades, meaning that it just gets smaller and smaller, mimicking plankton. There is a plastic, floating dump in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and it wreaks havoc on sea birds and other marine animals that consume it.

After reading about all of this and becoming completely disgusted, I took an on-line pledge to stop using plastic water bottles. After careful research, I settled on ordering the Sigg aluminum water bottle. It's coated with a water based sealant that prevents any leaching, and that claim has been backed up by independent tests in both the U.S. and Europe. My Sigg bottle is on it's way, and I'm going to be way more careful about using plastics in the future.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eco-Friendlier Nail Polish and Remover

I think nail polish is fun, especially on my toenails when I'm at a warm tropical beach. Typical nail polish, while usually vegan, is chemical-laden with all sorts of toxic chemicals like toluene and formaldehyde. No-Miss is my favorite brand of nail polish remover and nail polish because it's made with eco-friendlier and safer ingredients such as organic fruit acids, vanilla, and lichen. I've always been able to find their products at local health food stores, and they aren't that much more expensive than regular nail polish and remover (which often has gelatin in it). This brand of nail polish also lasted longer on my toenails than typical nail polish. You can buy their products at Vegan Essentials.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tofu Scramble

My super easy recipe for basic tofu scramble:

-1 package tofu

-a generous sprinkling of VegeBase (basically instant veggie broth powder)

-some Braggs Liquid Aminos


-nutritional yeast

There are no precise measurements. I kind of just add a little of everything at a time, stirring and tasting as I go. I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan, so I don't need any oil. You can add veggies like kale and green and red peppers to make it super healthy and extra delicious. When I'm done, I add some fresh-ground black pepper and serve it with whole wheat toast with some Earth Balance margarine. Tofu scramble-the breakfast of champions!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cookies and Cream Vegan Ice Cream!

Yum! This came out better than I imagined! I used this recipe from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise, but I used plain sugar free Silk, brown sugar, and Chocolate Country Choice Organic Sandwich Cremes instead of Oreos. The results were creamy, with crunchy chocolatey bits throughout. It was really as good or better than any cookies and cream ice cream I can remember having. Here it is whirring away in my ice cream maker:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Coconut Mango Heaven

I still day dream about the delicious raw vegan coconut cream pie with mango sauce and macadamia nut crust from Blossoming Lotus in Kauai. We'd end the day of snorkeling, swimming, hiking, or kayaking with a delicious vegan meal, and top that off with a ridiculously delicious vegan dessert. The other day I saw Organic Rice Divine vegan ice cream at my local health food store. I just had to try the coconut mango flavor, and while it wasn't the same as the live coconut cream pie, it didn't disappoint. I really didn't taste the mango, it was more like coconutty-creamy goodness. Yum!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Organic Skincare Good Enough to Eat

Eminence Organic Skin Care products are fantastic! They are totally vegan, organic, and eco-friendly. This Hungarian-based company's ingredients are "hand-mixed with pure waters drawn from a thermal hot spring lake containing minerals and trace elements found nowhere else on earth". Wow. Sounds expensive, doesn't it? Well, truth be told, it definitely is something I probably wouldn't have purchased were it not for a gift certificate to a spa that sold these products. That said, the Eight Greens Phyto Masque and Pear and Poppy Seed Microderm Polisher are simply amazing. They are even packaged in recycled material. You can buy $1 or $2 samples at

Monday, April 14, 2008

5 Things About Me

Kumquat Peekapoo from The Path of the Vegan asked me to share five things about myself:
  1. I've been wanting to go to Australia for as long as I can remember. I CAN'T WAIT to snorkel or perhaps even dive at the Great Barrier Reef!!!

  2. I've been wanting to go to Tahiti/Fiji since I was in fourth grade, after doing a school report. I think that hanging out in a hut over the clear, warm, salty water would be ridiculously awesome.

  3. I've SCUBA dived in a fresh water spring in Florida. It was really, really cold. I had to wear a full wetsuit. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life...floating upside down under 25 feet of water, watching my bubbles rise to the surface as fish swam past me...

  4. I'm really, really scared of sharks. I have a healthy respect for them, I am sad that many shark species are endangered, I understand the importance of their role in the marine ecosystem; but I'm really, really scared of them. Especially tigers, bulls, and great whites. I wish I never saw Jaws!

  5. Prior to being a vegetarian, I used to love seafood. Vegetarian Paradise 2 in NYC makes an insanely good vegan Mahi mahi.
And, for the heck of it, other places I can't wait to travel to:
  • Bora Bora

  • Bermuda

  • Croatia

  • Costa Rica

  • Greece

  • South of France

  • Morocco

  • Egypt

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

My second attempt at vegan ice cream was much more successful than the first. I basically followed a recipe for peanut butter ice cream from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise, adding chocolate chips at the end. I definitely think the keys to success here are to use arrowroot powder and to make sure all the ingredients are very cold. Overall, the consistency was good. I think it would be creamier if I used a little oil to fatten things up, or Silk Creamer. I ended up using only Sugar Free Silk. It's definitely a cheaper and healthier alternative to store-bought vegan ice cream (though this homemade version is no Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zag!).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Avalon Organics Facial Cleansing "Milk"

I LOVE this product! Not only is it vegan, it uses organic essential oils. It leaves my face feeling clean and balanced, not too oily and not too dry. I also use the Lavender Renewal Facial Serum and the Lavender Ultimate Moisture Cream. This product doesn't contain any petroleum by-products, which is safer for you and eco-friendly. Petroleum products (like gasoline and fuel oil) are non-renewable, which means that once we use them up, we can't regenerate them (at least, not for millions of years). Some petroleum by-products have also been linked to cancer, so it's best to avoid them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Vegan Jello

I saw this package of vegan "Jel Dessert" at the health food store the other day. I couldn't resist. I used to love Jello! It was just as easy to make as real Jello, just mix the contents of the package with hot water and let it chill. It's not as sweet as the Jello I remember, which is a good thing. That said, it could really use some vegan whipped cream to make it a little more interesting. Then, I'm sure I'll love it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Adopt an Endangered Species

One of the coolest things about Kauai was the monk seals. Monk seals are incredibly endangered, with only about 500 in existence today. They beach themselves during the day to rest. It's a crime to harrass or disurb a Hawaiian monk seal, and when we were lucky enough to share a beach with one, we found everyone to be super respectful of this magnificent animal. I found this great "Adopt a Monk Seal" website where you can donate anywhere from $20 to $75 to Defenders of Wildlife, and they'll give you a stuffed animal version of a monk seal, an adoption certificate, a photo, and more information about monk seals. They also have many other animal "adoptions" to choose from, if monk seals aren't your thing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vegan Culinary Adventures

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse FrostingI have just made my first batch of vegan cupcakes from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and I am in cupcake heaven! They are light and sweet and the perfect combination of vanilla-chocolatey goodness. And, I didn't even have the proper amount of vanilla (totally ran out mid-recipe) or a sifter, which they recommend to aerate the flour. They still came out awesome!

On an Isa Chandra Moskowitz-authored recipe binge, I also made vegan ricotta cheese (from Vegan with a Vengeance), stuffed it into some shells, topped it with Veganrella and some tomato sauce, and made a delicious dinner.

Not so successful was my first attempt at homemade vegan ice cream the other day. It came out like a thick shake, at best. I didn't really follow any recipes, I kind of made up my own, and I've learned my lesson. I now have some arrowroot powder, and I will try again soon following one of the Vegan Ice Cream Paradise recipes.